When you hear someone mention how much clutter they have, you might assume they are talking about physical stuff like magazines they don’t have time to read, clothes that no longer fit or wedding gifts that they will never use. The sentimental, “what if’s”, and things you have inherited can take up precious physical space and create unnecessary clutter in your home or office. But there is also emotional clutter such as pent up hurt, disappointment, anger, and resentment. Left unexpressed, these feelings repeatedly come to the surface and will not allow you to move forward.
How long are you going to hold on to that grudge that you should have let go of days, weeks, months or YEARS ago? How long are you going to replay that argument in your head? How long are you going to blame someone else for your unhappiness? How long are you going to blame yourself for something you had no control over? How long are you going to let your flaws define you instead of strengthening you? All of that emotional clutter is keeping you from seeing the big picture. It is clouding your judgment, causing self-doubt and keeping you from being your authentic self. That ‘clutter’ is keeping you from fully articulating and demonstrating your life’s work and purpose.
What clutter do you need to let go of?
Raise your hand if you are guilty of either of the following:
…putting the needs of others before your own needs
…saying “yes” when I really need to say “hell no”.
You don’t need a stronger backbone, you need to practice self-care. You would think that self-care would be intuitive. It is not. It something that we have to practice every single day. To help you get started or get better with self-care, here’s a link to 9 phenomenal TED talks on the importance of self-care (https://www.ted.com/playlists/299/the_importance_of_self_care). The talks range in length from 3 minutes to 20 minutes and are sure to either inspire you or give you swift, but loving kick in the butt. I’ve said it before and I will say it again…self-care isn’t selfish, it’s necessary.
Are you the person that everyone calls for a pep talk, a quick pick me up, encouraging words or motivation? Yes? Yeah, me too. But what happens when you need someone to be your cheerleader? What happens when you need somebody to hold up the pom poms up for you? It is easy to become the default person for people in your life to depend on you for their own emotional well-being especially if you are a giver and nurturer. It is also very easy for you to become emotionally drained from taking care of everybody else. What I know for sure (to quote Oprah Winfrey) is that you have to take care of yourself first. When you feel that you were being stretched thin to the point of being transparent, it is time to take a step back and focus on you. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you are still being helpful to others when your emotional tank is empty.
When you finally decide to take care of yourself you will disappoint/upset/piss off at least one if not a few people. And guess what? It is OK! It is okay to say “I need some time for myself” and not feel guilty about it. Expect resistance from the people who depend on you the most. I think everybody is entitled to a couple of days when they don’t cater to anyone else but themselves. When I take time for myself, I can hear the “little birdie”. I’m not worried about pleasing everyone when I’m focus on getting centered and regaining my peace of mind. As someone who has suffered from panic and anxiety attacks, I know the attacks are usually triggered when I stretch myself thin and said “yes” when I should have been saying “no”. It’s usually when I’ve given and I’ve given and I’ve given until nothing is left for me. It is part of my personality to help others and it is also my downfall because a lot of times I won’t see the signs until it is almost too late. As I’ve gotten older I’ve been able to recognize the triggers and take a step back from everything and everybody so that I can take time to recharge, reflect and hear the ideas that have been swimming around in my head.
What is your “little birdie” telling you? I encourage you take time for yourself and exercise your “yes to self” muscle. Yes, you will piss some people off. Yes, some people will feel that you are being selfish. But you know what? It’s okay because after you taken some time for yourself, you will feel rejuvenated and energized…and ready pick up your pom poms to cheer for someone else.