Since we’re publishing this post just before Valentine’s Day, we couldn’t resist talking about love. This won’t be “What to Organize for Your Sweetheart” or even “What if Organizing Could Improve Your Marriage.” Instead, we're going to talk about the importance of self-love and self-compassion in any successful organizing project. So, let's dive right in!
How to Get Mentally Prepared for Organizing
Chances are, there have been many days when you planned to start decluttering or reorganizing an area of your home…then it never happened. The fact is, when things get out of control, it’s hard to face them and we procrastinate as a result. But that’s nothing a little self-love can’t remedy.
Try these steps:
Let Go of the Guilt and Shame We often find that clients berate themselves during the organizing process, expressing a lot of guilt and shame about the condition of their homes. Can you relate? If so, we’d like to encourage you to let all that negative energy go. Regardless of how you got to this point, you're here now, and you are doing something about it. It’s all good!
Show Up for Yourself When it comes to long-term relationships, they take work. Flowers, chocolate, and a fancy dinner on Valentine’s Day don’t make up for whatever was missing the other 364 days of the year, right? You have to show up for that person every day, regularly extending empathy, forgiveness, and kindness. So, remember that when you are working on your relationship with yourself. Do something every day that gets you closer to your organizing goals, no matter how small. Not everyone’s training for a gold medal. Not everyone wants to go hard or go home. Not everyone’s trying to set a personal best. So, whatever you’re starting, run your own race. Because doing something…is everything! Peloton Commercial, “Something is Everything”
Be the Right Kind of Coach Nothing gets in the way of progress more than self-doubt and self-criticism. When you’re doing organizing work, you need a positive voice encouraging you along the way. Think of yourself as your own head coach. If you’re not kind to yourself, it will be very difficult to get the job done. Instead, tell yourself, “You’ve got this!” Here's a real-world scenario to help make the point. I was at an elementary boys' basketball game and observed the coaches. One team had a coach who was harsh, unkind, demeaning, and sarcastic. His body language and tone said, "I don't want to be here. I can't believe they made that mistake again! They'll never learn!" And the boys on the team looked discouraged, beaten down, and disappointed. The coaches on the other team, however, were more supportive. They gave the guys pats on the back and communicated constructively about mistakes or missteps. Their approach to coaching was to teach, not criticize. I bet you can guess who won!
Focus on the Present The organizing process deals with the past, present, and future all at once. It’s important to keep your primary focus on the present, so the “long-gone past” and the “impossible-to-predict future” don’t derail your efforts. Past: You can't hold on to the decisions of the past. Future: You can't know what is coming in the future, although you can look forward with hope. Present: You can only be in the present and make the best decision possible. And, remember, no one makes their best decisions when they are being criticized and blamed.
Soak Up the Residual Love It’s hard to be your best self when you are constantly at battle with your environment. So, restoring order is a fantastic way to show love to yourself. But did you know that getting organized also racks up mental health dividends? Check out all the residual love your efforts could produce!
Frustration >> Satisfaction
Frustration with the mess will be replaced by the satisfaction of checking off organizing tasks. You’ll want to take a moment (or two or three) to admire your work!
Stress >> Relief and Relaxation
Stress about all the things you can never seem to get around to starts to dissipate as each mess (no matter how small) is finally tackled. That future to-do list will slowly stop taunting you, and you can breathe easier.
Anxiety >> Calmness
The anxiety produced when frantically running from room to room looking for what you need, will go away when you can easily put your hands on what you need. You’ll be able to do what you need to do without breaking a sweat!
Embarrassment >> Pride Opening up your home to visitors will be a pleasure when you are no longer worried about how it looks, leaving you to focus on your guests instead. Not only will you feel proud of yourself, but you’ll feel proud of the home you’ve created. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect.
If you are struggling with self-compassion and saying things to yourself that you would never say to a loved one, dear friend, or even a casual acquaintance, take a moment before you start your organizing work and try this affirmation exercise. It only takes a few minutes. You can also Listen to a Recording of the Affirmations.
Close your eyes.
Take a deep breath.
Say to yourself or out loud,
"I am here, present, now.
I am thankful for the abundance in my life.
As I breathe, I am grateful for the breath in my lungs.
The past and the decisions that brought me to this moment are done, gone, behind me.
I forgive myself for any decisions I made that caused pain or stress in my life.
I release any guilt or shame around those decisions because I know that all mistakes or regrets are an opportunity for me to learn and grow.
The future is a beautiful mystery and is not something I can control or predict with certainty.
The mystery lying ahead of me is not for me to know nor is every need I will have.
I release any anxiety toward my future needs because I know I have the capacity, cleverness, and community to navigate any situation that arrives.
I am now liberated from my past decisions and my future anxieties.
I will enter my organizing work as my best self with compassion, love, and patience for myself and hope for my future.
I know I am not perfect, and I will make some good decisions and some decisions that will allow me the opportunity to learn.
With this mindset, I begin my work."
Take another deep breath, open your eyes, and begin your work.
Need an Assistant Coach?
We believe in you and your ability to organize and maintain your home. But it can also be helpful to have an assistant coach to back you up. With our Virtual Organizing service, we can coach you through your organizing project while you do the hands-on work. Let us know how we can best support you!