The Green Sweater and the Art of Letting Go

I have been slowly going through all of the clothes in my closet. I did a big purge about 6 months back, but now I am making sure I wear everything that is left. I wanted to give myself this challenge because sometimes I get too comfortable with my favorite shirts and jeans and I don’t wear other things, even though I know I love them. As I wear things that are ‘new’ again, I find myself inspired or facing the day with a little more confidence. I am also finding things that are, well, not so good. Case in point…..

There is a green striped sweater that has been haunting me for a couple of years. It was cute, super soft and a little different. But I knew it wasn’t really me. Every few years, I will buy something that has a traditional ‘preppy’ look because I like it. What I never seem to remember is that I always end up giving those clothes away because I don’t feel like me when I wear them. Well this green sweater was one of those ill-conceived purchases. It stared at me, daring me to put on a visor, a pleated skirt and grab my tennis racket and flounce out the door. That clearly never happened. I just can’t pull off that look. So I decided to try the sweater with a cute tank top and a pair of jeans. I was going to Pull It Off! I asked my husband what he thought of the outfit before I left the house. I said “Babe, what do you think of this sweater?” He burst out laughing and said “It’s cute if you were 5.” Hmmm.

Somewhere deep down, I was completely expecting this reaction, because this is the reaction I vaguely had as I looked in the mirror. But getting someone else’s opinion helped me to come to terms with my own opinion. If I had truly loved that sweater, I would have worn it no matter how someone else reacted. But I didn’t love it, still don’t, never will. And coming to terms with that let me change into a better shirt and toss that sweater straight into the donate box.

I have realized that it’s ok to ask for help or opinions. Just be prepared that you might not always get the reaction you were hoping for. Look at other’s opinions as a way to gauge your own feelings. Look at them as inspiration, as advice, as a non-emotional view. You don’t have to follow every piece of advice that people give you, but others can often give you valuable insight that you might be missing through the clouds of your own emotions. An unattached, unbiased, unemotional look at something can help release you from unhealthy attachments. Like a green sweater.

So try to look at your situations from the outside. What is best for you? What is holding you back? What can you let go of?