Imagine for a moment that friends are coming over for the evening. With everything going on in your life, it’s hard to find time to clean the house. Just before everyone arrives, you notice piles of clutter laying around.
So, what do you do? You pick them up and shove them into the closet. I think that every single one of us can relate. I imagine at some point in your life, you’ve done just that.
Hey, none of us are perfect. But when we get into the habit of hiding the mess, we end up with clutter piled on top of clutter. Before we know it, we don’t know what we have. We can’t find what we need or what we’re looking for. So, we go out and buy more. Hence, we end up with more clutter.
This is precisely what happens inside the mind. At times negative thoughts and emotions come to take up mental space. Rather than deal them at their onset, they’re ignored. It’s easier to cover them up and shove them into the closet.
The door is closed, and the mess is left behind. The thought is, I don’t see it. It’s out of my sight. It’s out of my mind. But the question is, Is it really?
When mental clutter is hidden and unaddressed, it piles up quickly. Confusion makes it difficult to think clearly. As a result, balance is hard to find.
So, how do you clear away clutter to make room for inspiration?
Start by assessing how you’re spending your time. Time is precious. There’s limited time in a day, and it’s easy to take it for granted.
We think we have all the time in the world. We make plans for the future. We say, Not today, tomorrow. When I have time. Unfortunately, much of our time is spent on things that bring very little to no value.
Second, be aware of negative thoughts and habits that do nothing but take up mental space. If your mind is moving 100 miles per hour, or you’re running around doing 100 things, it’s virtually impossible to think clearly. The tendency is to fall into unhealthy mindsets. Busyness makes it hard to assess what’s really going on.
Third, look at your area and clear away clutter laying around. Maybe you have books you don’t read or papers that have no real purpose. You keep them around for whatever reason because you think that one day you might look at them.
Perhaps you have shoes that are worn out or clothes that don’t fit. They’re out of style, and you don’t wear them. In fact, you’ve never worn them. Why keep them around?
On the surface, what we hold on to seems insignificant. But I think there’s something significant about these things we keep around that have no real purpose. It’s equivalent to holding on to negative thoughts. They turn into unhealthy habits. This eventually leads to wrong mindsets.
You’re used to worrying if you’re a worrier. You’re used to feeling fearful if you let fear get to you. When you’re accustomed to physical clutter, it becomes everyday. In fact, you may not notice it. When you live with confusion and disarray, it affects your clarity and focus.
When negativity comes, it’s okay to recognize and acknowledge it. But be prepared to confront it. Don’t just face it, replace it with something positive. Be proactively prepared to substitute a positive emotion, thought or activity.
Is it realistic to assume that one day all of these thoughts and emotions will go away? The answer is no. Feelings and emotions come. That’s a part of life.
If you feel worried, it’s Ok to acknowledge it. But you don’t have to allow it to consume you. You can choose to walk in peace. You can decide to take steps and do things that lead to more balance in your life.
If you feel fear, it’s Ok to acknowledge it. But, your response to it needs to be proactive rather than reactive. You can choose to operate in faith despite how you feel.
If you feel doubtful, it’s Ok. But, you don’t have to allow it to stop you. You can choose to take action despite uncertainty. You can make a choice to say no to worry, fear and doubt.
Preparing ahead of time is essential. Your response to unhealthy mindsets needs to be intentional. Don’t just react. Instead, create a plan of action to deal with them before they become a problem.
Once you’ve assessed mental and physical clutter, you’re going to end up with extra time and space. And what you fill it with makes all the difference in the world.
Make a list of priorities. Assess how much time you actually spend on them. I imagine that you have priorities listed that you spend very little time on. Now that you’re starting to make space for clarity, do something purposeful with the time.
Although negative thoughts and emotions may still come, you don’t have to receive or acknowledge them as truth. You can choose your thoughts and shift your focus.
Once the mental and physical clutter is cleared away, there’s going to be empty space. You need to be prepared to put something in its place. While freeing up space is excellent, be sure that you have something positive to fill it with.
If you’re ready to balance your expectations, let’s talk.
Julie Barbera, author of the forthcoming book, Cracked Mirror, Clear Reflection
“Treasures Are Right Before Our Eyes, yet Many Miss Gems Searching for Pearls at the Bottom of the Sea.”