via Creative Commons
“Gift guilt” comes up in my line of work all. the. time. Perhaps you’re familiar with it…gift guilt is the guilt felt when wanting to let go of a gift that you don’t need, use, or love but feeling you can’t because it was a gift. So instead we needlessly hang on and let it clutter up our home and energy.
It’s a suck situation, Sunshines.
Adding to this guilt are all those people out there who give gifts and then expect to “see it in action” every single time they come to someone’s house. Some people go so far as to ask where their gift is and can they use it. I’ve even had clients tell me about relatives who buy clothing for the new baby and expect to see their gift loooooooong after the baby has outgrown the clothing.
This ridiculousness has got to stop. So today I have a message for both parties involved. Wear a crash helmet if you’re delicate, darling. It’s about to get blunt.
To the gift recipient:
You do. NOT. have to hold onto something just because it was a gift – especially if you don’t like the it or the person that gave it to you. If you don’t like the gift, accept the love and joy the gift-giver intended to come with said gift, write a lovely thank you note and then send the gift along its merry little way out of your house. If you loved the gift but now it’s worn and/or broken, let it go knowing it was lovely and useful for as long as it could be. Things break down and we must accept that.
And if you don’t like the gift giver? Well Sunshine we MUST get that bad juju out of the house. We all get them. The evil aunt, the now-ex, the passive-aggressive boss or legitimately crazy coworker gives us a decent enough gift. But every time we look and/or use the gift, we gristle a little bit because it came from someone we don’t like. Hint dear, we don’t have to keep that either! No good can come of it! I once received a gift where the person actually told me while I was opening the gift that they knew I wouldn’t like it. Exact words to me were, “I don’t care if you like this or not and I don’t care what you do with it: give it away, trash it, burn it. But you’re not allowed to return it.” Even though this was many, many years before my current profession, I knew I didn’t want that energy in my home and immediately got rid of it.
Sunshines, NEVER allow yourself to be guilted by a person or thing into creating clutter and negative energy in your home.
To the gift giver:
PleasePleasePLEASE (!!!!!) do NOT be one of those people who insist on seeing your gift in action every time you enter someone’s home! If that’s the case, then you need to consider your motives for giving the gift in the first place. Was it because you truly wanted to do something nice for this person? Great! But understand that they may not have the need or space in their home for the gift. Or they may just not like it. Or it may break. Things happen and it’s just stuff in the end anyway. If your motives are genuine then you’ll be OK with this and can let it go. The saying “It’s the thought that counts” goes both ways, darling.
If your motives are really because you want the item it’s OK…but next time buy it for yourself! It’s TOTALLY OK to buy yourself gifts!!! However, it is NOT OK to buy someone else a gift then get all in a huff because they didn’t do with it what you wanted. Cut that crap out! That is, unless you want to also give them a bunch of money to hire me to help them get over the guilt you’ve caused when their house is so cluttered that they can’t take it anymore and have to call in the calvary. (a.k.a. – professional assistance. a.k.a. – me)
Now I don’t say this to be a horrible, evil wench or that you should never buy gifts or throw all of your gifts away. I say this because there are entirely too many people out there that feel guilty for hanging on to things they’ll never use “just because it’s a gift” or “because when that woman shows up to my house once every three years she’ll expect to see this olive dish.” And I’m rarely ever working with the people who are giving the guilt-inducing gifts to tell them in person to cut it out. So instead we’re all getting a blanket message at the beginning of the year since there could very well be Christmas gifts lurking about that you’re wondering what the hell you’re going to do with.
So gift-receivers: If you do not need, use or love the gift you got, it’s PERFECTLY OK to let go of it even though it’s a gift.
Gift-givers: stop insisting that you see your gift “in action.” We don’t want to clutter up our friends and loved-ones homes with things they don’t like or use because they feel guilty, do we? Well do we???
Now go forth, enjoy the gifts you love and let go of the ones you don’t…GUILT-FREE!!!