Dear friends, It’s time to strip away some layers of “stuff” on this minimalism journey.
I hope you’ll stick with me here…. because we’re all afraid of….
Some fears are obvious like spiders, heights, clowns, and if you’re like me bridges and tornados.
Ugh, bridges and tornados.
Sorry, I need a minute now….
Other fears that we have are less pronounced and less obvious, and you might not even have a conscious awareness of them.
Maybe you have a fear of loss:
- Loss of things.
- Loss of acceptance.
- Loss of friends.
- Loss of love.
Sometimes we’re afraid to give up what we think we have. I'll admit it, I am.... but I am ready and willing to have total freedom.
Fear traps us: It prevents us from growing. It prevents us from contributing to other people. It prevents us from living happy, satisfied, fulfilled, free lives.
Fear is the antithesis of freedom: it is, by definition, constricting. We often hold on to things because we are afraid to get rid of them: we fear losing those things we think we might need. We don’t just fear the loss of these things, though—we fear the loss of what these things might mean to us in some distant, hypothetical future.
Can you relate?
When you say that out loud, it sounds ridiculous. Try it: say I’m afraid to get rid of this [insert object name here, e.g., “T-shirt”] because it could have a serious impact on my life in the future. Ridiculous, right?
So there is an obvious question we must ask ourselves when we’re holding on to something:
"Why am I afraid to get rid of this?"
Seriously…. What are you afraid of?
- I don’t want to say “no” to that person. What am I afraid of?
- I can’t write the novel I’ve always dreamed of writing. What am I afraid of?
- I can’t learn to play that instrument I’ve always wanted to play. What am I afraid of?
- I can’t exercise and eat healthy foods. What am I afraid of?
- I can’t quit the job I hate to pursue my passion. What am I afraid of?
- I can’t _____________________. What am I afraid of?
The answer to this question is almost always ridiculous: I’m afraid people won’t like me anymore. I’m afraid people won’t love me anymore. I’m afraid people won’t respect me anymore.
Chances are you have manufactured these false fears, and it is these manufactured fears that keep you from doing what you want to do (or, in the case of our physical items, fears that are keeping you from getting rid of certain things that have no real value—things that have no real meaning in your life).
I have good news, though: fear is a choice.
You choose to be afraid—and you can choose to live without fear. All you must do is make a conscious decision: a decision to not be afraid. When something stands in your way, you must ask yourself: What am I afraid of?
So many of my coaching clients and people in general have chosen to get rid of their fears and move on with a meaningful life. But don’t take my word for it— please try it out yourself:
Throw away your favorite T-shirt.
Get rid of your TV.
Write that novel.
Take yoga classes.
Do something you wouldn’t normally do.
Live your life.
Live a better life.
What are you afraid of?
It’s time to stop being afraid of whatever is preventing you from being happy, whatever is preventing you from being free—starting with the excess stuff in your life. Because in the end, you’re holding on to the fear because you’re afraid to give any of it up.
I'm ready... are you?
SO, the big question… how are we doing with de-cluttering?
I am so glad you asked *wink
1. Guest room done
2. Hall closet done
3. Guest bath done
4. Solis’ room done
5. Laundry room done
6. Linen closet done
7. Hall bathroom done
8. Vicky’s room done
9. Kitchen (incl. pantry) 10/8/2017
10. Living room 10/11/2017
11. My office 10/20/2017
12. Backyard 10/22/2017
13. Master Bedroom 10/26/2017
14. Master bathroom 10/27/2017
15. Master closet 10/31/2017
16. Garage & loose ends 12/31/2017
Okay, so we are half-way through our list, but the hardest rooms are still to come. I am happy to report that we are a tiny bit ahead of schedule and I gave us a little more time before the next deadline, because Craig and I are headed out of town for a few days.
So far, the struggle to let go of stuff has not been hard, but I know it will be so I am thankful to be ahead of the game with working through my fears before I get to the items that will be the most challenging to part with.
I will admit to you that when we began this journey, I really thought I would struggle even in the beginning to get rid of things. And I did at first…. Before we began. I hadn’t even sorted one item when the panic rose in my throat about “But what if I neeeeeed that later?” and “But I got that at such a pivotal time in my life…”
So far, that fear has not come up and letting go is getting easier each day.
I like to think about the person or family who might end up with the items we are donating and how much it might fill a desperate need for them.
I like to actually thank the item for serving me well or even apologize to it if I never spent the time with it that it really deserved.
Yes, I realize that sounds a little crazy, but it is helping.
Our kitchen is next on the list and while I have already purged it so much before moving here, there are still items in it that I have not used once since we moved into this house in January. These items need to go and be loved elsewhere. Pre-purge, we already have empty cupboards, drawers and shelves because this kitchen is twice the size of the one we had in our last house…. But I want to have even more empty space because I know I have more items from the garage that will need to come indoors once we get to that point. I am also excited to rid my kitchen counters of clutter and organize our pantry better since our whole household is now eating a vegan diet.
Won’t you join me?
In what way is fear holding you back from letting go? What choices can you make today to move forward to make the changes you desire? I’d love to hear more about this in a comment below… Oh, and are you de-cluttering along with me? If so, I’d love an update on how it’s going!
*Did you miss the first Just Breathe blog post? Read it here.