How To Finally Release Your Attachment To Sentimental Gifts From Friends & Family

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One of the hardest things about minimalism is letting go of gifted items, especially given to us by the people we love. Society teaches us are that by not accepting gifts reveals that we have an ungrateful heart. This simply is one of the biggest lies we can believe. In fact, this belief is rooted in a scarcity mindset that if unkept produces weeds of hoarding tendencies. I mean, I used to keep everything until I realized it was rooted in this fear that I’d never receive awesome or intentional gifts in the future. Fortunately, the lie I told myself wasn’t true. You can escape the cycle if you start shifting your emotions and thoughts around sentimental gifts. Here’s how that works: 

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  1.  It’s really the thought that counts: Hear me clearly, girl. You are more infatuated with someone’s kind intentions of gifting you something than the actual gift. Don’t believe me. Okay, let’s think about it. Your partner finally caught wave of all the hints you’ve been dropping. The printouts on your fridge from your Pinterest board or tagging them on that Instagram posts has made it loud and clear that you want that THING. So, they get it for you and you’re absolutely thrilled but...they look miserable handing it to you because they dipped into their savings and aren’t sure how long it’ll last until you want something else. Now, every time you look at your gift, you’re reminded of their resentment towards you. It’s not worth it. Instead, if they aren’t catching the hint don’t gripe or force it. You never know if they’re slowly planning to get it for you already. Be patient
  2. Ask yourself is keeping this “gift”  a burden or beneficial:  have you ever gotten something and immediately knew “this was so sweet but man I don’t need this.” I have and when it’s in person it can definitely be awkward to say no. However, it’s important to just be up front  and communicate that this is not a necessity in your life. Yes, they will probably be offended and hurt by this. However, it’s going to hurt both of you if you keep it only with the intentions of getting rid of it. Most people will be happy to return it and do something fun with you instead! No one likes to waist their time or money so say something sooner rather than later.  
  3. You honestly don’t need more stuff: evaluate how much you already have and strive to be more grateful for intangible gifts like memories. Speaking of memories...girl, the memory of your grandma is NOT in her necklace she gave you. While, it’s very thoughtful and feels almost’s not. Hear me out! Have you ever lost your absolute favorite bracelet and you legit looked everywhere but couldn’t find it. You probably felt bad and irresponsible for a while but you eventually got over it. The same goes for your grandmas necklace that she left you. You’d hate for anything bad to happen to it and you’d feel even worst because she’s not here. Don’t believe the lie that your memories or her love for you is in a material thing that eventually rusts away. She loved you before the necklace and she absolutely loves you after you lose it or it’s gone.  
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What To Say To Offended o Hurt Family Members About The Gift 

Now that we uncovered the keys to addressing and shifting your emotions, let’s dive into the hard part of the gift givers response. 

First off, you CANNOT control other people’s responses or reaction. EVER! So, regardless of how nicely or politely you say you don’t want this gift...they may react in anger or frustration based off the time, money, and energy extended to gifting you with something they genuinely thought you’d love. Now here’s how you can break it to them:

   Photography by Lee Vosburgh

 Photography by Lee Vosburgh

  • “Thank you SO much, [persons name]! This is very thoughtful and beautiful. I see how much time you put into picking this out for me. Unfortunately, I am practicing a minimalist lifestyle and this is not something that I need right now. But I would love to make dinner with you or go on a trip somewhere.”
  •  “Wow, thank you! This year I’d love to spend time with you verses exhanging/receiving gifts. While I hope this doesn’t hurt you, I understand and I love you. Can we do something else to celebrate my ________?”
  • You are such a good gift giver. I’m not sure if I’ve told you but I’m practicing a minimalist lifestyle, which means I’m evaluating if I truly need certain things in my life. While this is beautiful, it doesn’t add value to my life because of X. I totally understand if you need to return it.”

Remember that the memories are in YOU and not the material item. We give things meaning but it’s really just a necklace. Only hold onto things that add value to your life. Less stuff equates to more gratitude. 

 How do you release attachment from things?