About The Too-Small Skinny Jeans In The Back Of Your Closet…

Why do we hang onto old clothes? I explore that question here and talk about the letting-go practice I used to reclaim body confidence…
Do you keep that old pair of skinny jeans shoved in the back of your closet for when you “finally lose those last pounds?”
That pair you haven’t fit into for eight years, but you’re still “holding out hope?” 
Why do we do this?

Why Do We Hold On To Old Clothes That Don’t Fit Who We Are Now?

I’ve been asking myself why I do this.
I don’t want to be the person I was eight years ago.
I don’t want to be the person I was eight months ago.
So why do I want to fit into decade-old clothes? 
I think the reason I’ve done this is because I let the old clothes represent something important in my mind.
I didn’t fully acknowledge the thought because it’s clearly not true when I look at it with honesty.
But it’s been there lurking in the background. 
The clothes were in the back of my closet, and this was the thought that was in the back of my mind: “When I can fit into these clothes, then I can finally feel worthy and happy.” 
It’s crazy how much I’ve valued something as insignificant as a piece of old fabric.
How could I have ever allowed something so meaningless to determine whether or not I feel confident, happy, or worthy?

The Letting-Go Practice I Tried

So here’s what I did yesterday.

I already had a pile of clothes in my office ready for donation – things Trevor outgrew.

I dug my old shorts out of the back of the closet – some are actually 15 years old! – and I added them to the donation pile.

I’ll be honest: it took some willpower!

My brain kept arguing, “but you WILL fit into these again someday … and when that day arrives, you can slip into these shorts and finally be happy and confident again.”

I had to override those thoughts and remember that fitting into old shorts will never be the permission slip I’ve been waiting for to feel okay with myself.

Here’s What I Learned From The Letting-Go Practice

When I suddenly realize I’ve been doing something that’s actually all wrong for me, I’ve found there’s one thing that can help create lasting change:

Take a deliberate, physical action in the new direction. It can be something really small, but it should be something that changes your physical surroundings.

Donating old clothes is a way to show yourself (and the world) that you’ve changed your outlook.

It’s a way to put into practice that you’re no longer valuing the size on your jeans tag over your own peace of mind. 

After trying it myself, I recommend going through your old clothes and donating everything that doesn’t fit your right-here-right-now body.

It’s a freeing feeling to show yourself that you don’t place any value in what doesn’t mean anything and what doesn’t matter. 

Now that I’ve cleared out my old clothes, I can more easily let go of the thought that I need to fit into a certain size in order to allow myself happiness.

Here’s the message that the letting-go practice sends:

Old clothes don’t define your worth. You do.


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  1. May 12, 2021 / 5:27 pm

    Hi my name is Carol I want to thank you for this message I truly needed it at this time , I’ve been doing the same thing slowly but surely letting go of all the clothes I can no longer get into,and do u know what’s funny I wasn’t satisfied at the smaller size I was still say if only. So thank you again I’m truly valuing me right now.

    • Jen Elizabeth's Journals
      May 14, 2021 / 10:06 am

      Hi Carol, it’s so true. When we set up specific rules for when we’ll finally approve of ourselves or allow ourselves happiness … we never seem to get there, no matter what! Thanks so much for your note❤️

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