Some thoughts on gratitude written by one of my favourite bloggers. Too often we take things for granted; haven’t you noticed how impatient you get if the webpage is loading for 2 seconds too long? We forget how privileged we are having more than our basic needs fulfilled.
‘Living on One Dollar’ is a documentary made by four American students who decide to experience how it is to live on one dollar per day. They spend two months in a small village in Guatemala, fighting hunger but finding a lot of inspiration. You can find out more about this and their other projects on their website. The film is available on Netflix.
Letting go should come naturally as is an integral part of life, isn’t it? Life goes on, we move places, people come, people go, we change jobs, we evolve. Yet, we often desperately try to hold on to the past. Somehow we find it difficult to just let go – of people we met, of objects we own, of events that already happened. Why is this? Wouldn’t it be easier to accept the fact that the past is the past and to move on? How to learn to let go? How to overcome the fear of missing someone or something you decide to leave behind? I believe that a slight shift in attitude could help with letting go and not feeling regretful.
I have met many fantastic people in my life and have experienced countless wonderful moments together with them. I have met and lost a few really close friends in the course of my life. I am not in touch with most of these people and I haven’t got the slightest idea about where they are and what they do. Do I miss them? In a way. I think about the fun times we shared and the great talks we had. Do I regret that that we lost contact? Not really. I still keep those great memories and am thankful for having met all these people. Of course, it would be interesting to meet them again at some point, but then, on the other hand, I do meet a lot of people who bring so much value into my life that I don’t really miss these connections any more. What is the key for me here is changing how I view the past: I focus on the past experiences and how they have enriched me rather than on the friendships I have lost. Learning to let go starts with accepting that changes are, indeed, an inevitable part of everyone’s life.
The other crucial factor in learning to let go is, in my opinion, patience. Changes take time and we cannot rush them through. It is a process and it takes the time it takes. I am still learning how to let go of missing my ‘old life’, that is the time before my daughter was born. Becoming a mother has been a gigantic change and I feel I was very little prepared to this. To be honest, I am still going through the process of changing how I see myself and how I view my role as a mother. Obviously, it is difficult just to shift my attitude after thirty-something years of not having to be responsible for another being. But I understand it is a process, however frustrating it might be, and it is not going to happen overnight. And yes, I do miss the independance and the spontaneity but in the monents like these I remind myself how much value my daugher has brought into my life, and if I were to choose, I would choose having her again, without a doubt. Acknowledging the change and accepting it are the first steps. Being patient with yourself and allowing yourself sufficient time to deal with the change is another one. No one says it is easy, but I am saying it is possible, just be patient.
Now think about your possessions. Do you have too many unnecessary items at your home? Too many clothes you don’t wear? More kitchen utensils that you need? Storage boxes full of books/DVD’s/childhood toys/unused Christmas decorations lying somewhere in the attic? Do you have difficulties parting with these items? Why is this? Do you keep them out of guilt, or maybe you think you might use them one day? Do you keep a lot of objects for sentimental reasons?
I don’t have any problems with letting go of physical objects and I rarely ever regret getting rid of things. I know that I can always find a replacement should there be a need (it hasn’t been the case, though). I also realise that I don’t need to be surrounded by an extensive number of items to bring back my memories. Shifting the focus have enabled me to get rid of things.
To summarise: let’s remember about the good times, let’s accept and welcome changes, let’s deal with the changes by shifting our focus, and let’s try to be more patient. I believe by following these steps we will learn to deal with letting go.
What can you let go as of now? Let me know in the comments.
Why would I be writing about New Year’s resolutions now, as late as in mid-April? Because in my opinion New Year’s resolutions don’t make much sense.
Do not get me wrong, though. I think that making resolutions and then, hopefully, following through with them is a great way towards self-improvement. On the other hand, I just think it is pointless to wait with making a resolution until a new year starts, a new month commences or a Monday comes. If you a ready for a change then go for it now! Don’t wait, and don’t use the time left to a proverbial Monday as an excuse to carry on with an unhealthy, unproductive or unnecessary habit.
The best time to make your next resolution in not in 8 and a half month’s time, it is right now. And even if you made a promise to yourself to change one of more of your routines on January 1st this year and haven’t followed it through, grant yourself another chance. And another one if you still aren’t successful. And yet another one. Stop beating yourself up, stop feeling guilty and instead be your own best and most generous friend. And be persistent.
There are quite a few techniques that can support you in staying motivated and focused on tasks. One of the tactics to make you feel more accountable for own resolutions is sharing them with others. So here is the list of my own resolutions which I am going to start implementing from tomorrow on:
more considered and better planned shopping, including groceries, home decorations and clothes (I think I am much better but there is still room for improvement),
better planned meals (I am not good at eating regularly),
better planned days with more time for relaxation.
My plan is to use this blog for updates on how I am doing. I hope that making these small changes will improve my well-being.
What are the small changes that you could make in your everyday routines? I will happily read about them in the comments.
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to wake up every morning with a sense of purpose and meaningfulness? I believe that I am not the only one who often ponders about how to live a meaningful life. And while I haven’t come up with a satisfactory answer yet, I have found out that excess prevents me from living the life I want to live.
A while ago I started to declutter my house. I have found out that there is always something to get rid of and, surprisingly, I very rarely miss the things I throw away. I feel that my space is better organised and it gives my a great pleasure to be surrounded by things that I truly like and that add value to my life.
The same goes for other aspect of life. These days I am rather picky when it comes to the books I read and the films that I watch, which might not be easy with such an overwhelming choice. But I know myself quite well and I base my choices on what I truly like, and I always consider the value a book or a film can add to my life. Obviously, I count pure pleasure as one of the top values.
My social life has changed dramatically after having a child. Not having much time to meet my friends made me think about the quality of all the relationships I have had. Nowadays I prefer to spend time with people who are very dear to me. My family is the most important to me, then come some close friends. I often say ‘no’ to social gatherings because I make a choice to be with the people who I value the most. To me, excess of people in my life would distract me from being with the ones who are the most meaningful.
I have discovered that having focus is extremely important to me as this helps me to weigh options and make better choices. I am not a hedonist; I just like to feel that I live my life intentionally. I like to have a goal, or even better multiple ones in various areas. Having goals helps me steer away from any form of clutter which allows me to accomplish my aims sooner.
What is your excess? What prevents you from living a more intentional and more meaningful life?
There are a lot of books and articles out there offering a variety of methods on how to limit your wardrobe or change your shopping habits. I don’t think there is one perfect method that would suit everyone; we are all different and what works for one, doesn’t necessarily work for the other. I find a great value in coaching, especially in the GROW model. This model can be applied in a lot of areas, so why not use it in decluttering one’s closet?
The GROW model in coaching
The GROW model was introduced by Sir John Whitmore* in 1980’s. It is a simple four-step method for finding solutions and setting-up goals. This method is widely used in both business and life coaching, and can be successfully applied to a lot of fields.
Each letter in the word GROW corresponds to one step:
G – goal
R – reality
O – options
W – will
The GROW model in achieving the perfect wardrobe
When using the word ‘perfect’ when referring to a wardrobe, I mean, of course a wardrobe ideal for you. I don’t think there is a recipe of how to build a wardrobe that would be perfect for everyone.
If you would like to use the GROW model in helping you to edit your wardrobe, take some time and answer the following questions:
How could you describe your ideal wardrobe?
What specific items of clothing should you have in your ideal closet?
Do you know someone who, in your opinion, has an ideal wardrobe? How do you describe it?
How would it make you feel to have an ideal wardrobe?
What does it mean to you to have a closet full of clothes ideal for you?
What benefits of having a perfect wardrobe can you list?
Once you have an ideal wardrobe, how will your perfect shopping day look like?
How would your life be different if you had a perfect wardrobe?
What words do you use to describe your wardrobe?
What clothes do you have in your closet?
What clothes are missing from your closet?
Which clothes do you never wear?
What do you do with the items that you never wear?
How do you feel everyday when you open your closet and choose clothes to wear?
How do you decide on what to wear?
How do you shop?
How long have you been thinking of editing your wardrobe?
How do you edit your wardrobe?
What methods have you tried to edit your wardrobe?
Which of these methods were successful? Why?
Which of these methods were unsuccessful? Why?
What could you do differently?
What is stopping you from having an ideal wardrobe?
What else could you do?
Which options work best for you?
What is the first step you need to take in order to achieve an ideal wardrobe?
What are the next steps that you should take?
What deadline would you set for each of the steps?
When are you going to start working on your ideal wardrobe?
How will you know that you are successful?
How motivated are you?
The above questions are examples and can be answered in any order. It is important to be honest with yourself and to set aside enough time to go through them. I highly recommend taking notes and writing the answers down; this helps not only to see the whole picture but also makes you feel more accountable for your actions.
I hope that you feel motivated to get started. Let me know in the comments how coaching helped you achieve your ideal wardrobe. Good luck!
*John Whitmore is apparently not the only name that appears when it comes to the authorship of the GROW model.
I have always been interested in fashion and I have always liked clothes. However, my relationship with shopping has been a complicated one. I could go through periods of not buying anything for weeks or months, or I would buy a lot of unnecessary items that I would never use or wear.
I have been striving to become a more aware consumer and it seems that I have already become a better shopper. I make better choices, I buy only clothes or accessories that I truly like, and I avoid buying things on impulse. Of course, I make mistakes and have my moments of weakness, but overall I am pleased with my wardrobe.
Here are my own shopping rules (in no particular order):
I avoid going to the shops during the sale season. I don’t want to be tempted and manipulated into buying something because of a lowered price.
I always check the composition label before making my final decision. I only buy clothing made of cotton, wool and viscose. I also check the washing instructions and I don’t buy anything that would require too much care (i.e. dry cleaning – I know I don’t have time for this).
I only buy items that go with the clothes I already have. If consider an item but realise that I would need to buy another piece of clothing or an accessory to go with it, I put back on the shelf.
If I hesitate, I don’t buy. I only buy an item if I am 100% sure.
When I buy anything, I try it at home and make sure that this is something I really want. I usually don’t cut off the tags for a while and keep the receipt for another few days, just in case I change my mind.
I know my ‘uniform’, i.e. clothing I like and that I feel good wearing. I know my colour palette, and the patterns and shapes that I like. I don’t even look at anything else (unless it is exceptional, then I can give it a try).
I have decided to limit my clothing choices to five brands (yes, just five). It saves my time and energy to only check the clothes that these brands offer, and I can be sure to usually find something that ticks all of my criteria.
Do you have strict rules when shopping? What are your criteria?
How much do you enjoy receiving items which you don’t like or have no use for? How much more do you enjoy receiving used items you don’t like, from a member of your family or a close friend?
Yes, I know how it feels. You get something and then you feel obliged to keep it because it was given to you by a closest friend. You think he or she might be sorry to find out that you got rid of it.
But don’t you do it yourself?
I was there before. A nice sweater that I didn’t wear any more but felt I should not throw it or donate it because it cost me quite a sum. How about giving it to my sister? And so I would. It made me feel good, and it made my sister’s closet full of garments given by me. She would’t wear them (her style is very different from mine), but she wouldn’t throw them away, either – they were gifts!
Now my sister and I have these two rules when it comes to exchanging things: one – we only accept the items that we really like and intend to keep, two – none of us should feel guilty about getting rid of the items we no longer have use for. These two simple rules help both of us have more control over our closets.
An interesting article on things we can live without. The author mentions eight categories of items which do not seem necessary. I could not agree with her more! And I can proudly say that so far I have got rid of all of my CD’s and a lot of my books, and I am inspired to keep on decluttering.
We are nearing the middle of winter and it is still about six weeks till the first day of calendar spring. My impression is that most of us have already started to think about spring instead of enjoying the moment we are living in.
Instead of focusing the here and the now, we have already started to check spring clothes collections and to plan summer holidays. As much as I understand the longing for the sunnier days, especially in a Nordic country, I wonder why we are so impatient and why we cannot live in the moment and appreciate what we have.
I remember that when I was a kid we would chuck our Christmas tree in mid-February. I remember how lovely it was to come back from school and just lie there, under the tree, and admire the lights and the decorations. These are one of the happiest moments from my childhood. I actually feel a bit disappointed with myself that I started to follow the trend of throwing away all Christmas decorations early, a few days after the New Year comes.
It all makes me think about why we often look forward to something newer. Why do we tend to live in the future while the most important moment is NOW?