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Guilt - toss it first!

Guilt is a common reaction to not living up to our own expectations - or to the expectations others have for us. These expectations come from the family values and role models we had growing up.

Women especially tend to judge themselves against the ideal of the mother and housewife presented in the media - neat closets, clean floors, and milk and cookies ready at 3:00 when the kids get home from school. It's a fantasy picture that doesn't reflect the reality of our lives.

Guilt can range from mild upset to severe depression.

No matter how guilty you feel about creating your mess, the guilt will not undo it. You cannot change history.

You can change your future, but only by taking action in your present.

Guilt is different from learning from past mistakes. Sitting around feeling overwhelmed by guilt prevents you from taking action. It just keeps you immobilized in squalor.

  • Guilt doesn't get any of the mess picked up. It just adds more emotional mess
  • Guilt doesn't motivate you. It sucks energy from you
  • Guilt doesn't improve your quality of life. It diminishes it
  • The first thing to toss is the guilt

The Not My Mess fantasy

Do you find it much easier to clean up other people's mess than your own?

With other people's mess, there is no feeling of guilt for creating the mess. Emotionally detached from the clutter, we can roll up our sleeves and get straight to work, freed from the indecision and guilt we feel about our own stuff.

If this is true for you, try the Not My Mess fantasy.

Stand outside your front door. Now tell yourself, "I just inherited this house from the previous owner. I have no idea what is in there, but it is mine, to do with as I please. Whatever is inside is not my doing."

Now enter your house. Gee, that previous owner was a bit of a slob - this is not good enough for you to live in! Better roll up your sleeves and get to work.

(Don't forget to whistle! But if forest critters show up to clean alongside, seek professional help.)