Last Monday’s Weekly Clutter Busting webinar was a wonderful experience for me. There was a really good group of 16 people attending. I could feel their openness to want to find a way to want to let go of the clutter in their lives. There’s something powerful about a group of people coming together to find a more peaceful way to live. You realize you are not alone. You can feel the support from others just like you. Here’s what one of the people had to say:
“WOW! That was incredible! I think you really helped us all. It was all I could do to keep from crying a couple of times. Holy cow. You are totally going to save me some money on therapy this year! lol Seriously, no joke. You are so good at this! You get right to the issues without being all clinical and stuffy about it. It’s amazing how deep a casual conversation can actually dig.” –Allison
The next Weekly Clutter Busting Webinar is March 12th from 8-9:30pm EST. You can register here.
One of the issues that we took a deep look at was shame. There is often a feeling of shame around our clutter. I’ve often had clients tell me, “I feel so ashamed to live like this.” “Am I your worst client?” “I can’t have anyone come over because I’m ashamed for them to see me like this.” I said that shame has been the go-to means to create change in our behavior for a long, long time. Our parents and teachers and society have often used guilt and humiliation as a way to get us to be different. It’s a cruel and abusive way to try and force change. It sometimes creates a temporary change in behavior, but it mostly tears down our well-being. Since we learn shaming at an early age, it becomes a habit, and we often use it as a means to try and change our own behavior. But as we know from experience, it rarely works, and leaves us feeling confused and lost.
Shame is clutter. It doesn’t serve us. It doesn’t make our life a better place to be. It doesn’t create positive lasting change. But even knowing that, it may be hard to let go of the shaming habit right away. What I find helps is to notice the shaming when it’s happening. In the midst of a chastising thought, we may suddenly have the realization that we’re in the midst of a shame moment. “Oh, wow, that’s intense. It sounds loud and violent. I feel like I’m getting assaulted by my thoughts. Where’s that coming from? It seems to have a life of its own. It feels like the shaming is attacking me. ” Seeing the shaming behavior without trying to stop it creates a distance between you and your thoughts. Our reactive nature lessens, and our curiosity begins to come into play. There may just be a small amount of space between you and those intensely criticizing thoughts, and it still may feel overwhelming. But the shaming loses a little of its power. There is some relief. We may lose that distance and get caught up again, but later, we spontaneously get that helpful insight again.
What begins to take shames place is kind encouragement. That kindness is actually the most effective means of change. There was research done by the military that proves the power of kind encouragement. We like this gentle inspiration because it considers us from a loving place. We don’t hit ourselves with shame, but love ourselves as we are. We care about ourselves enough to want to begin to remove the clutter from our lives so that we can feel better in our homes and our lives. Shame breaks us down, but kind encouragement lifts us up. That compassion gives us the energy of enthusiasm. When we feel loved, we start to feel like we can do anything. The more the shaming drops off, the more the self-compassionate assistance shows up and helps us through difficult moments.