Deb Sofield


Clutter is wrecking your self-worth

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I have written about the issue of clutter in our lives a few times, but I keep coming back to it because I find, over and over, that there just might be that one thing that you’re holding on to that is actually holding you back from achieving what you want in your life.

When I talk about clutter, I don’t just mean that you need to clean out the attic or garage (although those are good places to start). For a bigger life impact, you might want to consider tossing out a few things that are more personal to you–things that you’re hanging on to that are, quite frankly, blocking or holding you back from the opportunities that you tell me and others that you want in your amazing life.

According to Rich Presta in his article, “What Clutter Does to Your Mental and Physical Health (Eek!),” he lists a few things that clutter, in the many roles that it plays, does in the life of a once upwardly mobile and healthy person.

Mr. Presta lists many reasons, but today I want to focus and stick to the one that I see over and over in my work–the misguided idea of one’s self-worth, which is measured by the stuff that people accumulate by linking it to past memories as an anchor, for all intents and purposes, that will keep them stuck in one place, no matter where the winds of change offer to take them.

It seems for many that clutter is an outward sign and indication of self-worth, meaning that your stuff is an extension of you.

Definition: Clutter–a collection of things lying about in an untidy mass.

I have admitted many times in my blog and podcast that I find it curious when I see so many broken or mismatched items in an office or home. I am not talking about a few items that you might get around to repairing on a Saturday, but when I find more than six to ten items that are in plain sight, in various stages of destruction and in need of repair (assuming that the repair is even possible), my mind is pushed to the conclusion that I am dealing with a split personality: two people–the outwardly seemingly healthy person who is hiding an inwardly damaged place in their life.

As sad as it may be this is a glaringly obvious disconnect from who they are to who they want to portray to others. And the sad part is that they think no one sees the brokenness but, honestly, it is not hard to see if you know what to look for.

I am going to use the word “clutter” as my definition of things that fill a life, not only items that you can hold in your hand, but also memories and emotions that are on the inside that will trip you up if you allow them to stay in the wrong place and they act as a misstep instead of a stepping stone.

Let’s step back and review this issue of clutter in your life: the items are broken, most likely never to be repaired or have any usable value (no matter how cute they are), and still they sit where you can see them and where you left them years ago, taking up space because they are what? A symbol of you, your past, your present… your future? Really? Only you can answer that question honestly.

If your “stuff” is a symbol of you, then let’s revisit the idea of your self-worth, because self-worth is synonymous with self-esteem, self-respect and self-confidence.

At this point, I’ve got to ask the obvious question. Does your clutter, your stuff, your junk really hold that much sentimental meaning to your amazing life? You’re allowing stuff you don’t use (because it is broken and you can’t) hold your energy and time as if it has some control over you?

If it does, my friend, you need to consider why you’ve allowed an inanimate broken object reflect your self-worth while being such a timewaster in your precious life?

Today I am going to ask that you rethink the idea of your “stuff” being an extension of you–body, soul, mind and spirit–because once you look around and see the inoperable items that collect dust and take up valuable space, please don’t confuse the lack of movement or progress in your life with anything other than your inability to see yourself for who you might really be–a broken person who is holding on to a chipped piece of your past to remind you that at one time in your life someone or something gave you meaning.

If that thought is true in your life, consider the bigger idea that you need to stop giving your power away to others, and rebuild your foundation, making it of stone, so that it will not sway with the physical, mental and emotional winds of change in your life or by the life actions of others who cause you pain. Why? Because you’re worth it!

For those who feel like you are broken in some way, please consider finding a friend to help you heal and move on, or if you are strong enough, figure out how to heal the hurt so you can move up and onward in the years you have left on this earth.

Better yet, throw away the chipped pieces of memories that only serve as a heavy reminder of past pain and loss so you can fill those empty spaces with opportunities for new life, new growth, sunshine and blue skies. Your self-worth is depending on you doing the hard work to heal and begin again.

I like the quote by Gretchen Rubin, “The more I examine the issue of clutter, the more effort I put into combating it, because it really does act as a weight.”

I know, Tough Love Tuesday, but someone has to say to you what others who love you cannot say because they fear your reaction to such a sensitive subject of your self-worth.

I can think of no greater sadness than to know and name the “clutter” in your life and not be willing to or not be strong enough to toss it out because you’ve allowed it to usurp your self-worth. Don’t be that person. Follow the child-like wisdom of Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh, “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

Consider these words today about clearing the clutter from your life and releasing the weight of broken objects, memories and mistakes, so you can free yourself to start again and make the rest of your life the best of your life; so you can live freely and fully in the knowledge that you have value and self-worth, letting nothing hold you back from achieving what you want in your life. I know you can do this and I’ll be here weekly to help!

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

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