Cleaning out your closets or tackling that attic full of boxes is always satisfying, but what about the junk you’re hoarding in your head? When you throw out the physical clutter you clear your mind, but when you throw out the mental clutter you clear your soul. Gail Blanke helps rid you of 4 kinds of mental mess. Get ready to let go and really lighten up your load.
Let Go of Feeling Inadequate, Irrelevant, and Just Plain Not Good Enough
This is a great place to start the mental throw-out process, because who among us has not felt at one time or another that we’re just not good enough? Or that someone else is better, smarter, prettier? Many of us shine the spotlight not on what we can provide, but what we’re missing. But focusing on the things we don’t have is a ridiculous waste of energy, not to mention a waste of valuable mental resources.
Action Plan: Stop thinking that you need to know about or be good at everything. Celebrate and enjoy what you do know and what you can do. And forget that old adage, ‘No one’s indispensable.’ No one’s dispensable! Whatever you can contribute is valuable—be sure to give what you can every chance you get.
Let Go of Thinking the Worst
Does this sound familiar—someone says something or something happens to you and you immediately turn whatever it is into something bad? We often make ourselves sick over negative interpretations. I know I’ve weakened my mental immune system by being so irrationally worried over negative thoughts I made up all by myself. We’ve got to cut this out. You get to decide how it all turns out. So make up interpretations that propel you toward the life of your dreams.
Action Plan: Ask yourself what you want to make happen. Is it a new job, a new boyfriend, or just a happy ending to a tough day? Then no matter what happens, assign a positive interpretation to your current situation. In the end, you’ll have a much better chance of getting what you truly want if you focus on the best scenario, not the worst.
Let Go of the Type of Person You Think You Are
I believe that at any given moment we can decide who we are, what we’re capable of, and what type we are. And that means at any given moment, we can throw out the old type if it just doesn’t work for us.
Action Plan: Make a list of the various types you think you are; types you or someone else made up that you’ve accepted as the truth. Like the not-good-at-math type or the can’t-lose-weight type. Draw a line through every one of them. Now write down some types you’d like to be: maybe confident, creative, or entrepreneurial. Act as if you are those types. Remember, nothing’s written until you write it.
Let Go of Waiting for the Right Moment
Waiting is a national pastime. We wait for the mood to strike us, the weather to change, the planets to be aligned before we take the next step. But now is the time to control our destinies and live, not the life we’re resigned to, but the life we aspire to. When we put our futures on hold waiting for the right moment, our opportunities float on by.
Action Plan: We often wait out of fear, but courage comes with action. Next time that old voice cries out, “Wait!”—don’t listen! Speak up anyway, present your plan, declare your passion, and take that step that might change your life.
Adapted from Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life, by Gail Blanke, Springboard Press, www.throwoutfiftythings.com
How do you know what to throw out? Whether you’re approaching physical or mental clutter, these guidelines will help simplify your decision process.
One. If it—the thing, the belief or conviction, the memory, the job, even the person—weighs you down, clogs you up, or just plain makes you feel bad, throw it out, give it away, sell it, let it go, and move on.
Two. If it just sits there, taking up room and contributing nothing positive to your life, get rid of it. Throwing out what’s negative helps you rediscover what’s positive.
Three. Can’t make the decision whether to toss it or keep it? If you have to weigh the pros and cons for too long or agonize about the right thing to do, throw it away.
Four. Don’t be afraid. This is your life we’re talking about. It’s the only one you’ve got and you don’t have the time, energy, or room for physical or psychic waste.