The #CLOSETMINDCONNECTION series kicks off with one of my favorite quotes:
I was talking to my friend a few years ago over enchiladas in Dallas (as one does) and I was going on and on about a recent trip I had taken. I outlined every part of that trip, and God love this girl, she not only listened, she was actually interested in hearing more.
Once I realized that my enchiladas were left untouched while she was taking her last bite, it was blatantly clear that I had taken up enough of the conversation with me, me, me so I shut my mouth, or rather, shoved some cheesy goodness into it and let her get a word in there.
My friend caught that small window in the conversation and said something very simple that I will never forget.
She asked, "Hey B, have you ever noticed that the times on your trips when you are alone and exploring are when you light up and are happiest? And the times you speak about spending time with your friend, your energy totally plummets?"
No, I had not seen that thank you very much.
She could see what I could not at that time, and then it hit me, she was spot on.
So why was I subjecting myself over and over again to this feeling of 'meh'? I think it was because I couldn't see it. I didn't stop to gain a sense of awareness but luckily, I had a friend that could be my 'eyes' in the situation.
From that point on I decided to make my social life into a little experiment. Whenever I would hang out with a friend I was on the fence about, following our time together I would pause and take a moment to get very aware of how I was feeling. I kept it simple: I would ask myself if I felt energized or depleted following our hang out session. This is me putting my own spin on the 'vampire friend' theory.
The rule was, if I felt depleted three times in a row, I knew that wasn't a person I wanted to surround myself with going forward. Um, harsh. I know. The thought process was more cut and dry than in real life but this tough love perspective was the only thing that helped me to really open my eyes, and take some of the emotion out of the situation so I could be objective.
I should add that all of this was happening a time in my life when I was working on the growth of my new baby, my business, and about to make one of the biggest life changes ever. I was starting to see how, the people I chose to surround myself with, were detrimental to the life I wanted to be living.
I lost a few friends that summer and I definitely broke my own rule of 'three' not wanting to believe that some friends I thought were so close to me, were actually miles away.
But in the end, the three-strike experiment was in full-effect and the tough conversations were had.
In some cases, the feeling was totally mutual. Um, ouch, but hey, it comes with the territory and I was ready for it. This wasn't just one-sided. In a way, my little experiment was a catalyst that helped both parties hash it out and figure some stuff out. The bonus was, there was still love, no phantom disappearing act, no gossiping crap, just respect.
It was odd to come to the understanding that, just because I have a history with someone, doesn't mean I have a future with them. And also, there was no way I could continue on my course with anything but supportive people around me.
I said 'goodbye' and then...
I said 'hello.'
This space opened me up to new friends and new people in my life that I would have never met otherwise. And that, is the kicker. I couldn't see it at the time, but letting go was less about loss and more about opening me up to gaining new stories and a new entourage of people that were more aligned with where I was going.
TAKING IT TO THE CLOSET:
What I said here:
"So why was I subjecting myself over and over again to this feeling of 'meh'? I think it was because I couldn't see it. I didn't stop to gain a sense of awareness but luckily, I had a friend that could be my 'eyes' in the situation..." can be directly applied to what is happening in your closet by the way.
So many of us are guilty of having a full closet and yet still, nothing to wear. Ya feel me? Yea, I thought you would.
We wear, on average about 20% of what is in our closets. That leaves 80% untouched, unworn, and collecting dust. In other words, that leaves us with a pile of clothing we walk into daily that looks 'meh' on the hanger and more 'meh' when you put it on.
When I go through a clients' closet, I go hanger by hanger. As I hold up an item, I can instantly see a reaction, 80% of communication on average being non-verbal and all. Then I hear something like one of the following responses:
1. "Gahhh, I must keep it!"
2. "Ummmm, what do you think?"
3. "Yea, I used to wear that but haven't been able to...but once I lose the last five/ten pounds I can wear it again." And/or, "He/she loves me in that so..."
The 'must keep' pieces I let them keep (unless I find them to be totally off-base in terms of style or fit; it's rare that happens).
The, 'um what do you think?' pieces I evaluate based on everything I know about where my client is and where she wants to be. If this piece will get her where she wants to go, it stays. If not, I always say 'we can do better,' because, well, we totally can.
Now, the last response is the one I would like to laser-in on here...
For everything you are holding onto, whether you expect you will fit into it again in the future or because someone else thinks it looks good on you, I say this:
Try it on and get in touch with your feelings.
If you're tugging at it or don't like how it fits when you look in the mirror (note, and this is important ladies: I'm specifically referring to not liking how the garment looks not, not liking how you look) let it go.
But, I'm willing to bet if you got this far, you won't want to let it go so this is how you can get one step closer to a clean closet filled with clothing you wear:
Put a tag on the hanger, try one of these Bye Bye tags (pic below) or make your own. If you wear that sucker three times within the next month, AND you feel good in it (good= energized in it and are looking forward to wearing it again) it stays.
If you don't wear it or when you do, you feel depleted each time, let it go.
It does not serve you at all.
Too simple? Life can be, I swear.
Ask yourself why you would keep something that brings you down?
Sure, you may have outgrown the item, but you're not ready to let it go because there's a story tied to that.
Maybe it's time to tell a new story right?
You are keeping that piece around because you are hoping you will feel what you once felt when you wore it, or you keep telling yourself you will lose that extra five pounds.
Maybe you should just embrace what you look like now. Think about how you're going to feel when you magically lose enough weight to get into the jeans. What is that feeling? What do you currently have around you or within your right now that will help you feel what you think losing five pounds will make you feel? Why not just start now and see where it gets you?
The bottom line:
In your closet as in you life, when you say 'yes' to something, you are saying 'no' to something else.
When you say 'yes' to something that drags you down, you say 'no' to something that could make you feel great in your skin so you can focus on getting out there and living your best life.
ONE LAST THING TO BRING IT HOME:
Visualize walking into your current closet.
The one filled to the brim with dusty, tag-covered clutter...
It's similar to how you feel every time you get off the phone with that friend.
Ok, now visualize walking into a closet filled ONLY with items that energize you and feel good on your back...
Feel that? That, is what we are going for here.
That's the good stuff.
That is also the same feeling I have when I get off the phone with some of my most favorite people on the surface of the earth. I'm inspired, I'm energized, and I'm ready to go.
Make sure you check your surroundings because they matter more than you think they do. Surround yourself with people and items that lift you higher. The shift starts within you.
Focus on how you want to feel, see how you can start to make that happen now, and then play a giant game of hot and cold to see who/what around you is supporting you, and what isn't. Keep what is serving you and let go of the rest.
Try it out. Try it on.
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