A LIFE MINIMIZED: UNSEEN CLUTTER

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Clutter is not just physical things that constantly bog us down in our daily lives. It also comes from different sources that hinder us from having a clearer view of what’s important. Today, I’d like to talk about the clutter that we don’t see but have become blinders that we’re not aware of.

Sometimes, you have to take a look around at the people you surround yourself and figure out the role they play in your life. Just to be clear, people are not things. You can’t just get rid of them just because they disagree with your lifestyle, religion and politics. Personally, I actually find it fruitful when I engage someone in a debate about what they’re passionate about.  I don’t necessarily discount their thoughts right away but I try to find what I could take away from our discussion.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the people whose first instinct is to put other people down. I know a few. But just because I figured out who they were, does not necessarily mean I’ll ask them to make an exit out of my life. When I decided to take stock of who I am, I figured out that I let so many things and so many people control the person that I was supposed to be. And when I realize that only I have the power to steer this ship, I’ve come to realize that I can control how I react to the negative thoughts that are constantly bombarding me on a daily basis. In the same token, I can control how another person’s words affect me. I am allowed to feel hurt, but if I choose to wallow, then I’m giving it the power to turn into a festering wound.

When we’ve been hurt by someone close to us, our first recourse is to tell anyone with an empathic ear in the hopes that they’ll side with us. But the problem with that is we create a vacuum of hurt by involving people that had nothing to do with the problem to begin with. It doesn’t solve anything but only adding fuel to the fire. So the next time you hear a gossip or a negative remark about you, talk to that person directly. Don’t start a cloud of drama that will only worsen as more indirect people get involved.

It’s an odd thing to have all these time in my hands. But it sure is nice to be listening to myself and my thoughts for once. I’m not  thinking about deadlines and things I have to do for somebody else. The break sure is nice, but once in a while, I let the worry creep in.

  • Actually, I recently broke off a friendship because she was just getting too much for me. She get putting me down, kept making fun of my life, gloating every second she could, and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I stopped talking to her after I talked back to her, and she got offended. Then she started insulting me behind my back to my other best friend, who also dropped her as well. So now, I’m just glad I don’t have to deal with her. And it’s just sad to think, because we were childhood friends, but I think it was such a good decision for me.

    So yes, I do agree that you shouldn’t get rid of your friends that just have different opinions of you (I have a ton that don’t think like I do), but I do think we should get away from those toxic relationships. I feel so much better without the people that made me feel like shit, and I don’t regret getting them out of my life!

    Sorry for the slightly negative comment! I think it is definitely better to go directly to the negative source, and deal with it.

  • “You can’t just get rid of them just because they disagree with your lifestyle, religion and politics.”

    Woops! lol. No, but I totally agree with you. And I could go on about this, but I don’t want to be negative. 😀 I tell my son all the time, the HE is in control with his reactions. No matter what someone says or does, he hold the power by controlling himself.

    • Oh I have a ton of those on Facebook. Haha! But you must resist, Christy. <3 I just realized that after I've gotten a couple of rejections. I think wallowing in misery is so easy to do and finding the positive about your life experience is not always a walk in the part, but I must. Otherwise, I'll be forever a miserable hag. Lol.

  • Love the discussion Joy! I went through this a few years back, when I realised I was getting pulled into people’s constant negativity and when I had a problem, it was disregarded for the sake of their own. Surrounding myself with these sort of people put me in a negative mood and I’m glad to say that now I’m rid of them. You don’t have to put yourself through that, remember that.

    • And it’s so easy to get dragged into that stream of thinking. Negativity is contagious, but so is positivity. It’s just a matter of choice.

  • It is so easy to be drawn into the negativity around us, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that drama isn’t necessary in life and it’s best to just talk things out.

    I’m the type of person that believes other people are in our lives for a limited period of time (except for those few special ones who are friends for life, and our immediate family for the most part) and we should make the best of that 🙂

    • Yes. My life is plenty dramatic as it is. And it starts with little things. If I hear someone talking bad about another person, I have to refuse to give in to the drama no matter how entertaining it might be sometimes.

  • It’s so hard to pull yourself out of that mindset isn’t it. I used to be someone who worried needlessly about the things that were beyond my control and realised in my late 20s that I can control how others effect me too. Even family. Sadly we can never rid ourselves of negativity, but you’ve gone a long way to minimising it Joy. I love seeing the changes you’re making not only on a personal level but also to your physical world, it’s inspiring <3

    • It’s a grind, but I know the small steps I’m taking is a part of a larger picture that I will not see until I’m there. I think minimalism begins inside first. It’s changing old ways and adapting a fresher, clearer view of what’s important.

  • All the hugs Joy. <3 This post is amazing. And I agree a whole lot. Thank you for sharing sweet girl 🙂 I'm pretty good at starting drama here at home.. I need to be better at not doing so. Sigh. But it's hard too.

  • You’re so right. It’s easy to fall into that vat of negativity and dwell there. It’s harder to talk to the people directly, but it ultimately makes things so much better!

    • It takes courage, for sure. But like every other lifestyle changes we attempt to make, it doesn’t happen so easily. Sometimes, we have to confront a difficult task to pave the way for something new and, ultimately, better.

  • ChristinaBookAddict

    Fantastic post! I completely agree. Your de-cluttering pics on instagram have me wanting to declutter, which is hard to do with a crazy toddler. I have been throwing out more and more “old stuff” though. I agree with your sentiments about dealing directly with a person who gossiped about you instead of creating all this drama. Drama is exhausting. I try to avoid it at all costs!

    • Oh I know what that’s like. I also went through my son’s room who’s a big collector of dinosaurs. All told, I think I bagged a couple of toys for donations. Right now, he doesn’t even notice that his toy box is suspiciously light. Lol.

  • So well said! I’m a firm believer in surrounding myself with people I genuinely like and respect, even if their opinions differ from mine. It saves me so much anxiety.

    • I know it’s tough to do sometimes, especially if you’ve been around them for so very long that you’ve gotten used to the negativity. I think it’s a matter of learning to tune them out.

  • Jazmen

    I am a firm believer in getting rid of people clutter. It’s just something that needs to be done sometimes.

    • I have a few in my life as well. But i’m too nice to tell them to take a hike.

  • kindlemom1

    Beautifully said! I do try to let things slide off of me but it isn’t always easy and I try to challenge myself now with those negative people and try to bring a little cheer and positive into their lives because I figure they need it right? Kill them with kindness LOL! Okay not really but I have gotten better as I’ve gotten older and realized that we are all going through our own things and not to let someone else’s bad day, make me have one as well.

    • You are honestly the most positive person i know in the blogosphere, Ali. <3

  • I can definitely relate to some of this. I would be the first person to want to talk out a hurt to someone else. Maybe I should think next time before I speak. Great Post!

    • I am the most impulsive person that act first before thinking. So that’s another behaviour I want to move away from. Words spoken in anger tend to be the most hurtful.

  • Wow. The funniest thing is how much this post really seems targeted for me at this current moment. I had a bit of a fight with a friend today about some stuff that was said about me when I’m not around and well… I guess it’s more so how I choose to handle the situation rather than anything else. Maybe I shouldn’t blow it so out of proportion and deflate a little bit on that side of things…

    • That’s rough, Olivia. I sure hope it’s all been resolved after all this time. It’s amazing how much it hurts more if the drama is coming from those we consider as friends. <3

      • Everything has been worked out this weekend and I am glad for it 🙂

  • I love this post! <3 Lately my family and I have really been reading about how our thoughts affect us and how negative thoughts are so toxic, so I've also been trying to get into a more positive mindset and react better to the things life throws at me. It's hard, but I'm getting there. 🙂

    • It’s not easy. And I’m the type of person who gets annoyed with super perky people, but I realize that they’re braver than I could ever be. Life is not easy, but they’re at least trying, you know?

  • When I was in high school — really not that long ago, hah — I would most definitely lash out at people, judging them harshly right off the bat. (Oh, she’s beautiful, but she’s really ugly inside… this girl’s funny, but she’s a total asshole…) What I realized later, though, is that it was my own insecurities making me drag people down to raise myself up. I’m lucky that I stopped doing that relatively young. But anyway, that’s what came to mind when you mentioned people who are hard on others. A lot of the times, I can relate to those people in a weird way, because I have a good idea of what their mindset might be like.

    Thanks for the thoughtful post! It’s was like a daily devotional!

    • Guilty. I did that too. When I’m feeling threatened by somebody else’s successes. Isn’t it funny how clearly we see ourselves when we actually take a good hard look?

  • Jenny @ Supernatural Snark

    Since I work from home, I’m a little more isolated and have just a handful of people I interact with IRL on a daily basis, but those people are my nearest and dearest and are therefore supportive and positive influences in my life. Most of my drama seems to come from online, but drama with the blogging world is fairly easy to cut out when I need a break. Work is a little bit harder, and since I work in a client service-based field, sometimes the negativity from a hard-to-please client can be overwhelming. I do my best to talk to them about it though, and most of the time we can work through it:)

    Loved this post Joy

    • Sometimes, being isolated is a blessing. It removes you from all the unnecessary drama of real life. You’re right. I don’t partake in online drama as well, but it doesn’t mean I don’t let it affect me. 🙂

  • This is a much needed lesson we could all use! We don’t realize when we gossip with other people that she/he did this and that that we hurt other people and are doing the same exact thing we love to complain about! Taking this blog post to heart, Joy 🙂

    • Exactly. Once we realize that the very thing we dislike about a person is the exact thing we’re doing to them, it so much easier to look at ourselves in the mirror.

  • Great point that it doesn’t have to be physical clutter

  • I have been trying to incorporate this into my own life, not allowing others’ negativity to affect who I am and not allowing my own negativity to affect friends, but it’s not an easy task. At the same time, talking about all the issues/negativity in your life is also very therapeutic and helps up to an extent. I guess we need to find a balance and choose wisely how and what to share.

    • I know you had a recent run-in, Nick. I do hope you’ve gotten that lovin’ feeling back. Just know your real worth and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. <3

  • Great post! I’m a people pleaser and tend to take it really personal when I hear negative comments about me. I try my best to not let negative people bother me, but some days it’s tough to do. I have one best friend who I confide all of my thoughts and emotions to, she’s my outlet and sounding board, and I’m the same for her, no matter what the issue. But I agree that it’s important to confront the person who hurt you – go directly to the problem to fix it. I’ve learned from experience that just letting things go sometimes doesn’t work and you have to go to that person and hash things out.

    • I’m the same, Brandie. I remember when my boss pulled me aside to tell me that I take everything so seriously and so personally. He told me once that taking personal responsibility for my job is a good thing, but not when I take it to extremes.

      My family hasn’t been the most loving, so when one member is mad at another, they don’t go and talk to that person. It creates this divide between two sides and it’s so exhausting and unnecessary. <3 Thanks for sharing your thoughts, B.

  • I wish I could follow this but I work where I do, I do let the negativity catch me there :/

    • Oh I know. It’s tough. I’ve been there. Right now, I’m alone. So we’ll see when I’m back on the work force.

  • shootingstarsmag

    Great post! I do think it’s a good idea to be aware of your emotions and thoughts and to try to not let people affect you too much with their negativity. At the same time, getting rid of certain people CAN be a good thing. Sometimes they just aren’t meant to be in your life and aren’t good to be around – especially if you deal with depression or the like; certain people bring that out more than others.

    -lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com

    • I’m working my way to that. I feel guilty. But embracing the minimalist lifestyle means getting rid of the things that holds no value to us. I feel like I don’t want to treat people like that, but I’m ignoring the simple concept of minimalism if I let sentimentality get in the way of decluttering.