An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat
Often, fear tells us there is something wrong that needs to be addressed or corrected. For example, I feared if I didn’t change my eating habits, my cholesterol, triglyceride, and blood glucose levels would continue to increase and I’d develop diabetes. Then I’d end up like my dad, who had a stroke and ultimately passed away. The message? Cut down on the processed foods and sugar, and exercise regularly. I did exactly that, and the fear I had that my poor health habits would threaten my health led to me making better choices and becoming healthier and stronger.
But often, we look at Fear as something to be conquered, something to be overcome. We look at Fear as something that can paralyze us. We fear not being good enough. We fear the past. We fear the future. We fear failure. And these fears can seem to be very real, especially if we play around with them in our minds.
I’ve done this. I’ve feared the past. I feared that my husband would be just like the men I allowed hurt me in my past, because, of course, all men are the same. And because of this fear, I treated him like he would hurt me as others did in my past by being defensive toward him.
I wanted to rid myself of Fear. After all, the most frequently stated admonition in the Bible is, “Do not fear.”
I found this to be a monumental task, and that if I spent time thinking about it, even imagining how I could rid myself of it, Fear became bigger.
But what if we looked at Fear as “an amazing act of the imagination,” instead of something that we conquer, says fiction writer Karen Thompson Walker in a TED Talk entitled “What Fear Can Teach Us”. What if we looked at our fears as stories?
Yes, stories. Stories with character, setting, and plot, with a beginning, middle, and ending.
According to Walker,
“…fears are…a kind of unintentional storytelling we’re all born knowing how to do.”
And don’t we tell the stories? In my own story, I’m the main character, of course. I see how stories have run their course in the past, and I’ve told my stories in ways consistent with how they’ve progressed in the past. In doing so, I’ve used my imagination as a breeding ground for my fears. I’ve wasted a lot of time doing that. And I can’t get the time back.
So why don’t I use my fears to tell different stories? I can come up with a different plot, definitely a different ending. My story doesn’t have to end up the way it’s always ended up. I can make different choices in my story. I can actually choose my actions and plot based on how I want my story to end.
So if I have a fear of not being good enough that, in the past, caused me to behave in ways that sabotaged my relationship, why not tell my story differently than in the past so that it ends well? In my narrative, I can imagine that I am worthy of having a great relationship. In the process of me using my imagination to tell a different story of my worth, I believe it. And then I make choices that contribute to that better relationship. I don’t sabotage my relationship the way I’ve done in the past because of the false story I’ve told about my worth in the past. I’ve now used my imagination in a positive way. According to Ed Finn in his article “The Spark of Imagination,”
“Imagination is a powerful tool for changing the world because it can simply rewrite reality as we perceive it.”
I can simply rewrite what I want my reality to be and change my own internal world, leading to a change in my external world, my relationship (or any other aspect of my life).
But essential to being able to tell better stories is to be able to read our fears. Is the fear real? Is the fear justified? If the fear is real, if it is justified, then I must take steps to address it.
But if, after reading or examining the fear, we determine that the “narrative” is “false evidence appearing real,” then we can rewrite our plot.
Prior to seeing Karen Thompson Walker’s TED talk, through much prayer and reflection, I’ve been able to change what I’ve imagined concerning my husband. I see my husband as the gift God gave me, instead of seeing him in the context of past relationships. As a result, our relationship has improved greatly.
But since I’ve begun writing this post, I’ve had the opportunity to address certain fears, and it really has been helpful to view them as narratives. Instead of reacting and operating on auto-pilot, I was intentional to think about how I wanted my story to end. I behaved differently, and situations didn’t escalate. It works!
What do you think about viewing your fears as stories? How would your situations resulting from fear turn out if you used your imagination to generate narratives that turned out well?
I have generally been a selfish person. Giving of myself has not been a trait I’ve taken to well in my life, at least not in intimate relationships. Sharing of myself, my true self, was not something I did because it exposed me in ways I didn’t want people to see.
So before Solomon became my husband, he met and courted that selfish woman. That selfish woman was okay with him if her needs and wants were being met. But here was the problem: I did not reciprocate meeting my husband’s needs, particularly his emotional needs.
Now you might say, “You surely didn’t love that man.”
To which I’d say, “Not true.” However, throughout my lifetime, I didn’t learn how to love in intimate relationships. Because I had been hurt so many times.
Let me rephrase that. I allowed myself to be hurt, many times because of my own foolishness.
No matter the source, whether through my own choices or someone’s choice to hurt me, I built a wall that became almost impenetrable. I felt I had to defend myself. Do things for myself. Protect myself. Be selfish. Who’s going to take care of me but me?
Needless to say, my marriage was full of clash. For many years. Because my husband would sacrifice for me, yet I would feel put out if I had to do the same for him. (This does not imply that my husband is a pushover by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, my husband is the strongest, wisest, most profound man I’ve ever known in my entire life.)
So it would appear that my selfishness should’ve helped my relationship, because after all, if I didn’t feel like helping and I did anyway, I wouldn’t be true to myself.
But it didn’t.
One of my husband’s greatest strengths is his ability to put the needs of others above his own, especially mine. Whenever I’ve needed something, he’s always been there for me, even when he has to sacrifice something important to him to make sure I have what I need. I’ve felt safe in those moments. And there have been many moments. However, I would often fall back in defense mode without thinking, allowing my autopilot responses to take over when I became angry or irritated.
I recently read something though, that I’ve started to adopt, and have reaped the benefits of doing so. Instead of thinking, “making small sacrifices for your partner when you don’t feel like it could be damaging your relationship,” I began thinking that if I do what my husband needs me to do, we’ll be better off. We’ll have more harmony. We’ll have more joy. We’ll enjoy each other much more. The love between us will grow. So I began to pay attention to little things he needed. Even when I didn’t want to do them.
And then I read a chapter in Og Mandino’s University of Success entitled, “How to Get People to Help You Succeed,” by Robert Conklin. Just so you know, it’s not about manipulating people into doing what you want. Robert’s premise behind the chapter is:
“To the degree you give others what they need, they will give you what you need.”
Needs are, as Robert Conklin says, different than wants, because wants can be fleeting. They are sometimes never satisfied. However,
“…needs are the deeper currents of one’s existence. They are meaningful, worthy, and not as capricious as wants.”
So what are some of the things people need in relationships? They need (this is not an all-inclusive list at all):
So meeting someone’s needs in a relationship goes beyond doing chores. If you look at it as merely doing a chore, and you don’t feel like doing it, sure, you’re going to feel like you’re imposed upon (at least I would, and have). But if you look at it as your spouse needs your support and cooperation in order to accomplish a goal, or to meet a deadline, or just to make life a little easier for him, then you go beyond the superficial, “This is my husband’s job. I shouldn’t have to do this.” You get to, “I’m helping him get to where he wants to go. I’m helping meet a need so he can do what God has called him to do.” And that, I believe, can help us get out of our selfish individualism. And that, in essence, can help us to get our own needs met as well. I know that when I am conscious of this principle, my relationship works better. I enjoy my husband much more. And he enjoys me more as well. I’m not saying I’ve got it all together, though. In fact, I still make missteps, and I feel guilty every time. But I pick myself back up, ready to discover how I can help meet my husband’s needs so he can grow and become more than he could become if I withhold my support, my cooperation, my recognition of him, my respect for him.
The apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 2:3-4,
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves. Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.
I think this is great advice for our relationships.
So can being more selfish be the key to a successful relationship? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
I had a craving for some popcorn today. So I popped some.
If we’re popcorn eaters, it is probably fair to say that many of us would purchase microwave instead of regular popcorn. Why? The microwave variety is more convenient and takes less time to prepare. Just throw it in the microwave for approximately 2-4 minutes (or hit the popcorn button on your wave machine) and be done with it.
One day, I decided to buy a bag of regular kernel popcorn – the store brand, no less – to prepare for an at-home movie outing. It cost me less than two dollars. I prepared to pop the corn, placing a thin layer of vegetable oil in the bottom of a medium sized pot, pouring the popcorn in the pot to cover the bottom, putting some chunks of Country Crock on top of the kernels, and sprinkling some Old Bay seasoning on the whole thing. Once I prepared the popcorn, I put a top on the pot, turned the flame on sort of high, and waited. It took awhile for the oil to get hot enough to pop the corn, probably the same amount of time it takes for the popcorn to pop in the microwave. In fact, my daughter asked, “When is it going to start to pop?” because she wanted the popcorn right then. Finally, the popcorn started popping. That took a little while too. But when the kernels stop popping and I took off the top of the pot, I had beautifully popped, buttery popcorn with no burning! It took a little more time to prepare it this way, but it sure was worth the wait. I achieved a much better result. That popcorn was delicious!
So who the heck cares about popcorn and how it’s cooked? What does this have to do with anything?
Just like the popcorn, or anything else we microwave, we sometimes seek changes in our lives to happen quickly. Let’s take weight loss, for example. I gained 37 pounds during my pregnancy – nine years ago. Up until last year, I carried 20 pounds of that baby weight. But last year, I decided I wanted to become healthy for me and my family. Of course, I wanted to lose the weight quickly, but I knew if I lost it too rapidly, there’d be a good chance I’d gain the weight back. We know that sometimes significant changes need to be made in order to achieve weight loss (I had 30 pounds to lose), but usually gimmicks and quick fixes cannot be maintained. In fact, the American Heart Association stated, “Because most quick-weight-loss diets require drastic changes in eating patterns, you can’t stay on them for long.” So if we lose the weight quickly, we often gain the weight back, sometimes more than what we gained in the first place. Quick fixes usually don’t work, at least not permanently. But I made changes gradually, changes that I could maintain. I learned what I could and could not eat and when I could eat it. I didn’t starve myself. I ate plenty of food (sometimes still too much). I began to work out regularly. So I am now 20 pounds lighter than I was this time last year. It’s taken a year. And I feel good that as long as maintain my new habits and let go of the bad, I will keep the weight off permanently (I actually have 10 more pounds to go).
Let’s take another example. For years, I didn’t control my emotions. In fact, I carried suppressed anger that I allowed rear its ugly head in my marriage often. It goes without saying that if I wanted to my marriage to succeed, I had to make some changes. And I wanted the changes to happen quickly. So over the years, I prayed, praised God, worshipped God, read my Bible regularly. And when I engaged in these activities, I thought I was emotionally healed. I thought that God was going to instantly heal me of my emotional baggage. After all, when Jesus healed people, it was usually an immediate healing. And surely, after most church services, I left feeling good, believing in my heart God had touched me in some way. And He did.
Deep down, my soul was still sick.
Yet, I continued to pray, I continued to read and reflect, I continued to seek God for my change. And as I persevered, things began to change. I began to look at my husband through different lenses. I began to see the glass as half full. God revealed to me how to make the changes. It wasn’t pretty, but after some years, I’ve learned how not to becoming offended so easily, how to communicate better, and how to see my husband as the gift God graciously gave me. We’ve now been married 12 years. And our relationship is better than it has ever been, and getting better!
I have come to a different understanding of emotional and spiritual healing these days. God is the source of healing for me. But I don’t think God does takes a “microwave popcorn” approach to it (at least He hasn’t for me). As the Greek slave and fable author Aesop said in The Tortoise and the Hare, ”Slow and steady wins the race.” And for me and my emotional health comes in the form of being more attuned to my immediate circumstances and how I react to them. But it’s taken time for me to figure out how to become more sensitive to how I react to things.
My emotional healing hasn’t been a quick fix, as much as I’ve wanted it to be. It has been a slow process. Yet it sure feels good to have a different response and reap the benefits of that response today.
So for those of you who are seeking a change (or changes), it may not be helpful to seek the quick fix. Because while temporary relief may come and go, transformation achieved through effort and struggle is lasting.
“Time is a dressmaker, specializing in alterations.” ~Faith Baldwin
‘Tis the season of commencement. A time when graduates close one chapter of their lives to begin the next.
I started this blog in 2006. I blogged consistently for awhile, then hit a few snags. As is often the case, life got in the way. Not in a bad way, though. Demands changed. Priorities shifted. Then writing ceased. For years.
There were a few disingenuous false attempts to return. Yet, it wasn’t the time. I felt like I was forcing myself to live in a space where I didn’t belong. So while I missed writing, I had to stay on the sidelines.
Yet it is now Commencement time not only for high school and college graduates, but for me as well. I am returning to my blog, writing here at Women Walking In Wisdom’s Footsteps™. And I’m excited about the direction I sense God is taking me.
The tagline to this blog is “For women who are humble enough to seek wisdom, yet sensible enough to impart it.” So first, while anyone can read my blog, I direct my writing toward women, because I am one, and I know much more about women than I do men.
Second, I anticipate women other than me will contribute to this blog. In no way do I profess to be an expert on anything. However, I do believe that I can take the steps of women whose feet have been where I’ve been and have achieved some success in areas in which I’ve struggled.
I’ve often felt like I’m the only one who struggles in so many areas of life. Before I got married, I failed in my relationships. And those failures followed me. I should say, I packed those failures in a bag and carried them around with me every day. Just like Erykah Badu’s song entitled “Bag Lady.” She sings:
Bag lady you gone hurt your back
Dragging all them bags like that
I guess nobody ever told you
All you must hold on to
Is you, is you, is you
One day all them bags gone get in your way
One day all them bags gone get in your way
I said one day all them bags gone get in your way
One Day all them bags gone get in your way
I know a lot about those bags. But while I once believed I was the only one who experienced the pain of carrying that baggage, I now know, as I’ve worked through ridding myself of some of those bags, that I’m not the only one. I’ve learned some things as I’ve thrown away baggage, and I’d like to talk about some of that on this blog in an effort to help others.
As I share my experiences in the areas of relationship/marriage, parenting, health and body image, emotional intelligence, and spirituality, I hope my readers will also share not only their own struggles, but advice as well.
In full disclosure, I am a Christian. The foundation of my writings is God and Jesus Christ. However, I do believe that no matter your faith tradition, you can glean something from the writing here. I don’t say that to be arrogant at all. I just think that the wisdom imparted here through the women who read and comment can help others if we can all keep an open mind.
I’m excited to be back. I’ll post once weekly on Tuesdays. If I feel the urge to write a second post, I’ll do so. But for now, look for the first post this Tuesday.
In the meantime, click here to learn a little more about me. I look forward to getting to know more about you.
(If you like what you’ve read, please click here or enter your email address in the SUBSCRIBE BY EMAIL box in the sidebar to receive my blog posts by email.)
I will resume posting regularly on Tuesday, May 1st. The series Women Who Run With the Wolves will resume on Monday, May 7th. “Friday Favorites” will resume Friday, May 4th.
I remember when I was a teenager, about 13 or 14 years old. I was in our basement singing a song being played on the radio – in falsetto, to be sure. Yet I believed at the time that my voice was so pretty, that I sung every note perfectly. But my older brother Sidney (he passed away in 1999 of an AIDS-related illness) had different thoughts. He yelled down the stairs, “Who’s that singing? It sounds terrible! You can’t sing!”
From that time on, I never sung a song in front of anyone. That bird was caged. Her song shut up in her soul.
Subsequently, when I was in the car with any family member and one of my favorite songs came on the radio, I wouldn’t sing aloud – I might mouth the words, but not actually let a note come out of my mouth. I believed wholeheartedly that when this bird sang, the notes, out of key, were of no value. I believed they were like the sound of fingernails scratching on a chalkboard.
It wasn’t until I was 30 years old that I began to sing aloud – and that was at church. Unless I was in church singing and worshipping along with the congregation, no one ever heard me sing – until I met my husband, Manchild. But mind you, I didn’t meet him until I was 36 years old. So I didn’t sing so that others could hear for over 20 years.
Twenty years. That’s a long time to be unsung.
Yet, it was love that released this bird. God’s unmatchable love.
Sounds nebulous? Cliche-ish?
Yes on both accounts – if you don’t know that God works through people to get his purposes accomplished. And God’s love for me has been manifested through my husband.
I met my husband seven years ago. I tried to shew him away that evening I met him at Border’s Books, but he wasn’t having it. And since then, God has manifested his love through this man in so many ways.
My husband continues to demonstrate a commitment I had never experienced time and time again. At the moment, we are preparing our house to be appraised for a refi (one of the reasons why I haven’t been posting this past week – and thank you, Camille, for checking up on me!). We got started on it a little late, but needless to say, no matter what needs to happen, my husband has bitten then bullet and has done what is necessary to straighten out walls, repair nicks, scrub carpets to remove stains, paint our daughter’s room, pull weeds, redo decks, paint doors and shutters, whatever. It doesn’t matter. While I’m at school, for the amount of time and finances with which we’ve had to work, he’s working at home ensuring our house will put on its best face. And in the process, I’m learning a lot about how to repair and upgrade our home.
My husband has shown me time and time and over and over again that he is a man of integrity, commitment, and loyalty to his wife and daughter. He will sacrifice the shirt off his back to make sure we have what we need. I’ve never experienced that kind of loyalty, and over the years, it’s been difficult to get used to. But more and more, as the years pass by, I see more and more of God’s love in this man. And because of that, I can honestly say I have much to sing about.
God knew what I needed 7 years ago. He sent me a wonderful man who shows me everyday that God loves me, cares for me, and wants the best for me.
God feels the same way about you too. If you’re feeling caged, open up and allow Him to put a song in your heart. He knows just what you need.
As my husband and I were recently editing his soon to be released book, I asked him a question regarding some of the dialogue between the mother and father of the main character in the narrative, where the father “politely interrupts her” during a discussion with their young son. As I thought about the fact that the father “interrupts” the mother, I asked my husband, “Why does the husband have to ‘politely interrupt’ his wife? Why couldn’t he have waited until she finished what she was saying?”
My husband, the insightful man that he is, replied,
It’s that time again…the five posts I discovered this week that I enjoyed and added value to my life. Click and enjoy!
Favorite #1 — The Law of Attraction is big these days, and I can definitely subscribe to some of the tenets. Nevertheless, I can’t help but to know that the proverb that the principle most subscribes to is “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 3:27). I wrote a post on having balance with regard to the Law of Attraction, but Paula Neal Mooney really captures it on her recent post, “The Secret DVD: God On Steroids.” Take a look.
Favorite #3 — Last night, I was rushing to get my daughter to bed so that I wouldn’t miss any of “Grey’s Anatomy.” I felt guilty afterward because I didn’t take as much time to read to her as I think I probably should have. Fortunately, I remembered this post at Silicon Valley Momsentitled “I Confess.” For moms who feel guilty thinking they should’ve done “this or that” with their child, PLEASE READ THIS POST!!!
Favorite #4 — There are many personality tests out there. But did you know that crayons are the true indicators of personality type? What color crayon represents the person who is ambitious, determined, and ready for anything? Jane at My Many Colored Crayonspresents the opportunity to take this personality test at “Because this is my crayon box after all.” By the way, I’m a blue crayon!
Favorite #5 — My husband believes ”a woman is a man’s most valuable resource.” Of course, you all should know I appreciate that conviction quite a bit. On his blog, When Least Expected™, his post, “The Power Of A Wise Woman’s Words,” features a wonderful poem by Ms. Sojourner Truth delivered during the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio in December 1851 entitled “And Ain’t I A Woman.” Yes, I’m partial, but I also think it’s a great post.
Thus ends this week’s edition of Five Favorites For Friday…
Let me know what you think!!! And by all means, post lots of comments where those posts are featured!!!
I confess that I don’t always understand my husband very well, even after almost six years of marriage. It has been difficult at times, but his graciousness, warmth, love, compassion, strength, determination, and passion cannot be matched, at least in my book. I read a poem today by Nikki Giovanni in her new book, Acolytes: Poems, entitled “Brave Man Dancing” that describes sort of what I’m struggling with right now. Here it is:
Brave Man Dancing
(for Richard Fewell)
When brave men dance
When courageous men bask in that midnight sun
Who understands their pain
When men of hope and men of dreams write poems
Who listens to the beat
Of a brave man dancing
My husband is brave, courageous, full of hope and spectacular dreams. He, himself, writes wonderful poetry (you can see his poetry at his blog here) which articulates a vision that expands far and wide. My brave man dancing, who helps me understand, who communicates his pain, who’s teaching me to listen specifically to him.
My husband used to call me “My Dream Come True.” After almost six years of marriage, he now has another name for me…
My husband thinks that I am 99.9% better than all the other women out there in the world! This is incredible to me, because while we have had some good times, it’s been very difficult alot of the time. He even wrote about it on his blog, “When Least Expected™. (Of course, I’ve got to give my husband some link love, you know.) Before you say, “She sure is self-aggrandizing and self-absorbed,” I have to tell you a couple of things that precipitated me writing about this.
First, I read a post at “Crunchy Carpets” (I love that name and what it represents!) today entitled “What’s going on with men and women these days?” Read the entire entry, but for our purposes I want you to focus on the first half of her post and the indented quotation spoken by a woman (not Crunchy Carpets!) against her husband (please go there if you haven’t yet). To summarize, she works all day while her husband stays home with the baby, and when she comes home, the house is a mess. The quote concludes by her ranting,
“He was home all day—couldn’t he at least run a freaking load of laundry?”
Crunchy Carpets responds by saying:
“…this a very sad example of what a relationship is supposed to be about. The narcissism and selfishness appall me.”
Her comment gave me pause. I had to stop and think about what she was saying. That leads to the second thing that precipated this post.
I am a teacher. My husband is a writer (which is one reason why he started his blog – to work some things out in the process of him publishing his book soon), speaker, poet, photographer, and general and all-around fix-it man. After we had our daughter, when my summer vacation was over, my husband stayed at home with her for three months while I went to work. And while I came home sometimes to a cluttered home, it didn’t matter; he was taking great care of our little girl.
However (and this is the second thing that precipitated this post), I have had many lapses, train wrecks, and brain farts. My husband works from home. On my way to school, I drop off our daughter at the daycare (which is on the campus where I work). While I don’t get on him about the house, I will complain about other stuff, mainly the car (he knows everything about a VW Passat GLX VR6!) or anything else that needs fixing. Brakes, tune-up, oil change, water pump (now that’s particularly difficult to do by yourself on a Passat!) – we have needed it all done. But my husband is one man (and at the moment, our budget is tight, so we do what we can). He’s getting some things off the ground with regard to his business. And I need to trust him that he’s letting God lead him and let him do his thing, even when it’s hard. Even when our lives don’t seem to be the way I think they should be (based upon our ages, education, children, etc.). Even when we are looking at each other sideways.
So while we have a long way to go, my husband and I are learning how to be together, in spite of the difficulty. And I was reminded today by Crunchy Carpets of the incredible, priceless value my husband brings to our relationship. Thank you, Crunchy Carpets!
In spite of what is going on around you, in spite of your circumstances (other than abuse), what value does your husband brings to your relationship (really think about this)? What can we do to keep that impression at the forefront of our minds and hearts? Should we be asking other questions? Or am I way off?
On January 9, 2007, an article appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution entitled “Chaos Rules” with a photo of Albert Einstein standing around his very cluttered desk, appearing to be looking for something, with the following quote within the photo:
“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind,
of what, then, is an empty desk?”
For this article, Jim Auchmutey of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution interviewed Eric Freedman, one of the authors of the book, A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder–How Crammed Closets, Cluttered Offices, and On-the-Fly Planning Make the World a Better Place. Freedman states,
“…we’d all be better off worrying less about neatness and order.”
When asked about the state of Einstein’s desk, Freedman says,
“Einstein had a fantastically messy desk. I spend a lot of time walking through the halls of academia, and I can tell you there’s a strong correlation between how spectacular someone’s mess is and how successful they are as a professor.”
Finally, there is a sidebar at the end of the article (it’s difficult to determine whether Freedman or Auchmutey, the AJC writer, penned this sidebar) which reads, ”What messy can do for you” featuring four famous men. For example, with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s photo comes the caption, “The California governor hates making appointments and has pretty much winged his whole career.” But the caption of one of the other men he features (again, including photo) states:
“…if it’s neat you want…history’s ultimate neat freak: Adolf Hitler.”
What a way to end a supposedly informative, possibly persuasive article…
I’ve not ever been the neatest person in the world. In fact, I was pretty much a slob growing up. It took me getting married to get my act together. When my desk at school is a mess, I can get nothing done. When my desk is cluttered, I feel cluttered. I am unproductive. I spend more than the nine minutes Freedman says is the average time looking for things on my desk. I feel like crap when my house is messy. I can’t stand to go to the kitchen and see very many dirty dishes in my sink – I get irritated at myself if I don’t wash the dishes and I come into the kitchen only to see the dishes saying, “Wash me, wash me!” Lots of clutter, in my mind, causes chaos (literally).
“I have addressed this book in my blog, and hope Mr. Freedman can accept that there is indeed a fraction of the population who loves, and indeed thrives in extreme chaos. However, most people who live in chaos DO desire to improve their life results and happiness, which is why the professional organizing industry was born. We organizers are in business to help people change their lives by changing their internal and external environments, not by judging or shaming.”
That list is all too familiar to me. Before I got married, I ate out everyday because I didn’t wash my dishes too often. (When I was working corporate, my favorite restaurant was Houston’s. They had this fantastic Grilled Chicken Salad with mandarin oranges and this wonderful peanut dressing. Is that still on the menu?). I’d frequently forget where something was and buy a replacement, only to find it later on. Looking for bills, important papers, and books took time. And when I decided I was going to do a good cleaning, it took half the day! Productivity down the drain! I could’ve been working out or something!
For me, a little neatness makes for more peace in my soul. Instead of thinking that having an empty desk means one’s mind is empty (as Einstein’s quote above “explicitly implies,” I prefer what Monica Ricci recently posted on her blog:
“One of the side benefits to being organized is that you find you have the mental space to wonder about stuff.”
How do you process clutter? Does it help you think? Does it hinder you? Do you find yourself to be more productive — or less?
“Yes, being organized saves more time than having to hunt for one’s keys for 10 minutes every single day. Surely a reasonably clean home contributes to a feeling of well-being and relaxation. Yet freaking out over every little Cheerio on the carpet is too much. Especially if, with every crumb that’s picked up, three more get added to the pile.”