I’m sorry that you are here, reading this. I won’t be another person trying to convince you it gets better. Because, well why should you believe me? What do I have to offer you to convince you otherwise? I know because I’ve been in your shoes and I know what it feels like. I know the feeling of helplessness. Of frustration. I know that it can feel like the whole world is against you and that no matter what nothing will ever get better. I know that you feel like you are ready to explode… no, implode from the crushing weight of everything around you. I’ve been there.
But you know what world-crushing weight on your shoulders? Take a look at it. How much of it did you put there yourself? How much of it is self-loathing, low self-esteem, or despair? How much of it are feelings of inadequacy or self-doubt?
How much agony did you give to yourself because you thought it was what you deserved?
There was an interesting study a few years back that basically said you can measure a person’s state of mind by how clean their living space is. And for some reason, I always remembered that. There would be times when I would walk into my room stepping over laundry, pieces of paper, and miscellaneous items, straight over to my immaculate bookshelf. All organized and neat in alphabetical order and the shelves were always dusted.
When I got married and moved to Colorado, I was forced to dig through layers of mess. I threw very little of it away, instead throwing everything in boxes I didn’t know how to label and saying I’d deal with it later. When my husband and I moved into our first apartment, over half of my boxes never got unpacked. We moved a year later and still, several boxes had yet to be opened. Once we made the decision to move back to Idaho, the boxes were in such disrepair I had to repackage the majority of them. Once they were out in the open, I donated a lot of the contents and threw out even more. The rest got packed right back up and lived under my bed until last week.
Last week I decided to start packing my summer clothes and transition to winter. The boxes, the same boxes that had moved with me 4 times, were in my way. It was early enough in the day that I decided to sort through them.
I got rid of everything.
In case you are wondering, the boxes contained random junk that I had attached scraps of sentimental value to. Truly useless junk. By the time I finally got around to cleaning out the boxes, I was an entirely different person than the one who packed them. And that was the exact moment when everything made sense.
My living space, those boxes, were a direct reflection of my mental state. These were useless items that I had lugged across states, through four different moves, just so I could get rid of it all. I realized that I had been doing the same in my mind and in my heart. I was holding onto grudges and past mistakes and old pain, and like the boxes, it was dragging me down and taking up space.
And like the boxes, I sorted through those items in my head. I took each of them and brought it forward where I finally, after so many years, thanked each of those pains, those sorrows, and those mistakes for the lesson they taught me. Then I let them go.
For the first night in as long as I can remember, and that isn’t an exaggeration, I slept soundly and I woke up in the morning light. My muscles were relaxed, I had an appetite and energy. Releasing my self-inflicted stress changed not only my mental state but my physical health.
So you, reader with a broken spirit, I challenge you this:
Look into your living space, is it cluttered? Tidy up the books, pick up some trash, stack the papers in a neat pile. Take a deep breath in…. out… Roll your shoulders. Stretch! Find a comfy place to sit, close your eyes, and take something small of that pile on your shoulders. Look at it, really analyze it and figure out the lesson it’s trying to tell you. (It doesn’t have to a big, earth-shattering realization either.) And when you’ve figured it out, thank it for the lesson learned and let it go. Take a deep breath in…. out…
I love you. Good luck.