Now some of the suggestions in these materials are extreme! But the bottomline? Clutter! Clutter – both psychic and real – is what ails our generation and unloading it promises to be the panacea.
Studio 5 Clinical Psychologist, Dr. Liz Hale sets the story straight—simplifying our lives doesn’t mean getting rid of the house, lawn, and cars!
What a relief to know that I can simplify without giving up the house, husband, kids and Cuisinart. Whew! But there are some things we can alleviate! We live in an information-age and there is a lot of interesting, albeit nutty “information” out there and we have to be a wise interpreter. Coming of age has a lot to do with letting go of what you were told were the right things and finding out what are the right things for you. One of my clients was recently noting that when you are a stay-at-home mom, people just assume they’ve got you; and there’s nowhere to run when the requests come in. She has come to the conclusion that she will only say “Yes” to those groups/organizations that really need her. In other words, she’s more inclined to volunteer at her son’s school because most the children’s moms are working moms. However, at her daughter’s school, the PTA is run by many former business executives and they have quite a bit of funding so she accepts fewer, if any, invitations to serve. She’s wisely come to the realization that she cannot do it all nor does she need to. Something’s got to give if you want your life to be serene.
Embrace Your Insignificance
So many times, especially as women, we tend to believe that everything depends on us! “If I’m not there, things will fall apart! Someone will die, or worse yet, not get their needs met! I must save the day – No one can do it like I can!” Yikes; do we ever get into trouble with this belief system. Yes, there is no one like you but if you’re not there something else will happen – and life will go on – none of us are indispensable. We tend to live as legends in our own minds. I promise you; there is something freeing in adopting this philosophy. Otherwise, the world is on YOUR shoulders and with that belief comes more stress than you know what to do with! Even if you’re a CEO, you’re still only one spoke in the wheel. Go ahead and make a difference in the world; one starfish at a time – not to the whole sea-full.
Pretend You Only Have Three Friends
It sounds like an old proverb or something, doesn’t it? Now this is NOT about pruning down your social circle but it is about quality of substance. Ask yourself: how many of my relationships are fulfilling? How many are habits? How many are “should’s?” There are many significant people in our paths of life that we have loved and hold in our hearts; and yet we cannot accommodate keeping in touch with! Letting go of connections doesn’t make you a bad person; refer back to point number one if you struggle with the guilt! I don’t have to make sure others feel good; that they hear from me; or that I make that obligatory phone call. What kind of a friend am I by keeping these “obligations” and disrespecting another like that? There are many people I’d be thrilled to see, again, if I ran into them on the sidewalk. Without the guilt for not having kept in touch is just simply the thrill of a revisit! When you hold a fondness in your heart for someone, that is loyalty! (Even more than what a long-distance phone call conveys!)
Question What You Think
If I could have one wish it would be that we all do this more every single day! We believe that a friend is being rude or inconsiderate; can I really know that that’s true? Or, our spouse is purposefully not getting up when the baby cries; can I absolutely know that’s what’s happening? The average mind has about 60,000 thoughts a day and most of us believe about 99% of what we think! We have these brilliant observations of the world that if we hang on to them long enough we won’t even think to question them; they become facts! And we become lost in them. Examine your belief system and just see what thoughts are holding you hostage.
Forge Through FEAR
So many times these fears are what keep us stuck in the old patterns and ways of thinking. Don’t fall prey to fear. It’s not if you’ll be frightened at trying something different; you will be so just expect and accept it! Remember that fear really just stands for:
FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real
When we let ourselves get frozen by fear of the unknown we are left with the question of what could have been. What’s the worst possible case scenario? Flush out every detail of the least favorable outcome and work forward to the best possible outcome: now you’re prepared to handle whatever comes. What is worse, is looking back on an opportunity and wondering, “What if? What if?”
Dr. Liz Hale is a Clinical Psychologist and a regular contributor on Studio 5.
If you have questions for Dr. Liz about simplifying your life, or her private practice, please e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.