If you are struggling with clutter, than you are probably very familiar with the shame that shows up each time you try to deal with that clutter.
We’re very good at being cruel to ourselves, even when we would never dream of being cruel to someone else.
How many times have you encouraged a friend with motivating words:
You can do this.
You are strong and capable.
Life happens, but it’s ok, just get up and do what is in front of you.
I’m so proud of you for how far you have come.
Only to go home, look around and berate yourself about the state of your home?
It’s a difficult job to change the things that are going on in our minds, but when we do, powerful changes take place. What we tell ourselves generally comes to pass. Our thought life is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you want to declutter and live simply, you need to give yourself those motivational statements.
Having a cluttery or messy home is something that has happened, but it’s not because you are incapable of having a clean and organized home. We all have the ability to change, and you are no different.
A few things I have found to help are:
- Understand that shame is not guilt. Guilt is when you legitimately did something wrong. Was it wrong to purchase a new blouse and never wear it? No- it wasn’t wrong. Like Marie Kondo suggests, thank the item for fulfilling it’s purpose in your life (even if the purpose was just the thrill of the purchase) and let it go.
- Walk through your own feelings. It’s easy to get rid of things we don’t use when we give it to someone “who can use it.” But you learn more and grow into a stronger person if you can accept that you don’t need an item and that is “okay”. You can feel sad for not using something or regret for spending money on something, and then, you can let the item go. Acknowledge the feelings without giving yourself a guilt trip. This will allow you to make different choices next time you bring something into your home. When you are decluttering and a negative feeling comes up, ask yourself what you are feeling, then ask yourself if it is true. This allows us to be honest without ourselves, understand our motivation for keeping things, and finally moving past that and able to declutter to the extent we need to.
- Don’t allow shame to follow your items. When we pass on item and tell the recipient why they should want it and keep it, we are not dealing with our emotions about that item- instead, we are simply transferring all those negative shame based thoughts to the recipient of the item. Give items freely, knowing that the recipient is free to do with the item whatever they see fit.
Many times we even have negative statements from people in our past, as well as what we have been telling ourselves.
Allow yourself to feel all the emotions that arise with that thought or statement.
Ask yourself: “Is this truth?”
Tell yourself what the actual truth is.
That is emotional decluttering. It can be very emotionally exhausting work, but once it’s done, you will find that it is also very emotionally healing.
Next time you find your thoughts turning into shaming statements, turn them around and say something positive, just like you would when reassuring your best friend.
If you would like more guidance in your decluttering journey, check out the various helps on the resource page.