Why is it that so many people beat themselves up over their clutter?
I’ll give you a clue… it has to do with the word “Should”.
A big, bad, nasty word in my book. Should implies obligation or duty. Should is about what we think we must or ought to do.
And there are a MILLION things we think we SHOULD be doing.
But where do those beliefs come from?
Are they your own or did someone else tell you what you SHOULD be doing, or thinking, or desiring?
Some people look at their clutter and feel they need to take action, not because they actually want to but because TV, the internet, friends, family, media in general told them they SHOULD because they would feel better, because they could be a better person if they did.
And it’s true, most people feel better once they clear out the clutter, but here’s a little secret:
Your home is a perfect reflection of who you are and everything you’ve been through up until this moment of time.
Stop and think about that for a minute.
What if this was actually a good thing and not a bad thing?
What if instead of beating yourself up for all the things you SHOULD be doing with the clutter in your home, you took a moment to acknowledge that you’ve been through a lot, acknowledge that life may have thrown you some curve balls, acknowledge that things may not have turned out the way you wanted them to.
And then recognize that all of this is part of your journey, part of the sacred path on which you’re currently walking.
This doesn’t mean rolling over and playing dead or ignoring your desire to change. What it does mean is honoring yourself and appreciating how everything you’ve been through had led you to THIS moment – how all of this has shaped who you are.
When we fight and struggle against what IS we miss all the beauty there is to see in the moment, even in a potentially ugly situation. Yes, your clutter may an eyesore to look at, but what if you decided to have compassion for yourself, compassion for everything you’ve been through instead of beating yourself up?
Think about it this way, what if your best friend came to you and told you she found out she had a serious illness… Would you tell her about all the things she SHOULD do now? Would you berate her for all the things she SHOULD have done to prevent this? Or would you take her hand, maybe pull her in for a hug, and ask, “What can I do to help?”
If we were on the receiving end of things, most of us would probably respond better to the latter method of approaching this situation – so why are we doing exactly the opposite when it comes to ourselves and our clutter?
There’s an interesting proverb in many religious and spiritual traditions: Treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself.
When it comes to clutter, we really need to turn this phrase around: Treat yourself as you would your neighbor. We often treat our friends and neighbors with much more kindness, much more love, and much more compassion than we ever treat ourselves.
And let me tell you, this doesn’t work when it comes to clutter.
The more you can recognize and accept what has led you to being in your current clutter situation in the first place, the easier it’s going to be to get to clearing it out.
The more compassion you can have for yourself before, during and after the process, the better chance you’ll have to actually clearing the clutter for good.
What do you think? What role has compassion or the “SHOULDs” played in your clutter clearing process?