I KonMari my mental wellbeing. This is how it went.
It's called "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying: A Simple, Effective Way To Banish Clutter Forever" by Marie Kondo, the creator of the KonMari Method. This is how going through my handbag helped me clean up
It’s called “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying: A Simple, Effective Way To Banish Clutter Forever” by Marie Kondo, the creator of the KonMari Method. This is how going through my handbag helped me clean up my mind.
Wait, why do I need to do this?
My shoulders had always ached from so many years of lugging monstrous bags (what’s in them anyway?) but I would insist on carrying my heavy handbags, packed with all sorts of things that could come in handy in the least likely of scenarios. You see, I used to be one of those neurotic planners, worried about predicting the future and fixated on being totally prepared for absolutely anything that life may throw at me. But life doesn’t work that way. Life is unpredictable – like getting a shoulder injury because my stupid ego egged me on to do some ridiculous cable-pull machine exercise (sorry, still not over that one!).
My shoulders could no longer compensate for the weight of my heavy companions: Sometimes life throws you a “ringer”, like an injury, to stop you from doing more things that will lead to a misaligned shoulder, a misaligned body, a misaligned life.
So, when I injured my shoulder and realised I couldn’t continue to carry heavy handbags, I began to examine what made those bags so damn heavy!
I cut the clutter!
It was weighing me down, literally! My bag was essentially a Guardian/NARS/Apple store! My own uncertainty and fixation on planning meant making sure I always had everything I needed – just in case. I realised that these were really ‘crutches’ in my mind. I was forced to deeply examine this mind of mine: Examine how I viewed myself, my surroundings, my life.
Being well starts in the mind
I began to identify what I really needed to get by on a daily basis: So much of what I carried was not only in anticipation of something happening in the future, but something very unlikely to happen. For instance, if someone on the street asked me if I had a blue gel sparkly coloured pen, I’d be prepared to assist this person! It’s good to be prepared in life but being neurotically prepared? My wallet, my house keys and my MRT card are what I usually need 95% of the time. Cramming in every damn thing that could meet any need was a burden of my persistent worry about unlikely situations. In a disaster scenario you deal with it as best as you can and with what ever you have at that point in time (for one thing it’s unlikely that any of my 4 lip glosses are going to help!). In real life no one is ever 100% prepared for anything.
I had to learn to let go of these unlikely scenarios. As I handled each item in my handbag and asked myself whether it really helped me get through 95% of my day, I saw how little I needed. Less is truly more: most of the things I worried over was a drama in my head – and in my head alone.
Tip: As Marie Kondo says, throw out anything that doesn’t bring you joy. And with this I don’t mean the bills (or do I?) but look at why we hold onto certain items and whether it holds us back or moves us forward in a positive direction.
Take a step back, reflect
You can apply this rationale of “lightening up”, which is premised on what is most likely to happen, to your mindset: So many of us carry around worries and negative self-talk in our minds that really don’t help us get through any part of our day! Excessive worrying and negative self-talk simply weighs us down: it stops us from reaching our goals, from getting through life experiencing joy. We all worry and experience doubt, but when we continue to carry those worries and pile on more and more, it keeps us from living a full life. We don’t take risks because we perpetually worry about failing, embarrassing ourselves and, God forbid, bruising our precious egos. Now, I am not advocating that you become reckless with wild abandon, but there needs to be a balance: A balance between healthy consideration of risk, which is very different from chronically worrying, and healthy self-confidence, which is very different from cockiness.
Worrying about something is not the same as fearing something: Our capacity to feel fear was meant to help us survive so that we could live long lives. For example, our ancestors would have felt fear in the face of a saber-toothed tiger which would have triggered an adrenaline rush to give him/her super human strength to run away from a life-threatening situation – that is healthy fear because it is the response that will determine whether you will live or die. But in the modern day and most of the civilised, developed, free world, most situations are not immediately life-threatening. It’s only our egos that get threatened. And that is what keeps us unnecessarily worried, caged within our limiting self-beliefs and labels that society and even our families, impose on us.
Reflect: Is the problem as big as I make it to be in my head? Many times we enter ‘tunnel vision’ on what is happening – when in fact there are other ways of managing the situation.
Conscious well-being starts from you
Just as our shoulders can only bear so much unnecessary weight from a heavy handbag, there is a limit as to how much negativity – unnecessary baggage – a mind can take before it breaks as well. Instead of cramming our minds with chronic worries from unfounded fears and negative self talk, we need to swap it for self-love: We can enhance our self-esteem and self-confidence in a compassionate and healthy manner. Together these will help you get through life with much more joy and purpose.
So just as I de-cluttered my handbag to lighten up the load on my shoulders, I also make a conscious effort daily to de-clutter my mind of my worries and negative self-talk. I still get worried and doubt myself; it has always been, and always will be, part of the human experience. But the difference now is that I don’t carry my worries and limiting self-beliefs with me. I let them go because they serve no purpose – just as I let go of unnecessary items from my handbag that don’t help me get through situations that are most likely to happen during my day.
So as you go through your own handbag and mind,
Ask yourself: Does this item/thought serve me? Does it bring me joy? Do I really need it? So lighten up and only carry things that allow you to move through life joyfully. Your shoulders and mind will thank you for it!
Are you reading this and feeling like you are walking the same shoes? We would love to hear how you deal with your mind, whether you do your own KonMari method, or perhaps something else. Read part two of how our writer konmari her physical wellbeing too. Share in the comments below.