Is it possible to have a guilt-free home? It sure is!
First let’s talk about why our homes feel guilty in the first place.
- We have feelings of guilt we have when we look at the state of our homes and see nothing but clutter. We berate ourselves and focus on the negatives. We feel terrible about everything. We’re overwhelmed. We see ourselves as failures. In this case we’re creating the guilt. Most likely if we saw a friend this discouraged, we would do everything we could to support and encourage them. We need to be our own best friend.
- We feel guilty about having friends over, so we don’t. We’re embarrassed that they might see our secret failures. Then we feel guilty because we aren’t spending time with them.
- We also feel guilt when we feel we have to keep gifts and heirlooms given to us by friends and family. In this case we haven’t yet done anything to feel guilty about, we just anticipate the fallout, should we ever decide to get rid of the thing.
- We feel guilty when we look at a room full of unfinished projects. We worry about the money we spent, or the missed opportunity to enjoy the completed item,
How can we be excited about our life, or joyful about our homes if we’re ridden with guilt? It’s ok to let it go. It really is. In fact it is absolutely necessary if you are going to move on to that life you want and that vision you’ve created.
So let’s talk about what you can do.
- First off, you have to make a decision. Are you worthy of living a life of fun, spontaneity, contentment, and peace? Are you deserving to live in a home that truly reflects you and your values? ( My answer to you would be: Of course you are! Absolutely! )
- Secondly, you have to be a little brave. You have to start taking a few steps to reclaim your life and your home that reinforce your choice that you are worthy.
- Let talk about those unfinished projects. Be honest with yourself Are you ever going to do them. If you say someday, and not a resounding “YES!” , they don’t spark joy. If you are worried about the money you spent on the project being wasted, you haven’t. You’ve gotten value. Maybe not the value you expected, but you gained wisdom. You learned life lessons, such as: You grown passed that project. If you start a project, you need to have a clear plan to finish it. You admire people’s skill to create, and would like to be more creative yourself. Or maybe that too many projects at one time actually stifles your creativity by putting pressure on you to do too much. So you see, you’ve gotten a lot of value there, for the price of some projects. It’s tuition at the University of Life.
- You’re worried you will need that item “someday.” Will you really? What life do you want to be living? Do you want to live in the here and the now, enjoying life with your family and loved ones? Or do you want to be living in what might be? You life is in front of you right now. Who knows what or where you will be in the future. Will that item you are keeping even be necessary or useable in the future? Will it be outdated.
- What about gifts from loved ones? This is one of the hardest challenges to manage. Mostly because we don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. We take on the burden of their gift and all of the guilt, real or imagined that goes along with it. Here’s some things to consider: Is it really a gift? A gift is freely given with no expectations or requirements and bound with love. If you feel you have to keep something because it’s an heirloom or part of your legacy and it brings you no joy to see it, it isn’t a gift. Gifts are designed to be cherished, used, enjoyed. They are designed to be let go of when the joy is finished. That being said we all have been given things with strings attached. We have let things migrate into our space that we don’t want or don’t love. It’s tough when these come from family members because we want to make them happy. So instead of just saying no thanks, I really can’t use that item, look for other solutions. That family heirloom tea service sparks no joy. What do we do? Nurturing and maintaining the relationship with the loved one is so important; you want be kind in how you return or refuse it. One idea is to ask the relative/friend who gave it to us and see if they want it back. Be prepared to talk about things that you have gotten from them that you love, why this one doesn’t fit into your life, or tell them that you are honored they gave this to you but you truly have no place to do it justice. See if you can come up with ideas on what can be done with the item. Maybe another relative drinks tea all the time, and would love it. See what you can do to put a positive spin on this choice. The point is to gently make your position clear, and stand with it. I know it’s hard to do this and you do run the risk of offending the person, but if the refusal is done kindly, you’ll get past rough spot relatively quickly. It’s your home, and you need only keep what you love and fits your value system.
In the end, it all boils down to what we choose for ourselves. We can choose to live with guilt, or be free of it. If we choose to let go, it may mean that we have to have a few possibly difficult conversations with loved one about heirlooms and gifts. But really those conversations come and go. Once you’ve stood your ground about your personal values, it gets easier. And those loved ones really do begin to understand.
The other thing to remember, is that you’re living now. By holding on to those things that you’ve outgrown, or you may someday need, you are really present in the now. You are missing out on what is going on now, and experiences with your loved ones.