Moving on is often not easy. You get stuck in the way things are, the way you are, the way you behave and think. And yet there is a sliver of comprehension that there must be a better way, you just have not found out how to get there yet. Often, this kind of thought is holding you back, because you focus on the perceived negative situation rather than finding out what is good in your life. Thinking about the negative in your life does one thing very well: it firmly bogs you down in a mindset that does not exactly make you any happier.
Take this example: rather than focusing on the fact that your house is full of stuff that you have neither used nor wanted for a long time, why not find out which of your things and beliefs are meaningful and then gradually eliminate the ones that you realise are not? I understand that this demands a drastic change in mindset, and that is hard to achieve, especially if you expect miracles to happen in a single day.
In order to move forward, you have to unstick your mind from the current situation and find some kind of anchor in the goal you want to achieve. Keeping the positive in mind and getting rid of whatever you experience as negative is one powerful way of doing this. The negative bits will be around for another while, of course, but there is something to be said for balancing out the negative with the positive. If you have a goal in mind and are starting to discover a path towards it, you are moving away from that place you were stuck in.
In order to move forward, you have to take small but meaningful actions, all the while keeping your goal in mind! I have already mentioned that finding the positives in your life is a good starting point as it will also highlight what you do NOT perceive as positive. In many cases you’ll end up being able to pinpoint certain negatives that you can deal with right away. It’s all a learning process AND an unlearning process: learning what is good and positive and embracing it, but also understanding what is a negative and letting it go.
Sometimes, letting go is hard. An item laden with emotional baggage will not be the first one you’ll be able to deal with, of course. On the other hand, if you find something that is clearly rubbish you can take a decision to dispose of it there and then. It may seem like a small step, but it’s going in the right direction.
How can you find your positives?
It is helpful to move away from your normal daily routine, because it will make you see things differently when you return to it. I often advise my clients to make use of an absence (a weekend, a holiday) and take a good look at their home first thing when they return. You’ll be amazed how much you can see when it looks new to you.
Much of what you see in your home at such a time will be based on a comparison with what you had during your time away. If you have stayed in a holiday flat on the seaside somewhere warm for two weeks, you’ll be amazed at just how little you really needed there. Yes, of course, you have missed this or that, but did it actually impact your enjoyment of being elsewhere? I’m pretty sure it didn’t.
You’ll see a lot of stuff that you will have missed – that is a sign the comfort level you have created within your home. But you’ll also see some things that feel out of place or that you can easily do without. I’m not suggesting that you tackle all of what seems wrong right away, but if you write down some things that are in the way of your ‘positive’, you can deal with them over the next couple of days.
Make use of all the help you can get to find the positive. Some people find mood boards helpful to identify what their goal is, where your path ultimately could lead. It’s good to have an image of what you are trying to find. It’s also helpful to tell your goals to someone and have them remind you of the benefits and help you see your progress as you go forward.
Practical things aside, the only really important thing is to have your positive goal in front of you at all times, identify and cherish what fits into that image and remove anything that doesn’t.
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My current mission: help my clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.