Get Rid of the Clutter
A few years ago I was blazing through Garden of the Gods with some girlfriends and of course, we were yapping. (What happens on the running trail, stays on the running trail, right?) It was around the new year and one of the gals said, “let’s each come up with a ‘go to’ word that we can refer to when life gets nutso, frustrating, and overwhelming.” At the time, I thought, “well, let’s just run more miles when all that happens.” But she had a point since we really can only get so many miles in on any given day.
Some of the girls came up with “centered”, “ommmmm”, “regroup”, and a few words that shouldn’t be expressed in a family friendly post. My own little brain cell was humming along and I came up with this: “eliminate life clutter.”
Well, eliminating the clutter in our lives often brings us to the point of tossing out unwanted junk from our garages and closets and while that is truly invorgating and worthwhile, what I meant by the term was to eliminate extraneous “stuff” that causes us frustration, anger, resentment, feelings of being overwhelmed, stress, and the like. (By that point I had already adopted a minimilmist lifestyle and was continuing to pare down the physical clutter in my life.)
Sometimes when we get those feelings of frustration, etc we do not even realize what is causing it and often, we do know what to do about it or how to get rid of those feelings. We just dwell on it, deal with it, and move on as best as we can. But what if we could identify those things that cause the stress? Is it possible to analyze our lives and ask, “what is making me feel anxious; what causes me internal turmoil; why do I feel pain when such n such happens; where is the life clutter?” Well, yes, it is very possible to do all of that and more.
How do we go about finding that emotional life clutter or finding what causes us frustration, pain, anger, turmoil? While not easy sometimes, it basically comes down to taking an honest approach to looking at our lives and identifying those issues. Here is an example: years ago I had a friend who was needy in many ways; he was constantly complaining about everything, constantly creating drama wherever he roamed, and basically living a troubled life. And of course, he was dragging anyone and everyone who would join him along this bumpy road. Yes, yours truly here was a participant for a short period of time. But I quickly realized this relationship was very unhealthy for my own well being. With some effort I removed myself from the relationship and moved on. It would have been different if I could have helped this person, but I knew nothing I could say or do would lend a hand to this individual. So, gracefully, I ended the friendship and moved on. In essence I was eliminating some life clutter.
Perhaps your life clutter involves relationships as well. While some of the challenged relationships can’t be eliminated, it may be possible to eliminate some of the clutter within those interactions. As an example, maybe you and one of your parents can never seen eye to eye. Identify what sets off the disagreements or issues and set boundaries and limitations. Tell yourself that you will not engage in that argument. Perhaps, a few words such as, “Mom, I love you but I will not argue about this any further.” You may have just keep your limitations and boundaries internal. Another example is how I deal with my own mom. There is a list of things I will do for her: all of the business side of life (doctors, health care, finances, insurance, etc) and once or twice a week I will go to breakfast, Walmart, etc. Of course, if something becomes an emergency, I am there. BUT, there is also a list I will not do: go to breakfast everyday, cater to her whinings about “idiots that don’t know what they are doing,” be available to her every minute of every day, engage in arguments that have no merit, and most importantly, I do not let her “sarah bashing” get to me. This last one took some work on my part; digging in deep and realizing she has a habit of gripping about everyone, especially those close to her. Again, some relationships cannot be eliminated but we can usually get rid of some of the “clutter” that causes us turmoil.
Another area where many people can eliminate some clutter is in our busy lives. Many of us over-extend ourselves with commitments, obligations, activities, and the like. While some of these things we may enjoy, we can easily get overwhelmed when we take on too much. How do you eliminate some of this type of clutter? First, identify what is important. Then, unload what you can by backing out of some commitments, obligations, etc. When doing this it may require some conversations with others and it may require you to say, “NO” to certain requests.
There are many areas of our lives that could use a reduction in the clutter. Only as an individual can we realize what that clutter entails and then come up with a plan to eliminate it. The results should create a sense of calm, less stress, more free time to actually relax, less internal stress, and all of this leads to a healthier lifestyle, both mentally and physically.
Start small with one or two pieces of clutter, deal with it and then move on to more items.
Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section. Hearing from readers is always inspiring and sharing may help someone else.
Until next time…Sarah at gon4run.com