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Do you feel guilty about trashing something that you don’t use, but is still in good condition?

Do you feel guilty about trashing something that you don’t use, but is still in good condition? What does self-care look like when we’re plagued with guilt?

One of my Christmas traditions is swapping out regular creamer in my morning coffee for Bailey’s.  Bailey’s has a sweet, chocolatey creaminess with the manly tang (l don’t know how else to describe it) of whiskey.  It’s like a warm bear hug from my coffee mug.

What makes this indulgence special is that it is reserved exclusively for the month of December.  The other 11 months of coffee are seasoned with a spoonful of vanilla creamer.  Rarity is the quality that transforms the Ordinary into Special.

This Christmas, this ritual was a letdown.  Like a colorful fruit cake that looks prettier than it actually tastes.  You know, the one that stays in your freezer until you finally throw it out.

The Disappointment

After purchasing Kirkland’s Irish Cream Liqueur (it was on sale!), I discovered with dismay that Kirkland has yet to perfect a replica of the original Bailey’s.  Kirkland’s version is a little too creamy, and while there’s certainly whiskey in there, it’s not as poignantly masculine.  Like a High School boy with a beard- almost a man, but not quite.

Yet my Christmas tradition of a spoonful (or two) of the additive in my coffee continued throughout December.  And with each cup, I noted and missed the punchy tang of Bailey’s.  My cup did not run over.

The quick fix would have been to dump the Kirkland and purchase my intended Bailey’s.  The thought crossed my mind many times.  Almost daily.  Why put up with “good enough” when I could have “excellent”? 

Well, because dumping a large bottle of anything seems wasteful to me.  The legalist inside my head tells me that I must use it up in order to get my money’s worth.  I’m a tree-hugging, dumpster-diving, clean-your-plate, use-it-till-it-falls-apart girl.  Suck it up, Buttercup, I told myself.  

It’s now early January, and although the bottle of Kirkland is still half-full, I’m dumping it. I forgive myself for purchasing an imposter.  I am done with the guilt, the heaviness, and the clutter of a large bottle of regret on my kitchen counter. Next Christmas, I’ll spend the extra money on the Bailey’s that I know and love.

Guilt Goes Down The Drain

I will say that the process of dumping the bottle was painful.  Watching the large amount of liquid spill into the sink felt like I was draining my own blood.  All that money, all that potential running down the drain.  Oh, wretched woman that I am!

Then, it was over.  The liquid was gone, the bottle was empty, and I felt much better.  It was like an emotional bowel movement.  I purposefully leaned into the closure and lightness that replaced the constipating disappointment.

In retrospect, I see that I cut myself off from the fullness of a cherished joy.  Additionally, I burdened myself with the knowledge that I could have made things right, but didn’t.  Coffee creamer is replaceable.  My time on earth is not.  

It feels so good to not have that bottle anymore.  My counter is clear of an unwanted, unneeded, and unloved item.  My head and my heart are clear of the regret.  All are open to . . . well, to open space.  To clarity.  To good things yet to come.

My takeaways are:

  1. Invest in Myself.  Bailey’s is 2-3x more expensive than Kirkland’s substitution.  I’m worth it.
  2. Nip it in the Bud.  At the onset of regret, make the choice to release whatever that item is.  The longer I carry it, the heavier it becomes.
  3. It’s Okay to Feel the Pain.  The pain is real because it is a loss, and it does hurt.  It also diminishes and dissolves.  With physical (or liquid) items, the pain usually passes quite quickly.  
  4. Prioritize my well-being over frugality. I want to live an abundant life!

How about you?

Is there something that you no longer want, need, use, or love?  Let it go.  Releasing it will hurt, but only for a little bit.  The lightness of heart and the freedom from guilt will fill you with joy.  Brighter times and open space are on the other side.

Is there something over which you’re agonizing about the release?  I understand, and you’re not alone.  Give me a call at 858-371-5771 and we’ll talk through it together.