I said something to a client recently that, she reported later, was really helpful to her. I’m sharing it here in the hope that others will benefit from it.
She was struggling about getting rid of something because it was a gift. I asked her, “When you received the gift, did you say thank you?” Of course she replied yes, and I responded, “Then you have fulfilled your obligation as the recipient.”
I’ve written on this topic before (see Guilt-Free Receiving) but it’s a notion that never gets old, because people continue to give gifts, and many people continue to feel ambivalent about what they have received.
Consider the words of the 19th Century British designer William Morris: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” I phrase it another way: “Use it, love it, or lose it.” The current-day author Marie Kondo calls it “sparking joy.”
Gift-givers mean well, but even if they know and understand your taste, they may give you something that you already have too much of. If you’re on a gift-exchanging basis with somebody, gently let them know that you would prefer something that gets used up (like chocolate or wine), or even a donation to your favorite charity in lieu of a gift.
If you received something over the holiday season that you know you will never use, I urge you to read my earlier post Guilt-Free Receiving, and then see if you can manage to get it out of your life to make way for the things you use and love.