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Yesterday, I did a gigantic cleanse of my closets. And when I say gigantic I mean, ten trash bags worth of clothes. Gone are the clothes that no longer fit me, that are no longer in style, that are from previous lifetimes ago, and that I know I will never wear. I have cleaned my closets before. But yesterday I faced my closet of shame (duh…duh…duh). My closet of shame is in my home office. It is my second closet. The closet that I rarely open that holds all the clothes I just haven’t been able to purge. Inspired by the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, my nearest and dearest and I have been trying to pair down our stuff. And as my bedroom closet overflowed onto the floor and I absolutely refused to put one more box in the basement I decided it was time to purge the closet of shame. I called it the closet of shame because it held some past identities and beliefs such as:
- Once you get to the perfect weight, you will be happy.
- Once you find the perfect man you will be content.
- Once you find the perfect high paying job, you will be successful.
- Dressing up no matter how uncomfortable is always the best way
- I might feel lost, but I will never look lost because of my clothes.
To say the least, it was a day of mixed emotions. I wasn’t surprised how freed I felt to let those clothes go, to face the closet of shame and purge all the old clothes and their inevitable old messages. But I was surprised how sad I felt. Sad to the point of tears. It was a letting go of past lives, of old messages, of memories and people with whom I have lost contact. But mostly it was a letting go of old beliefs and standards that no longer rang true. Thus the mixed emotions, on one hand it felt very freeing and on the other it felt like a piece of me was leaving. As I sat in the middle of my bedroom surrounded by clothes, I gave myself lots of compassion. I didn’t quite understand WHY I was so upset, but rather than ridiculing myself for struggling I loved myself even more. I gave myself a lot of room just to be in the messiness of the closet and all that it brought up. My one goal for myself is to be as authentic as possible because I believe that is a key to Living Happier. Shedding those clothes and facing my closet of shame was something I didn’t even know I needed to do. And it showed me the complexity of showing up for your life and being authentic. Old beliefs get stuck and hang around taking up mental space and thereby keeping us stuck. As I removed the clothes from the closet, it shook loose those old thoughts and beliefs. To be clear, this post isn’t about donating clothes or cleaning out closets. It is about slowing down and facing yourself: It is about asking yourself:
What are some old beliefs that are no longer serving me? What are some old standards I hold myself too that aren’t valid anymore? How can I let those old beliefs and stories go?
The process of physically letting go of emotional stuff is so healing. Maybe it isn’t cleaning out a closet maybe it is writing a letter to your old stories and burning that letter or maybe it is sharing those stories with a friend. Regardless of HOW you let it go, remember ALWAYS to give yourself lots of compassion.
I would love to hear from you…Can you relate? Do you have past beliefs/standards/values that are keeping you stuck? Do you have a favorite cleansing ritual? Write a comment below, send me an email or chime in over on my Facebook page.