It’s feeling a lot like spring lately, and it got me thinking about spring cleaning. Many of us take time out during March and April to go through our homes and get rid of the things we aren’t using.
We donate clothes we haven’t worn in months (or years) to make room for new threads or to just create more space. We get rid of paintings, shoes, holiday decorations or old hobby items that we no longer have use for. Basically, we clean house.
The common theme during these spring cleaning activities is how much stuff we have. Many of it we’ve only used or worn a time or two, if ever. And we wonder how – when we constantly complain about not having enough space – how do we manage to find room for something new?
The idea of creating space is a theme I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Removing items to make room for better things is a commonly accepted way to usher in a new and improved quality of life. But does it really work? I posed a question on my Facebook page not long ago that I’m going to revisit here:
What do you need to let go of in your life to gain freedom?
Minimalists believe that having a lot of material things traps us, and that we need to live a simpler life in order to truly be happy and be free. I believe that this same idea can be used for the emotional things we carry with us each day. We hold onto the memories of bad experiences – failures, heartbreaks, etc. – and we succumb to the fear of reopening closed wounds.
As I’ve said before, our emotional state greatly affects the way we handle our finances. Going on a spending spree to temporarily erase negative feelings isn’t uncommon. But it could be causing you great strife in other areas of your life. Hanging on to the emotional baggage of our past is just as dangerous as hoarding old clothes and other items. Maybe your security blanked isn’t a garage full of old trinkets, but a mind full of bad memories.
Have you ever considered that your spending is rooted in emotional pain? I speak of this a lot, but maybe you haven’t acknowledged what exactly is causing you to spend excessively. Now is as good a time as any to examine the emotional scars you reckon with daily as a way to cope with your everyday struggles.
This week, I want you to focus on letting go of the emotional baggage you carry, one tote at a time. As you begin to walk away from your past struggles, embrace the feeling of freedom. Know that the more you let go of your past, the closer you get to the abundance in your financial future.
Life is a series of choices. We go through the days choosing what we want to do, what we think we should do, what we need to do and what we think will be the best option for right now and possibly in our future. But, when presented with a choice between a safe option and a scary one, do you choose based on what’s right for you or what keeps you in your comfort zone?
For many people, the deciding factor is fear. We want to pursue a graduate degree to switch or improve our careers, but we’re afraid. We want to take our first solo vacation, but we’re afraid to go it alone for a week in an unfamiliar place. We want to create a better financial future, but we’re afraid to change what we are doing for fear of failure.
How often do you find yourself afraid of the future? Afraid to take a risk because of what might happen? It’s pretty common for people to forgo the road less traveled for the safer bet of the one they’re already comfortably navigating. Yet, many find themselves unhappy within that comfort but too afraid to test the waters of doing something different
Being afraid of the future may mean you’re letting your past hold you back. Failures in years gone by and the shame, disappointment and guilt associated with them can leave us with negative feelings. Instead of learning and growing from the mistakes of our past, we let it stifle us. Taking risks terrifies us to the point of inaction, and we find ourselves in an unhappy, unfulfilled place.
Luckily, each day is another opportunity to change your life for the better. So today, make it a point to face your fear. Don’t allow the sandbags in your life to let you sink. Remember, there is nothing wrong with being afraid as long as you don’t allow fear to stop you from pursuing your passions.
We all have fears. The difference is how each of us copes with that fear. Don’t let the fear you have stop you from from pursing our goals – financial or otherwise. Pick the option that propels you towards them, and let go of the sandbags keeping you in place. So what’s holding you back?
This week, think about the things in your life that are weighing you down. Consider moments when you declined an opportunity that may have opened a door for you. Or reminisce on times when you decided against doing something potentially fun or interesting because you were afraid.
Write some of those experiences down on a piece of paper and think about why you truly said “no” to them. Facing the fears that crippled you in your past and have a hold on you presently will help you overcome them in your future.