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
"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.