A very crowded storefront with tins piled on top of each other

The Burden of Too Much

“In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go?” – Buddha

I struggle desperately to let go. I hold on to everything. Every passing moment, every memento, every card, every relationship – even those gone bad. I hold on too tight fearing that if I let go, even a little bit, I’ll have nothing left. But maybe letting go isn’t about losing.

I hear all too often when speaking of minimizing the sentiments along the lines of: “I could never do that,” or “That’s not for me.” I reacted the same way when my husband spoke of this new lifestyle. But what we don’t know is that we’re all experts at letting go. After all, our training started early. From our birth onward, every moment has prepared us to let go, deeper and deeper. From letting go of our dependence on our mothers, to children starting and finishing school and to finally adults entering the real word.

We let go of our parents and siblings to build families of our own. We let go of our children as they learn and grow and venture out. We let go of acquaintances and friends along the way. We let go of materials as they wear out and age.

One day, we’ll have to let go of everything. Our possessions, our titles, our loved ones, and all that is left behind is our legacy.

The Burden of Too Much - Simply Be Mama

It’s terrifying, devastating and completely humbling to think that one day it will be over. So when I find myself comparing, overthinking or getting caught up in the opinion of others this realization helps me let go all over again.

So perhaps as we’re rushing from one thing to the next, we can stop and stand still for a moment to focus on what really matters.

That instead of being one of many people snapping selfies, trying to take that perfect shot, we embrace the quiet beauty of the day. We pause for a moment to take it in – the fresh ocean air, the sound of the waves, the feel of the warm sand between our toes.

We put away the phones and enjoy the moment.

Starting decluttering

I spent the last week cleaning out closets full of toys, clothes and books when it finally clicked. Minimalism is about letting go so we can bring something much deeper, more satisfying and infinitely more beautiful into our lives.

After giving away garbage bags full of stuff, I felt my heart lighten and sighed with relief. I kept going back to the cleaned-out closets, shelves and pantry to soak in the feelings of freedom and ease.

Cleaned out closet

Perhaps we hide behind our stuff so we don’t have to deal with the raw, deep emotions that lie beneath the surface. We feel these emotions come up from time to time but as we move from one thing to the next they lay buried. Maybe behind another new item, new trend or new social media post. If we let go of all of that, we’ll have to face head-on whatever is lying beneath – the fear, the lack, the pain. Possibly, the feeling that we’re living a life that isn’t true to who we are.

“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.” – Unknown

So I have given myself permission to be me. I don’t have to be the perfect mother, wife or daughter. I only have to be me and that’s enough. It’s okay to say no to the obligations, pressures and expectations placed on me. It’s okay for me to chase after my dreams. I don’t need to hold on to things – I only need to hold on to who I am and who I want to be.


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From grasping to giving

My tendency is to grasp on to every little thing so I can relive the beauty of moments past but it’s not the things that make my life beautiful, it’s the people in it. And I want to focus more on that than anything else. No longer do I want to measure my worth with what I have. I want to measure it with what I give. What I give to my girls, my husband, my family and my friends. What I give to myself, to my colleagues, to strangers and those only crossing my path but briefly.

I think about all the material things I have given and received. But I have started to reconsider giving stuff. Stuff that I have spent hours cleaning out and organizing. Stuff that I spend time putting away and tidying up each night. Stuff that’s taking up too much space in my life.

My heart tells me there has to be a better way. So every day I continue to lighten my load, and this year I hope I can fill it with the only things that matter – love, presence and kindness.

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  • Reply FindMoreMeaning January 3, 2018 at 8:11 pm

    I really like your comments on minimizing, I think it’s important to clear out the “stuff” to make room for new and better things to enter our lives. What a powerful thing that could be!

    • Reply Simply Be Mama January 3, 2018 at 8:46 pm

      Thank you! Yes, you’re right. There’s so much power in creating space.

  • Reply Stephenie Peterson (@NellieNovaBook) January 5, 2018 at 11:08 am

    I loved this quote : “Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.” – Unknown
    Great post!

    • Reply Simply Be Mama January 5, 2018 at 9:25 pm

      Thank you. That quote is one of my favourites as well.

  • Reply karriefrost January 5, 2018 at 11:10 am

    I so want to live a minimalist life. I struggle with being a consumerist by nature. It feels so empowering. I think, like you, I just have to take the first steps.

    • Reply Simply Be Mama January 5, 2018 at 9:28 pm

      The first steps can be hard but I’m sure you’ll find it gets easier.

  • Reply Own Your Fancy January 5, 2018 at 11:10 am

    This has been a struggle for me too. I made a vow this year to get organized and minimize things. Thanks for sharing this!

  • Reply thebusyboymama January 5, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    I feel like this quite often. I want to minimize our stuff so much. Too much junk and still boredom.

    • Reply Simply Be Mama January 5, 2018 at 9:32 pm

      It’s a feeling I think we can all relate to. At least we know we’re not alone in this.

  • Reply Coins & Babble January 5, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    This is such a beautiful post! I honestly teared up a little reading it. You made it all make so much sense, decluttering really does have to do with being yourself and facing those emotions, doesn’t it? Awesome writing!

  • Reply Britt January 5, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    I can totally relate! It can be SOOOOO hard to let go of some things for sure, but you’re right!! What matters the most is love, presence , and kindness! Awesome post!! This makes me think about when I was younger and my aunt always had the most valuable things in her house and when something would break from all of us cousins running around her response was always, “it’s just stuff” . “Things” can always be replaced. Hope you have a great weekend!!

    • Reply Simply Be Mama January 12, 2018 at 4:18 pm

      Thank you. Your aunt sounds like a very wise woman!

  • Reply How to make your child feel truly loved – Simply Be Mama February 14, 2018 at 9:01 am

    […] Saying no to too much. Too many activities, too many things, too many obligations. Read more about the burden of too much. […]

  • Reply Clara July 3, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    Thank you for that great article, that is so much me, it’s scary, it’s very hard for me to let go of “things” but I am going to work really hard at it, it makes so much sense.

  • Reply Simply Be Mama July 13, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    I’m so glad this article is helping you on your journey. It’s still tough for me to let go especially when it comes to sentimental items but it always helps me to think will having this “thing” matter to me in five years, ten years or longer? Most often, the answer is no. The most precious thing truly is our time and how we spend it.

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