Confronting The Emotional Side of Simplicity

Guest blog by Patty Kreamer

From a very young age, many children are taught that they should not waste, that they should use and keep everything. This Depression-era mentality really instills a sense of guilt and clutter amasses because we keep, keep, keep everything! It's like having audiotapes playing constantly in your head, saying "YOU MUST NOT BE WASTEFUL!" every time you try to release something from your life. Letting go doesn't seem like an acceptable option. But it can be. 

Rather than playing the same tapes over and over again that say you can't or shouldn't throw anything away, why not create a new dialog? As you profess to yourself that you can't waste anything, ask yourself which is more valuable: 

The things that you have accumulated and trip over daily, causing stress beyond your level of tolerance…


The space and peace of mind that you would reclaim should you eliminate these same items? 

If you typically process thoughts from an emotional standpoint (feelings), you may find the above question hard to answer. However, using logic would make the second choice above a no-brainer. Emotion might bring guilt, fear, stress and several other feelings into play. Thinking logically and thinking emotionally are two very different approaches. 

QUESTION: How do I eliminate my Guilt, Stress & Fear?
ANSWER: Give yourself permission.
The person that can make you feel most guilty is YOU!  Letting go is tough, but not if you permit yourself to do so. Think of it as getting back to square one by letting go of the things that you have held onto for dear life out of duty or guilt for so long. Your reward is a healthier, happier, and less stressful life; sound like good enough incentive? Once you reach square one, then from that point forward, you must be discriminating about what you allow into your life. 

QUESTION: How do you give yourself permission to go against what you have been taught your whole life? 
ANSWER: Learn how you think differently. 
Typically, when you make a decision, you base it on one of two things: emotion or logic. Naturally, if you are an emotional or sentimental person, you probably tend to keep items for reasons that seem logical to you. But if you deeply examine those reasons, you can break them down to see that your heart plays a bigger part than your head. 
Looking at your stuff, it's easier to feel what it means to you than it is to think about what it is doing to you.

The key words here are feel and think. Understand that you don't have to remove all feeling from your life. You just need to examine where your thoughts stem from so that you can arm yourself with a more practical point of view. Changing the soundtrack in your head is not an overnight process. You must make mental notes of how you currently think and give yourself the opportunity to develop alternative ways of framing the situation. This will help you clear the emotional and mental clutter!