On a recent Facebook Live session, Anne, one of my regular participants, asked the group to support her in letting go of her collection of crafting kits.

“Crafts?” I asked to clarify.

“No, my collection of kits. To make crafts. Unopened. I have dozens of them. Including this unmade sock monkey kit that’s just sitting on the counter.”

I asked her what emotions came up when she thought about getting rid of them. She said, “I just feel like a failure! My mother was crafty, all my sisters are crafty, my nieces are crafty, and I live alone and can’t even make a sock monkey!”

Crafting was clearly entwined with her idea of what it meant to be a successful woman. Then I asked her, “Do you want to make a sock monkey?”

“Well,” she said tentatively, “No.”

“Anne,” I said, “What else do you do to give yourself a sense of self-confidence?”

“Well…I—I mean, currently I’m working on the issue of border detention. I’m a lawyer, but our role now includes ensuring these children are treated humanely until we can get them out. I’m doing everything from filing briefs to fund-raising for diapers.”

There was a moment of silence as we all processed this. “OK!” I said. “I give you permission to stop buying crafting kits to make you feel accomplished. And the next time you are tempted to buy one, I want you to say, ‘I do not need to do this craft to feel good about myself. The work I do is so important, and at the end of the work-day, I deserve downtime that replenishes and relaxes me. Making potholders and sock monkeys is not it. And that’s A-OK.’”

She felt enormously relieved.

Since our session, she has donated the kits to a local after-school program, she has not been to a Michaels in over a year, and she has moved on with her amazing life. By releasing the need to compare herself to her family and instead learning to celebrate all the ways she is valuable, she was able to heal the hole that she had been filling with crafting kits.

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