I just came across this today – “We gather our past in a clutter” and I can’t help but relate to the psychology behind it, which is why I have finally built up the courage to write again. If I have to be honest, times have been tough; I have seen, felt and experienced things in the past 2 years that made me quite chicken to express myself in words. And then, there is today…
I finally have something to say!
We all are Hoarders by birth. Some choose not to hoard, but they do it subconsciously. It could be things, possessions, feelings, events, memories, etc. but hoarding is our natural reaction to the phases of life. We like holding on to things we are familiar with even while we make way for new things. We rarely cut the cords with the past. We fill cabinets and drawers with outdated electronics – our first camera, our first Walkman, our first CD players; the vestige from our first boyfriend/girlfriend, the first friendship band, faded clothes we never look at, ancient shoes just because they might be our first jimmy choos, jeans we don’t fit into, timeworn birthday & valentine cards, old id cards, even defunct credit cards, notes you passed around in school, sloppy kisses, the tale of lost virginity, mistakes our parents/friends/exes/partners made, all sorts & categories of rubbish. And all this hoarding, over a period of years, turns into clutter.
But how much place do you have in your home, in your heart, in your mind? And when does it stop? What do you do when you move houses? What do you do when you’re trying to make a new friend? What do you do when you’re falling in love? Lug all your life’s clutter along? Let it weigh you down till you can’t lug anymore? Till you finally decide to stay put just so you can keep holding on to it?
*thinks* But then again, you are not alone, because that’s what I do, that’s what everyone does.
There are infinite reasons we hoard and clutter. But the root of it all is Fear – fear of change, fear of losing hope, fear of losing the part of us that was associated with the item/emotion, fear of the unknown, and the list goes on. The fact is we hold on to a lot more things than we need. We let it define us, we let is shape us, we let it control us. We let those heavy shackles hold us down and prevent us from moving ahead. In time, some fortunate people shed the layers as easily as a snake sheds skin, whereas some people drown in the cabinets of their clutter. I know because the darkness of that clutter is no stranger to me.
But then one day I decided to stop ‘taking it’ and just say Enough! To take my first step – Moving from India to France – a whole new beginning, new challenges, new experiences, new lessons. None of that could have been achieved if I didn’t shed 25 years of my life. I haven’t been completely successful yet. I can say that in the past 2 years I have shed 20%, but Hey! I’m no expert and I’m doing this on my own. It’s a start which I was afraid of for 25 years.
I started by using ‘The Move’ as an excuse to throw out or donate my old belongings, one item at a time. That’s the thing – Start Small – Organize & Prioritize. Dump the obsolete, donate the things you haven’t looked at for over 5 years, they are better used by the needy than gathering dust in your closet.
The 2nd Step – Settle up & Finish – Resolve to finish all the things you gave up on – guitar class, language course, unfinished books, promise made to a friend, money/favors you owe, a sweater to knit, an incomplete painting, a long planned vacation, etc. Start checking the items on your long-standing list off. This way, you let go off all the commitments from your past, one task at a time. Follow this by being determined to complete all future tasks as and how they come by rather than hoard them for some indefinite time in the time to come.
Step 3 (which is where I am) – Adopt Honesty – When you spend 25 years denying the things that affected and changed you, this is the hardest step you can come across. I admit it doesn’t happen overnight, but it is a necessary chore that needs to be done… everyday… continuously. Be brutally honest with yourself and those who matter about all the things you feel – How things really have mattered, how certain people have hurt you, how those wounds veined into a lot of other aspects of your life, times that have caused you discomfort, people who have pushed you to points of no return, and such’n’such. Once you become more self-aware, the easier it will be to map out your further course of action. And while you are at it, also forgive yourself for your mistakes which you identify through the process and if you end up loving yourself as result, Win-Win!
Step 4 – Take out the Trash – I’m doing this quite simultaneously, and the easiest way to put this is – Get rid of all toxic relationships. It could be momentos or gifts or family or friends or partners or exes (…or friends with benefits). Get rid of the things and people who constantly scar you. You have neither time nor the need for that kind of bullshit and most of all, you don’t owe anyone anything. Once you start sieving it out, you will realize how much junk you were wasting your time with and to what intensity you ended up neglecting the things and people that actually mattered.
I will venture into the steps to follow in my next post, once I have figured it out myself. But in my journey I think they would be called Que sera sera and Forgiving. I’m no PhD in Psychology so these are not set rules for the Wounded Souls, I’m just sharing my personal experience and hoping that this will provide a guideline to chart out your own healing processes. Some people find it spiritually; some find it through religion, but since I’m a Rationalist I found my answers through Cause & Effect. May be you can try it…
In the end, I would just like to add that –
Life is a series of choices and we as humans are expected to make them. There is no right or wrong choice. There are just choices; which lead you on different paths. How you steer your way through is just dependent on what path you personally prefer to walk.
Bon Chance and Be Strong!