Friday, June 6, 2008

An Uncertain Future -- One More Reason It's Hard To Let Go

Yesterday I shared how imagining all the future possibilities of an item of clothing can make it hard to let that item go. Today I'll talk about one aspect of that imagining -- the fear caused by an uncertain future.

What if....

Lurking in the back of our minds is the fear that we won't be able to provide for ourselves in the future. This isn't a vague "what if I want this item again someday" kind of fear, but a primal, instinctive fear of lack.

We can know that we are provided for today, in this very minute. All we have to do is look around ourselves and see everything that we have. But tomorrow is another story. And next year, the year after that...the further out in time we go from today, the less certainty we feel we have about our future.

You could lose your job....
Illness could strike....
A disaster could hit your home....
Anything could happen.

And then you might need the very same article of clothing you are contemplating giving away right now.

Panic strikes. You think, "If I don't keep this, I might not have any clothes when I really need them. I have to keep this just in case!"

Now is the moment you take a deep breath. You can imagine a million and one reasons to fear the future. But it is nearly impossible that they will all come to pass. Just like not wanting to let go of the past, fearing the future keeps you from truly living in the present.

Give yourself some credit. Know that no matter what comes your way, you will be able to handle it. Here are some ideas to focus on:

First of all, even without any new additions, a minimalist wardrobe in great shape will keep you well-dressed a nice long time. So should something unforeseen happen, you will still be well-provided for.

Second of all, think about the fact that that article of clothing (that you never wear) could be dressing someone else right now. At this very moment there is someone else in the world who would be delighted to be wearing what you haven't wanted to wear in who knows how long. (And if someone else wouldn't be delighted, then why are you hanging on to it, for goodness sake?) In the same way that you can help someone who is lacking, someone will be able to help you, should you ever need it.

And lastly, I want you to contemplate the idea that there are so many articles of clothing being manufactured in the world right now, that even if there were no new ones made beyond today, it's quite possible that we'd all have enough clothes to wear for a very long time.

So don't let a fear of the future convince you to keep clothes you should be letting go.

Next time I'll talk about how the comfort of plenty can keep us holding on to clothes that we really ought to let go. See you then...same blog time...same blog channel...

(For more information, or to sign up for my free weekly E-Zine, please visit my Wardrobe Planning website.)


Lisa M. McLellan said...

How about you come to my house, I'll close my eyes, and you throw all that crap away in my closet, because I just can't do it!!!!

Yann Vernier said...

I suspsect most of us experience this fear, though we may not be conscious of it or willing to admit it.
I had never thought of it as an underlying reason for cluttered closets, but your point actually makes a lot of sense.

All the best,
Yann Vernier - Personal Coach

RobFromGa said...

More good information here, Jenn.

I have gotten rid of most everything in my closet now that I can't wear, or wouldn't wear because I hate it. If push came to shove, I could wear any of it. But I have my favorite 5-10casual shirts, 6-10 dress shirts, 2 jeans, 4 dress pants, and 3 cords/khakis. That is what I wear.

So these other things I never choose, I don't hate, I just don't like them as well as the ones I prefer. That makes it hard to throw them out, even though I'll probably NEVER wear them.

The rest of it I could wear, but as long as one of the other choices is available, I'm wearing one of those. And then there are the winter things (sweaters, long sleeve polos, etc.) that take up space in the summer.

Have a great day!

Unionized teachers are an abomination. My wife was a great teacher until we had kids, and some of the horror stories are so sad.

Rob Northrup

Is Your Corporation Protecting You?

RobFromGa said...

Sorry my copy/paste got away from me and I cross-posted a comment from a different article at the bottom of my last post.

Unknown said...

Ever notice that decision's are based on emotion, justified by logic?


Dr Peter Helton said...

That fear has run thru my mind too

Dr Helton, making your skin beautiful without surgery, nationally renowned Cosmetic Dermatologist

S Chambers said...

True, we avoid doing things for fear of the future. What if things aren't as rosy down the road and we are throwing away something perfectly good to wear.

At the same time bad things do happen to us and we need to be ready and prepared. When it comes to clothing it makes now sense, but in general it can be better to worry about the future than to always assume it will be better.

Steve Chambers, Sales Training Expert

Midlife Dating Expert, Singles Workshop Conference Speaker said...

Hi Jennifer,

you are SO right on and understand our decision making process and the emotions involved.

This reminds me so much of some of my clients as a Romance Coach and Online Dating Coach. Some have been sort of dating someone. Maybe in a relationship already... BUT... it's not fulfilling. But they have this fear. Like, "this is all I can GET. And IF I let go of THIS, I'll have NOTHING!"

Just like that bag of Tshirts I need to take over to Goodwill.....

Thanks for the SUPERB reminder, Jennifer. you're the best!

All the best,

April Braswell - Online Dating Coach, Romance Coach

gr8skot said...

Very good point. I think most people have that fear on some level. Every time I buy something new clothes wise I give at least one item away.

Scott A Bell

Anonymous said...

I agree so much, love your posts so much!!

David Power

Slenzo said...

Fear is what keeps most of from making what we KNOW are the right decisions. Good post!