Itís that time of the year again. Dust off your tabletops and pull the oven out for a deep inspection ĖĖspring cleaning is underway. Iím sure youíre all just as excited as I am.
Now, spring cleaning can mean something different to all of us. For some, itís clearing out closets and reorganizing shelves. Others might focus on wiping down the refrigerator ĖĖ I salute these brave individuals ĖĖ or dusting off the ceiling fan, an equally courageous endeavor. This year, Iím focusing on a different kind of spring cleaning: a mental cleanse.
So what is a mental cleanse? Does it look anything like throwing out expired food and clothes you havenít worn since Bret Michaels was relevant? Surprisingly, it does. We hoard intrusive thoughts and toxic relationships the same as worthless mail and pants weíre sure weíll fit into someday. The problem is you can clearly see when youíre crowding your home with items you donít need anymore, even if you donít want to admit it.
Itís a lot harder to see everything crowding your mind. Instead of taking time to self-reflect, we often trudge forward full speed ahead and hope everything goes well. Intrusive thoughts donít stay around too long, right? Why bother going deep into your mind when you could save all that discomfort and maintain the status quo?
Well, Iíve been realizing the status quo isnít always comfortable. Sometimes, itís not comfortable at all. In the interest of being completely vulnerable, Iíll tell you my biggest flaw. I am a pushover. You wouldnít think so if you saw me at work, where Iíve learned to be confident in my decisions. But my personal relationships are an entirely different animal.
Iíve often allowed loved ones to walk all over me. All through high school and college, I let other people dictate my feelings and actions. To be clear, I am not blaming anybody besides myself for this. You teach people how to treat you. I didnít realize that until a couple years ago, and, in truth, Iím still learning how to apply that to the way I live.
Thatís where spring cleaning comes into play. As April turns to May, Iíll be working toward deep introspection and learning how to use those discoveries to better myself. Itís basically a deep dive into my brain, where Iím finding the pieces that donít fit and deciding if I should just reorganize some things or toss them out altogether.
Self-discovery is scary, you guys! It means you have to see the ugly parts of yourself. As a species, we are extremely good at living in denial for extended periods of time. We confuse complacency with comfort. Well, Iím done doing that. Iím done allowing people to walk over me. Iím done being so hateful to myself, because that gives others the freedom to do the same thing. Self-discovery is a journey toward self-love, something Iíve lacked for as long as I can remember.
To those of you who need to go on that same journey, I hope you know what you deserve. You deserve to have healthy relationships where you get what you give. You deserve to lift yourself up, and to surround yourself with people who lift you even higher. Remember, we teach people how to treat us. That starts with knowing what we deserve and standing up for ourselves. If a loved one isnít there for you the way you expect, they never were to begin with.
Iím excited to see where this goes, even if the journey is most certainly unpleasant. After all, you canít live in a clean house until you take care of the mess.
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Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com