Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Clear the Clutter

Yesterday was Memorial Day - our unofficial end of Spring and beginning of Summer. I was all set to throw up my arms and shout "Hooray!" when I realized what that means...I'm behind on my Spring Cleaning! Well how did that happen? I was doing so well in March and even into April...sorting out, finding "lost" stuff, filing away, clearing closets, giving away, donating all over the place - I was a veritable white tornado. Then April slipped into May (and now into June, but don't remind me) and I lost my oomph. I was cheered by the thought that Spring doesn't officially end until June 21st, so I actually have a few more weeks before declaring myself delinquent, but that joy was kind of short-lived. After all, it's just procrastination disguised as astute Solstice observance. What am I procrastinating about, anyway?

Just look at my sewing room. It's the only room in my house that's mine, mine, all mine...no boys allowed and it's a cluttered mess with ugly piles of "stuff" everywhere, and there's only one person responsible for it all - me. Bummer. So why don't I just clean it up and enjoy the spacious, organized, creative room of my dreams? Because it's easier to keep things the same (even if we say we don't like the way things are) than it is to take a risk and make an effort to change.

Then I got to thinking (no, really, I was thinking, not just procrastinating some more) that maybe our aversion to clearing out the physical clutter in our lives is not much different from our aversion to clearing out the emotional clutter in our lives. Just as we have old stuff hanging around that's really not useful to us anymore, we probably have old thought patterns and beliefs (about ourselves, mostly) that really ought to go, too. You know the ones I mean - those negative things we tell ourselves all the time, like "I'm not good at that" or "I'm too old for this" or "I can't" or "But what if they don't like me" or "I'm not smart enough" or maybe the worst one of all, "I'm not worth it".

I say it's high time we all decided to clear the clutter of tired, worn out, completely unnecessary negative self-talk. Be strong! Be ruthless! Be stingy - don't give it away! Just pull it out into the open and get rid of it once and for all!

"I'm not good at that"
We are all, each and every one of us, good at something and, luckily, we're all good at different things. God gave each of us talents and gifts to share with each other. That's right, you got some and I got some and that crabby person in front of you on line at the store got some, too. Now that you cleaned those pesky negative phrases out of your emotional closet, you might be better able to see your talents hiding in the back. Pull them out into the light, dust them off, celebrate and share them with the world!

"I can't"
Why say you can't when you haven't even tried. Isn't that silly? I'm not saying to live in a fantasy world. For instance, I know that at this moment in time, I can not skate as fast as an Olympic speed skater, but I can ice skate and I do have fun skating with my children. I know that my quilts would not earn a blue ribbon if I had them judged, but I can make lovely quilts and I don't really care what some quilt judge might have to say about them. I know I'm not an award winning chef, but I can cook and my family is well-fed, well-nourished and happy with the meals I prepare. We don't always have to be the best of the best in every facet of life. Sometimes "good enough" is terrific and trying and practicing is even better.

"But what if they don't like me"
What if they do? Won't that be fun? You won't know until you try. And so what if they don't? Who are "they" anyway, and who says they know anything about anything? Does one person's negative opinion change who you are? Do all of your talents, all of your loved ones, all of your friends disappear because one person decides not to like you for whatever reason? Be the best you can be and let others do as they will. If they don't like you it's probably because they have tons of clutter in their emotional closets! Be grateful yours is getting clearer every day and just go around those who might be stuck.

"I'm not worth it"
This is right up there with "I'm not good enough" and "I don't deserve..." and it's an easy trap to fall into, but I'm here to tell you that it's just complete nonsense. Let me offer you a challenge. Think of someone in your life who loves you very much. Maybe it's a child or grandchild, maybe it's your spouse, maybe it's your best girlfriend, or maybe it's your parent. I'll bet they're very special to you and you respect their opinion. Right? Now look at yourself through their eyes. What do you see? Better yet - what does your heart "see"... and feel?

Put those images, words, phrases, and feelings into your emotional toolbox and let them help push the negatives out. Go back to them often and know that your one special someone is always in your corner supporting you. Then go find another special someone who you can support and let them look at themselves through your loving eyes.

Whether it's Spring or Summer, early or late, clear the clutter and pass it on.

No comments: