You know how some people hold onto stuff and others seem to be able to freely let go?
I often have to trick myself into letting stuff go. Because, you know, stuff is worth something. Especially once I own it. It’s the endowment effect, “the hypothesis that people ascribe more value to things merely because they own them.”
That’s true for me. My stuff is worth more once it’s mine. The identical item in the store? Not worth as much as mine on my shelf.
My attachment seems to be enhanced if there’s a story around the item: it came from a garage sale; a dear friend gave it to me; I got it on vacation as a trip memento; it was my great-great-grandmother’s; it was a super-bargain. Any and all of those stories burnish the value of the item for me.
Even if I know an item has lived beyond its usefulness, I frequently still hold onto it, often to be reminded of “the story.” Even if it’s in the way or possibly holding me back.
I’m aware of this dynamic when it comes to stuff. Once “stuff” becomes mine, it’s hard to part with. It’s suddenly shinier; prettier; sticky-er.
Recently I started to wonder if this tendency applies not only to things, but also to thoughts and beliefs.