Case A: imagine working in an office where you have a function that is completely dependent on jobs you are given and have to finish within a timeframe that is imposed upon you from further up the hierarchy. You don’t get all that much encouragement from your boss and collaborators and the job has stopped being interesting a long time ago. Of course you’ll feel undervalued and that will reflect on your sense of self, especially if you define yourself mainly through your professional persona.
Case B: now imagine working in an office where you still get given jobs to get done, but you not only have a little more autonomy over the timing, but you also get regular feedback about the quality of your work. Again, you have done this for a while and it feels pretty repetitive, but that sense of positive achievement will make you feel more valued. And that will lead to a more positive feedback loop where you are better able to see your achievements for what they are.
While those two cases are not exactly very different, Case A is unhelpful when it comes to maintaining a positive image of yourself, whereas in Case B, you are able to value yourself better, without having to counteract what feels like bad feedback (because no feedback and repetitiveness feels that way) before even considering your own sentiment about your achievements.
Ultimately, though, your own perception is the main reason why you feel a particular way about yourself: outer influences only do one thing: they assist or deter you in whatever path you are on to find out about yourself. The smallest thing can make you doubt yourself, but it can also push you forward on a positive path. The real issue is this: if you base your sense of self-worth on your inner workings and THEN use external responses as a corrective you will be much better off than starting with a non-existent feedback (which by definition is perceived as negative since nobody feels it necessary to comment at all) and ending up in a downward spiral before you even had a chance to add your own input at all.
Of course, there is a danger of grossly over- or underestimating yourself at first, but keeping an open mind for interactions with others you should be able to keep away from the obvious pitfalls of that approach. All depends on your initial disposition. If you are shy about accepting compliments because you cannot see much worth in whatever it is you do, you’ll need to overcome that and look at yourself in a way that evaluates yourself objectively. The same is true for those who believe they are the bee’s knees and couldn’t possibly do anything less than perfect: of course there has to be room for self-criticism in order to allow for negative comments to moderate your view of yourself.
What does this have to do with decluttering and making your home a proper home? Well, if you think about yourself and what you can do in a more positive way, you can achieve a lot more in a manner that is ultimately moving your efforts in the right direction. If whatever you do in a decluttering session feels like something bad and sub-par, or you believe that you are not performing well, the results will likely be mediocre. However, if you know what you want to achieve and go in with the belief that you can do it, chances are that your results will reflect that belief.
In my professional experience, those who believe they ‘can do it’ often end up being able to get a lot of stuff done in a short period of time, while those who doubt themselves are more likely to procrastinate, second-guess decisions they took a long time to make and retreat from situations where a decision has the potential to bring about that giant leap.
Ask yourself: do you want to make changes or not? If you want to move forward, you have to start with yourself and start believing that you can do it.
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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.