I recently read a powerful article from
The whole purpose of getting organized and simplifying is to reduce stress and open your life to more happiness and purpose.
But what if the concept of “emptying” our lives causes a stress that creates a push back? Are we unintentionally experiencing sabotage by our very perception of reducing what we have?
NOTE: If you live in Tiny Home or are a fan of Joshua Becker’s (or are part of his fantastic Uncluttered Community, which I highly recommend) this is not going to be a new point of discussion for you, but feel free to read on and comment with your experiences! I love chatting with fellow Uncluttered fans.
So when did empty become a bad word? Have you noticed how we act when that word applies to any aspect of our lives?
Whether it’s stomachs or storage, having less seems to increase anxiety despite the positive reasons behind it.
It started logically. If your car’s gas tank is empty, the car won’t go. If
But then it became a philosophical thing for us too. And I don’t mean the spiritual side of emptiness found in Buddhist teachings which
Poetry and music express an “emptiness inside” that is heartbreaking. Scenes of loss are depicted in songs like Don McLean’s “Empty Chairs” (seriously one of my favorite songs, mind you) can make you cry like a baby.
And how many phrases use the word negatively?
Empty nest syndrome
Running on empty. (Usually negative, but it also makes me start humming the song!)
EMPTY & EXCESS
So what does this all mean for us? I truly believe this discomfort with “empty” leads to our need for
In our demand to avoid empty, we easily end up with excess.
We fill our closets, our drawers and cabinets, our technology, our calendars, and our bellies too.
There are many reasons. Status, avoidance, uncertainty, frugality. Companies want us to believe that we need to do that, don’t they? You need this new blender. You will live a happier life with this new skincare line. You aren’t good enough without these things and if anything is empty, you will be unhappy.
There is another side to the emptiness too. When we do not fill up our space – head, home, or body – we become vulnerable, don’t we? Suddenly we are open in so many ways. Open to have to deal with things we’ve been avoiding. Open to our own expectations.
Does that sound at all familiar? Does it seem strange if you have an empty drawer or empty space? Do you find yourself picking up your phone every minute, wanting to avoid boredom? Snacking for the same reason? I suspect they all tie
AWARENESS & ACTION
Perhaps I should’ve started with the fact that I’m not a mental health professional and I realize some of these concepts can take us down a deep rabbit
So if you feel this applies to you, what can you do to combat these tendencies? There are many options that can even include professional support (therapists, professional organizers, support groups). But if you’re trying to approach this process on your own, there are three things you can do to shift your mindset, which is the best place to start.
- MANAGE YOUR EXPECTATIONS – As you move through your own personal simplicity/decluttering challenge, start slowly. Be extremely patient with yourself. Go in multiple rounds as you build the muscle of releasing what no longer serves you. You don’t actually have to have empty cabinets for this process to have a profound effect on you. The idea is to simplify your life in a way that works for you, someone else. I’m glad your friend now lives in a tiny house. That doesn’t
everhave to be you.
- EXPRESS GRATITUDE – What you focus on your fuel. Incorporating more gratitude into your life – especially a daily ritual – will help you feel “enough” in your world. When you see and acknowledge your abundance, you’ll feel like you have plenty. When you feel you have plenty, it’s much easier to release some of it. Abundance is the antidote to
- DREAM ON – Do you have a vision for your life? An idea of how you want to live? Do you take the time to dream about your space and the way you want to spend your time? In addition to appreciating what you do have, dreaming about a life that honors your values and upholds your purpose gives you guidelines for what to keep, whether
it’s objectsin your physical space,or “clutter” elsewhere in your life (appointments and obligations, even people). When you are very clear on HOW you want to live, it becomes much easier to release what doesn’t serve that vision.