Decluttering Making You Feel Wasteful? You’re Not The Only One…
Feeling wasteful in the face of clutter is one of the most common reasons why people hold on to it. Here, how that mindset keeps you stuck, how to make peace with the fact that you may have been a tad reckless with your resources in the past, and how to ensure you don’t repeat those mistakes in the future.
No one, and I mean no one, likes the feeling of being wasteful. It doesn’t matter how concerned a person is for the environment (though people who are environmentally-minded arguably detest being wasteful to an extreme amount), or what a person’s socioeconomic status is. I’ve worked with some of the most powerful people, people for whom money might as well grow on trees, and I can tell you they feel just as lousy about wasting goods and resources as the man scrounging to make ends meets.
Old and young, married and single, male and female, we share a collective aversion to wastefulness.
The primary reason why acknowledging one’s wastefulness stings as much as it does is its relationship to shame. Oh, shame. If you have plenty and are wasteful, you feel ashamed at having squandered your good fortune. If you have little means and are wasteful, you feel ashamed at having squandered your good luck.
See, there’s a part of each of us that is good, and that goodness knows abundance, prosperity and access when it sees it. And, it recognizes carelessness in the face of those things. It knows everything might be put to use if prioritized properly; if given into the right hands. And, it feels wretched acknowledging that it has been a negligent and irresponsible steward of those riches.
So, it avoids having to fess up to being wasteful.
It prefers letting never-worn clothing remain in the closet with the price tags attached for eternity.
It pretends it is obligated to hold onto perfectly good supplies, even if one doesn’t need all or any of those supplies.
It watches the produce spoil a little bit more with each passing day.
It judges the desire to buy new things. It judges the part of you that, even for a second, considers letting something go without trying to sell it.
Better that than having to admit to wasting the resources one had available to them, right?
To tread the editing path (i.e. owning one’s mistakes of the past, forgiving yourself for them, and pledging to make better decisions now) will undoubtedly entail having to face our wastefulness, and then, of course, having to suffer the shame that comes as result of that realization.
Guess what? Sometimes, we’re wasteful.
Occasionally, we make poor decisions while shopping in the mall or the grocery store.
From time to time, we let the impulsive side of our brain tell us something is a good idea that only later we realize was a complete waste of time and money.
Shit happens. Which is another way of saying: we make mistakes. They are a part of life. A part of us.
None of this means you are bad. None of this means you ought to be punished for your sins. That you don’t deserve any more nice things or fresh produce.
In fact, the very shame you feel at having been wasteful reveals your goodness, not your vileness!
If you were really wasteful, you would continue, week after week, to stockpile your grocery cart with produce you know you won’t eat.
If you were really wasteful, you would continue to max out your credit card shopping for things you know you don’t want or need.
If you were really wasteful, you would feel absolutely zero remorse at throwing out what someone else might have cherished.
But you aren’t doing that, are you?
You are merely going along on your way: making a whole heck of a lot of good decisions, and a couple of stupid ones here and there, too.
What you deserve is the chance to live freely and without shame, so that you can exist in a realm of clarity and priority. Only from that space can you help to ensure you never again waste.
Go. To the fridge or the closet or the storage room. Take out the things that make you feel lowly. That make you want to hang your head at your own spoiled, selfish, overly-busied ways.
I see you wastefulness.
I am sorry, universe.
I apologize to myself or to my family or to both.
I feel shame at having carelessly managed the riches that once were mine.
I feel sadness at having prevented someone who might have benefited from this all this time do so, Simply because I was too scared to fess up to my mistakes of the past.
In spite of this (or these few) piece(s) of evidence to the contrary, I choose to live with gratitude. I am ready to be a person who consumes consciously, who lives with grace, and who respects the bounties available to me.
I know that I am good.
I forgive myself for the mistakes I made in the past.
Instead of judging them, I study them: what can I learn from them? What patterns emerge from out of them? And how can this help me to avoid being wasteful in the future?
K, I’m gonna let you go now, thing. Bad feeling.
Here I go.
Image credits: Wildfox via, Photography by Julia Robbs for Refinery 29, Baileys in Cereal Magazine
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