You shouldn't have... No really...
We all have them, lurking around in the back of our closets and drawers, sometimes being brought out to display when the giver comes around. That bobble sweater you wear only when Aunt Cindy is visiting. The vase you keep on display "just in case" the friend who gave it to you pops by.
Yes, I'm talking about those gifts you hate. You can't get rid of them because it would hurt someone's feelings, but you would never have chosen to bring them into your home. If this sounds familiar to you, read on.
One very distinct category of clutter is stuff that other people have given to us, and it has a very clear flavour. It is often imbued with energy that has a lot of guilt around it. There is also a sense of feeling misunderstood or unseen. How do you think having these things around your home make you feel?
It's not only the gifts that make us feel guilty or misunderstood. How do you think those items make you feel about the person who gave them to you? Does it give you feelings of warmth and connection or is there something a little off? More importantly, do you want that energy hanging around your relationship with this person?
"Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui" by Karen Kingston, has a section on gifts that really changed my view of gift giving and receiving. She sees gift giving as an exchange of energy. When you give someone a gift, it no longer belongs to you. It's the same thing when you receive a gift, it no longer belongs to the person who gave it to you, it belongs to YOU. And, because it belongs to you, it is now yours to do with what you like.
Now that we are fully in the season of gift giving, keep this in mind when you hand out your gifts this year. See if you can practice truly let go of the gift you are giving to your mother, brother, friend or partner. What if you gave them the gift of a guilt-free holiday?
Also keep this idea in mind as you look around your space and you sort through your clutter. If you are hanging onto something out of guilt, is it serving you and your relationship with the person who gave it to you? If you are hanging onto a gift that makes you feel deeply misunderstood, what story is that helping to perpetuate? Is there part of you that is attached to feeling unseen or unimportant? Are you ready to let that go?
Happy Holidays and have fun practicing the art of truly giving and truly receiving this year.