Clutter is not just physical stuff. It’s old ideas, toxic relationships and bad habits. Clutter is anything that does not support your better self. Clutter can rob you of your peace of mind, make you sick and defeat your purpose before you even begin.
If you’re taking a long journey, it’s always better to travel light. And even if you’re traveling light, you still may have to let go of a few things along the way in order to stay on course. Physical clutter is the stuff you can see. Emotional clutter is the stuff that spins in your mind, the feelings that get in the way of your happiness. Spiritual clutter is self-destructive behavior you engage in to fill an emptiness inside, such as too much food or abusive relationships.
Okay, you know clutter is not good. But you still find yourself drowning in it because half of the time you don’t even recognize it until its too late and your head is underwater! So how do you recognize when something is clutter? And how do you decide whether or not to get rid of something? That’s the hard part. Here are three questions to ask yourself, whether that “something” is emotional cutter, physical clutter or spiritual clutter:
Is this bringing me closer to my goal or taking me farther away from it?
If you’re working on achieving goals or clarifying your life purpose, focus is important. Something that distracts you from your purpose is not serving your better self, no matter how good it might make you feel temporarily. You’ve probably got a number of items, relationships and activities that are keeping you “busy,” but are they meaningful? Think quality, not quantity. Think longterm, not short term. If it’s delaying your progress or taking you in the wrong direction, let it go.
Is this a reflection of who I am today?
Are you living in a museum? And I don’t just mean with your physical stuff. Change is constant. You’re not the same person you were even 5 seconds ago. Look around you. Is this a reflection of who you are today, or is it a collection of remnants from the past? And what about old hurts and resentments? Holding onto those, too? It may be time for a thorough housecleaning. Life is too short to live in the past. Living in the now is life’s greatest adventure. If it’s not a part of what makes you who you are today, get rid of it.
What would I do if I had faith?
This is the ultimate question. So often we hold onto things out of fear. So put some emotional distance between yourself and the item and ask yourself: If I had faith, real faith, would I keep this or let it go? Either you would keep it because it’s necessary and important, or you would let it go because you would have faith that you’d be taken care of without it. For instance, you might trust that the information in that stack of magazines will be available in another form when you actually need it. Or you might get a better networking opportunity if you clear that event off of your over-crowded calendar. On the other hand, that precious photo is something you would keep. Or that friend who’s always there for you is a treasured relationship you’d hold on tight to. When you ask yourself “What would I do if I had faith?” the answer is usually pretty clear.
No one lives a clutter-free life, but eliminate as much clutter as you can and make the most of your journey. Most important, remember: It's all temporary.
©2014 Eleanor Brownn eleanorbrownn.com
It’s normal, even noble, to care for others. But how do you tell the difference between normal caring and being a people pleaser? When do you know you’ve crossed the line? Here are some of the more common danger signals.
Are you a People-Pleaser? Take this quiz and find out!
How many times did you answer “yes” to the above questions?
1-3: You’re setting healthy boundaries, but you need to stay on guard.
3-5: You’re aware of your people-pleasing tendencies, but need to practice asserting yourself more.
5-8: You’re in the Danger Zone. Be careful, or you’ll burn out.
8-10: Get some help! Immediately.
If you scored 5 or above, find your tribe at The Society for Recovering Doormats. Ivy Tobin, founder of The Society, has a new novel coming out called "My Life as a Doormat" about her alter ego, Rose Gardner. Check it out at http://www.facebook.com/TheSocietyForRecoveringDoormats.
And, whatever you do, start taking better care of yourself. There’s hope.
@2014 Eleanor Brownn eleanorbrownn.com
If you really stop and think about it, your Comfort Zone probably isn’t all that comfortable. If you’re living inside of a box, stuffing down your feelings, or putting your dreams on the back burner out of fear, it probably doesn’t feel very good.
So many people I see in my workshops feel they have nothing original to say or do. They have a business idea, or a piece of art they’ve created, or a song they’ve written — the list goes on and on — and they think it’s not “enough” to put out into the Universe because somebody else has already done it. Just as no two snowflakes are alike, no one else is exactly quite like you. No one else can do what you do or say what you say in the way like you. Two people can write a book on the same topic and they are completely different books. For example, literally millions of books have been written throughout time. They are different because each person who wrote them is different.
What is it you dream of doing? What vision have you put on-hold while you remain in your so-called Comfort Zone?
©2014 Eleanor Brownn
Join me at the Vision Board Self-Care Workshop on November 15, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.
Are you worn out from taking care of everybody except yourself? Are you the “go-to” person (the one everybody else goes to) on your job, or with your family and friends when they have a problem or something important needs to get done? Are you the people-pleaser who says “yes” when you really want to say “no” because you don’t want other people to be upset?
If any of this sounds like you, you could be putting your health at risk! These are all forms of Self-Neglect, and Self-Neglect is linked to many types of health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, weight gain and diabetes.
You’re someone who cares and loves other people. The problem is, to be a truly caring person you have to “put on your own oxygen mask first.” You must embrace the critical importance of Self-Care.
Self-Care starts with baby steps, making small changes that have a big impact over time with faith and persistence. If you’ve spent your whole life putting g everyone else’s needs ahead of your own, it isn’t going to change overnight. When I coach people or conduct a workshop, I help them review their lives and take a good hard look at where they’ve been, where they are and where they want to go. Together we design a plan of action to gradually build on existing strengths and discard old behaviors that are no longer in their best interest. In this way, they begin to move in a healthier direction. The first and most important step in the plan is for them to change their attitude — letting go of the idea that Self-Care is selfish. It isn’t.
It’s easier said than done to make that change. You have demands at home, in your community and on your job. There are people in your life who need you. But unless you start making your own health a priority, you won’t be able to be there for them.
Self-Care is so important. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.
"No matter where you stand on the timeline of life, your whole life really is ahead of you because you can’t go backwards. Make the most of the precious time on Earth you’ve been given. Keep moving forward, step by step." • Eleanor Brownn
I'm an author, public speaker, workshop leader and healthy lifestyle consultant who believes in the possibility of positive change at every age and every stage of life. Having experienced some hard-learned lessons in life myself, I share from a compassionate been-there-done-that perspective.