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Time to de-clutter…(pt 5)

June 5, 2009

For the final part of the de-cluttering series, I’m going to talk about psychological de-cluttering. Over this last week, I’ve given you a brief introduction to physical, mental and emotional de-cluttering, with a few ideas to get you started. You may have noticed that I’ve shared these in order of difficulty, with the easiest – the physical de-cluttering – first. Dealing with the more superficial stuff which gives you quick tangible results, like sorting out your house, gives you encouragement and helps your motivation, as you get to experience the immediate benefits of bringing positive change to your life. Psychological de-cluttering however, depending on the severity of your issues, can take time and effort, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t see immediate results.

Here then are the final tips which will help you begin the process of your psychological de-cluttering and achieve ‘inner simplicity’:

  • Firstly, realise that this is not about totally eliminating ‘your past’  – your past is an important part of your life journey and wiping it totally from your memory would be counterproductive.  The key is to ‘reframe’ your perspective of the past, looking back objectively from an adult point of view rather than reacting from your ‘wounded child’ perspective. When you can see the bigger picture of what occurred, you can begin to understand why it happened that way, and use it for your own benefit, learning the lesson offered by this experience.  The process of understanding and assimilating your past  will also  allow you to identify and break those negative patterns – created by your previously unconscious psychological influences – which have been affecting you and your life in a dysfunctional way.

  • The process of de-cluttering is like stripping off layers of paint from an old piece of furniture to reveal the beautiful natural wood beneath. You’ve now reached the deepest, darkest part of yourself,  and all that’s left to deal with is your psychological baggage which is preventing you from touching that beautiful golden nugget – your core self.  What’s important to recognise here is that this remaining baggage is your stuff, no-one else’s, so it’s up to you take responsibility for yourself and deal with it.

  • This means it’s time to stop playing the blame game. Blaming others for the state your life is in only breeds anger and resentment. Remember that everyone does the best they can with the knowledge they have at the time and that their treatment of you is usually influenced by their own psychological baggage. (And if there’s someone in your life who still continues to treat you badly, then you have to ask yourself – what is this person doing in your life anyway? Ditto if you’ve recognised that this person is one of those rare people who is just rotten to the core.) The blame game also works the other way – blaming yourself only breeds regret and self-loathing, so forgive your past mistakes by remembering that you too were simply doing the best you could with the knowledge you had at the time.

  • However, if ‘victim’ is one of your favourite roles,  then it’s time to stop playing this game as well. Being a victim is demoralising and disempowering for you and off-putting and irritating for others. (Of course, it suits some people’s agendas to have you play the victim, in which case you need to ask yourself again – why is this person still in your life?) Take back your self-respect and stop using the tough life you’ve had – or are still having – as an excuse for not moving forward. All of us could create a ‘hard luck story’ out of our lives, if we dwell on it long enough – life is notoriously unfair so all of us have been through difficult times. As I said before, the trick is to see the lesson in your experience and learn from it – gain strength from your painful past (or present) and strive to overcome it, rather than passively succumbing to it. Drop the ‘poor me’ stories and the hangdog expression and start seeking the respect of others, rather than their sympathy.

  • It’s also worth remembering that ‘it’s not all about you’. The irony of a poor self-image and low self-esteem/respect is that it can make you very self-absorbed and egocentric. However, though you may be the centre of your own universe , you’re certainly not  the centre of everyone else’s. So get over yourself, stop taking things personally and quit that paranoia habit. For example, just because someone didn’t speak to you, it doesn’t mean that you’ve done something wrong. Perhaps their dog just died and they’re too upset to speak – or maybe they’re envious of you and it’s triggered a resentful reaction, in which case this is their stuff, not yours, and it’s up to them to deal with it. If it really bothers you, then maybe now is the time to use those assertiveness techniques and ask them outright what the problem is. You may be very surprised at the response…

  • If you are struggling to let go of your past stuff, then there are a number of things you could try. Self-help is a great place to start but you may find you need outside assistance. There are many forms of therapy and healing available today, so it’s worth checking out a few to see which would suit you the best – as well as talking therapies, you could also try some of the physical healing therapies such as reiki, reflexology, or EFT. Journalling is also another good technique – sometimes the best way is to just keep rehashing your story until it bores even you (don’t inflict this on your friends though – use a journal or visit a therapist). It really is possible to heal old wounds. I recently saw a photo of someone I haven’t seen in over a decade who once caused me a lot of distress and anguish, and felt nothing but a sense of fond nostalgia. Why? Because I worked through the pain, stopped blaming, refused to be a victim and have consequently managed to let go and heal the psychological wound.

  • When you begin to psychologically de-clutter, you will really start to feel the benefits of learning to enjoy your own company. Once you reach a place where you like yourself enough to spend time with you, nothing can ever really hurt you in the same way. When you’ve psychologically de-cluttered, you will feel whole and centred, and those formerly traumatic experiences such as being dumped or betrayed in some way will simply not affect you as deeply. This is because you no longer need others for validation as you know in your heart and soul that you’re fine the way you are and always will be.

  • Finally, remember that positive energy creates more positive energy. The more positive you feel, the more positive stuff you attract. You begin to naturally reject the negative stuff, as it simply does not feel right, and you have the inner strength to deal with any that does catch you out and manage to sneak past your newly honed negativity radar.

I hope this brief introduction to the concept of  de-cluttering has given you some positive ideas for lasting change in your life.  You will find it so much easier to express your authentic core self when it’s revealed in all its glory and not lost under layers of clutter – and consequently, so much easier to live the life you were truly born to live.

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5 comments

  1. […] Whatever your circumstances, your attitude will be the deciding factor as to whether you remain stuck in the vacuum, merely existing and bemoaning your sorry fate – or whether you live an authentic life filled with joy and meaning.  You can find more on how to achieve a more positive attitude in parts four and five of the de-cluttering articles, where I give advice on how to emotionally and psychologically ‘de-clutter’ in order to achieve inner simplicity and a greater sense of emotional and psychological wellbeing. The emotional de-cluttering article can be found here and the psychological de-cluttering piece can be found here. […]


  2. […] Part five delves even deeper by dealing with your psychological clutter. […]


  3. […] the world much more clearly, without the influence of parents, peers or society. (more on this in my de-cluttering blogs – link is to final part of this series as I feel this is most pertinent, but might be worth […]


  4. Wow ❤


  5. I read that some time would be taken to complete a book and that most of the entries are from 2012. Is there a new site?



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