The worst kind of clutter
Mental clutter is painful. It stops you dead in your tracks by trying to sabotage your efforts to live your best life. It’s a liar that can convince you of untrue stories about yourself.
It takes root by planting small seeds of self-doubt that can quickly grow into overwhelming emotions like fear, anxiety, guilt, and worry to name a few.
It can have you second-guessing your self-worth:
- Who are you to try to live your best life?
- Why do you think you can have this when most people don’t have it?
- They don’t really love you, they’re using you.
- You’re never going to achieve that goal.
- What if you do achieve this goal and then something terrible happens as a result?
Honestly, I’m getting a bit emotional as I write this because I can totally relate to some of those statements. One negative thought can (and usually will) trigger another negative thought. This is why mental clutter is a slippery slope of self-sabotage that can get out of control if you don’t deal with it.
How mental clutter almost got me
A few months ago, mental clutter tried to take hold of one of my dreams and crush it. I was 14 weeks into an 18-week marathon training schedule when I fell and fractured my ankle. I was not going to accomplish a big goal I had worked so hard to achieve. All that painful training (blood, sweat and tears included) for nothing more than my first ever broken bone. That’s not the prize I was hoping for.
Needless to say, I was devastated. I had a couple moments of boohooing and self-pity. The mental clutter saw its opportunity and slithered in to take advantage of the situation. It engulfed me like a dark, poisonous cloud that settled over me for a few weeks.
‘Marathon’ was just another item to add to the growing list of things I almost did. I was almost good enough. I almost finished. The mental clutter was telling me I’m the kind of person who only almost crosses the finish line. Close but no cigar…
Ignoring it won’t make it go away
Facing your mental clutter is the quickest way to get rid of it. Sometimes, it’s just your inner-voice wanting to be heard. The more you ignore the emotions, the more volatile they become. Allowing the emotions to pass through you, as opposed to having them get stuck inside you will hush the mental clutter.
In my situation, I surrendered to the sadness. Then, my sadness turned into anger and the anger turned into determination.
I owned ALMOST. I changed the narrative in my head and used the word almost to empower myself:
- I have almost achieved my goal of running a marathon. If I can run 18 miles, I can run 26. I’m so close! I’m going to cross that finish line, on my terms.
- I have almost finished the rough draft of my first book. I’m writing every day and I’m almost done!
- I’m almost 50 years old and I’m still dreaming big dreams and taking inspired action to make them happen.
F-you mental clutter!
Take charge of your mental clutter
There are several ways you can actively deal with debilitating mental clutter:
- Positive affirmations
- Diet & exercise
- Talking to friends and/or a coach
- Remove the physical clutter from your life.
Just remember that mental clutter isn’t reality, and it can be taken care of. Ignoring the source of your mental clutter won’t solve the problem. Dig in, do the work and let the emotions pass through you….I promise they will pass.