A popular topic of the Facebook Group, KonMari Method: Life Changing Magic, is that of wondering what life is like after you’re done with the purge. What is Life Changing Magic?
In the beginning, when I first wondered what the magic might be, my mind went right to my stuff. Maybe the magic was having a clean home where I wouldn’t feel embarrassed to have someone visit. Or maybe the magic was not having to spend extra money for stuff I didn’t need, like buying another screwdriver because I couldn’t find my old one in all of the clutter. Maybe I wouldn’t be so worried about tripping over my stuff. My thoughts were pretty basic. I really had no clue how truly wonderful the magic could be.
I thought I’d do a series of posts on the topic to talk about how the magic has influenced my life. I’d love to hear your thoughts, too.
KonMari Magic (Part One): Relationships
The first place I really saw and felt the magic, was in my relationships. Our relationships with others: our families, our spouse, our children, our friends, our neighbors, and those people who we randomly meet, play a key role in our daily lives. Each of them affects us in some way and they are vital to our well-being.
Before the purge
- Communication was a challenge for me. While I had thought I had good relationship with my hubby, friends, and family, I also had frequent misunderstandings. Communication didn’t seem to be a strong suit with Greg and I, and we often talked about how we wanted to improve the situation, but were never quite able to manage it. I was good at making assumptions about what people wanted or needed from me, but I was way off base a good part of the time. I thought I listened well, but in reality, I was usually busy thinking about what my next response was going to be. Relationships in general, were a struggle for me.
- I kept a lot people in my life that I didn’t have much in common with. I had friends that I had outgrown, making those relationship hard work. I would feign interest their activities, in the thought of being a good friend, but I wasn’t happy doing that. I wasn’t unkind, I just wasn’t all that interested. I wasn’t getting anything out of the relationship and I certainly wasn’t giving them my best, either. I seemed to feel drained after spending time with them.
- My relationship overload didn’t leave room for new people. The feeling of being overwhelmed at home, and the frustration I had with my current relationships, left me not really interested in meeting new people. This left me “stale.” I didn’t have any new things to offer my current friends. I felt bad because I didn’t feel I was contributing. But I didn’t know what to do about it.
- My low self esteem really affected my interactions with people. I felt I needed to hide who I really was. Again, the embarrassment of how cluttered my home was, that my place was filled with stuff that had bad memories, and having pretty much nothing in my home that reflected who I was, left me feeling confused and unsure about what was important to me and how I felt about anything. Outwardly, I might have looked like I had it together, but it was a bluff a lot of the time. I became a decent actor of sorts, but that wasn’t very fulfilling way to live.
After the purge ( and WOW, what a difference!)
- Vastly improved communication and trust. In order to KonMari our home completely, I really had to understand how to communicate better with my spouse. Greg and I started talking a lot. I mean really a lot! I was fine following specific directions, so I loved the step by step KonMari purging method. But Greg wasn’t so interested, and didn’t really see the need to purge his things. I had to really understand that this process was about me and my stuff, not his. I had to learn that I couldn’t judge Greg because he didn’t see his belongings the same way I saw mine. He had made his own choices, and he was comfortable with those. He was the man I fell in love with and married. Once I got past thinking he had to change, and focused on my own stuff, things got really easy. We learned to compromise on the common areas and I listened to his ideas more. Greg loved me and wanted to support making the house more user friendly. So he was open to letting go of quite a few of his things for the sake of space. We also focused on building trust. In the end, those areas that he didn’t want to purge, still got organized, because he trusted me enough to clean out the trash and broken things, but to not touch those things he cherished. I can honestly say that I now understand how his belongings affect him; how they are part of who he is; and how they shaped him into the wonderful man he is.
- My improved self awareness showed me when relationships need to be addressed or changed. This was huge for me. As my relationship with my hubby improved, I started to look at the state of my other relationships. I decided that if a friendship was really important, I needed to be a better friend. If I couldn’t be a better friend, then maybe I needed to consider letting the relationship go. When I did let a relationship go, I had to make sure I said thank you and goodbye. I had to make sure there was closure. This was really hard with some people. Even in bad relationships, there are attachments. There is a comfortableness in situations that you are used to, even when they are not good for you. Changing that is intimidating.
- Sometimes I’ve kept a friendship that I couldn’t change, because I valued the person. Sometimes the other person can’t change. Maybe it’s a family member who just doesn’t have time, or they just aren’t in a place to be fully present with you. I have a person dear to my heart that I would love to have more time with. I know he values me, but his life right now is just on a different path. This used to make me frustrated, angry, blue, sad, and feeling unworthy. But now my perspective has changed. He is where he needs to be right now. It may change, or may not. I really don’t know. But he is dear to my heart and I wouldn’t change who he is. So, for now, it is what it is.
- I created relationships with new people. Since I have been more deliberate about my interactions, I’m less afraid of meeting new people and developing new relationships. With new friendships, comes exposure to new things and interests. This helps me to keep my life and perspectives, “fresh.”
- I’ve created more time for people in general. Because I’m less busy in my home, I’m more present outside of my home. This has given me more chats with the neighbors and people going for walks around the neighborhood. I tend to be an introvert, but I enjoy touching base with the neighbors and reaffirming our connection.
This was just the start of my personal magic journey. The changes have made such a profound impact on my life. In re-reading this blog entry I’m surprised at how honest I’ve been able to be about how shallowly I viewed my relationships in the past. I truly loved my friends and family, but didn’t allow myself to fully enjoy them. I was missing out on so much joy. I’m really glad I changed.