Guest Post by MGAL Expert Theresa Robbins
We’ve all got stuff.
But it isn’t so much what you have that’s the problem.
The problem is what you don’t have…or rather, what you think you don’t have.
I am an information hoarder. I cut out newspaper articles, collect magazines, have something like 3000 emails in my inbox, and have more scraps of paper with little notes jotted down than I care to admit.
Why do I hold on to this stuff? My fear is that without it, I might be lost, stuck in the I don’t know’s, adrift in a sea of uncertainty without a paddle.
And that feels really, really scary.
Because what if I need it? What if I throw away the key to my well being?
You might find yourself in a similar situation, but maybe it isn’t information that you collect. You might have a lot of knick knacks, pens, socks, or cats and this stuff might clutter up your home to the point that home is no longer a comfortable, homey space.
That’s when you know it’s time to declutter. And that probably scares you as much as throwing out my information scares me.
To make it easier on yourself, first understand that you absolutely don’t have to get rid of anything. Making the choice to declutter is one that you make out of love for yourself. It is a way of honoring yourself and what’s really right for you.
That doesn’t mean that decluttering is easy. You have clutter for a reason. On some level, it’s serving a purpose. It’s giving you something that you think you will lose if you let it go.
If you’re having trouble letting go, I invite you to ask yourself the following questions to help you detach and declutter so you can free yourself from what holds you back and create a space that supports and affirms you. (My answers are in italics to serve as examples.)
1. How does this thing make me feel?
Your answer will be different than everyone else’s because your attachment to this thing is yours. So whatever your answer to this question is, it’s perfect. There’s no right or wrong.
My cache of information makes me feel safe and secure. With this knowledge, I can handle things. I will have the answers when answers are needed. This is comforting and I feel empowered and able to deal with those moments of uncertainty.
2. What do I really, really want?
Your answer here might be a whole lot like the answers to the first question, but I invite you to go a bit deeper.
I want to feel safe, secure, protected and empowered, but that feels a little flat when I think about what I really, really want. What I really, really want is to feel happy, light, free, loved and loving.
3. Does having this thing/stuff help me have what I really, really want?
Be honest. It might currently be helping you fill your strongest needs or it might be holding you back from having what you really, really want. Only you know the truth.
Having all these sources of information scattered around feels comforting on one hand, but constricting on the other. It doesn’t really protect me and I’m not actually any safer without it. In fact, holding on to it feels the exact opposite of free and light. It feels heavy and shackled. So no, holding on to all this information is not helping me have what I really, really want.
4. How can I have what I really, really want right now?
You might find that you can find what you really want within yourself. You might find it within your relationships with your family and friends. You might find it in a visualization, an idea, or some other thing. Where else can you find it?
I live in a safe, secure home. I am not currently being threatened or harmed. I can snuggle under a blanket or in my husband’s arms. I can sit outside and breathe deeply to connect with the moment. I feel empowered by knowing that the information I need is available on the internet or I could ask others for help. I also feel loved, happy, light, free, loving, safe, secure, protected, and empowered by hugging my child, writing in my journal or listening to my iPod.
Remember when I said the real problem is what you think you don’t have?
If you work through these questions, you might just find that you’ve had what you really wanted all along – you just didn’t recognize the package it comes in. Once you’ve found another source for what you want, you might find enough wiggle room to let go of that thing you thought you couldn’t let go.