Excerpt from Chapter 15, The Shed: Change Your Life by Cleaning Out Your Shed By Jo Ettles
Don’t Play the Blame Game
If you are ready to do some cleaning up, clearing out and moving forward, it is important to acknowledge how and why things have fallen into disarray. If it is just a chaotic cupboard or a messy room that needs reorganising, acknowledge that perhaps it’s just a lack of time and energy that has created the situation. Ensure that you delegate future time to keep on top of things once you have had your clean-up. If it is something much bigger than that, like our shed, make sure you confront and acknowledge the chaos. What does it all mean to you? When you are ready, take the necessary action to clean up and move forward. Ensure you learn and grow from the experience.
A lesson learnt will enrich your life completely. It is very easy to blame other people for our messes, but playing the blame game never allows us to accept responsibility for our own actions.
Take ownership of the journey. Sort out your mess, clean it up, acknowledge it and then move forward, only occasionally looking back to remind yourself of how far you have come.
I once counselled a woman who had come to me to lose weight and reclaim her life. She had been through a nasty break-up and was heartbroken. Her now ex-husband had an affair with a much younger woman during their marriage. Her self-esteem was battered, and each night after the break up, she cried and ate herself to sleep. When her tears dried up and her local supermarket had sold out of rum raisin Haagen-Dazs ice-cream, she looked in the mirror and did not recognise the person staring back at her. She had gained 15 kilos and she was emotionally and physically exhausted.
When we began our consultation, she had initially started the session with her ex-partner’s infidelity. She used our time to really verbalise her anger towards him, completely ensuring that he was responsible for every single kilo gained. After she got it all out of her system, I said to her, “You have completely focused on the hurt your ex-husband has caused you for a long time now. By doing this, you have successfully taken yourself to this very low point. This destructive energy that you have consumed yourself with since the breakup—has it been worth three more dress sizes?”
She sat contemplating my question and responded firmly with, “Absolutely not.” We talked about her journey to this dark place as well as the hurt she was still feeling. While she consumed herself with anger every day and blamed her ex-husband for the break-up, she managed to completely drown herself in misery.
I gently shifted her focus back to the beginning of their relationship. I asked her to list all the positive things that she had experienced during their marriage. During this exercise, her demeanour changed from exhausted to peaceful. She had travelled all over the world with this man. Through him, she had met amazing people whom she now considers lifelong friends. He had supported and encouraged her to get a university degree. His encouragement had motivated her to achieve her goals and embark on a very fulfilling career. They had shared some incredibly happy times together. When she focused on the positives and acknowledged her gratitude for the experiences, she instantly felt a sense of calm. She definitely did not want to reunite with him, so it was well and truly time to move on.
The final few years of their marriage together had become difficult for both of them. They seemed to just naturally grow apart. Her ex-husband initially struggled to tell her of his affair because of the longevity of their relationship. In his eyes, he had just made a big mistake and it seemed easier to keep it quiet. He had thought that perhaps his guilt would eventually subside, but it just consumed him, and he finally opened up to her and revealed his indiscretion. We certainly did not applaud him for his infidelity, but no one can change the past, so it was really important for her to let go of the anger as it was destroying her soul. Once she reviewed the whole experience with clearness, clarity and an open heart, she was able to see forward. She felt released from the pain and was now ready for a new beginning.
Deciding to lose weight, get fit and work on healing herself gave her new purpose. A few days later, she emailed me to let me know that she had made the decision to call her ex-husband after our session. She had insisted that she had really felt an urgency to make peace with him. She offered him friendship and wished him happiness for his future. She acknowledged all that they had once shared and thanked him for the experience. He reciprocated, and to this day, they have a renewed friendship. By the way, she has lost 20 kilos, has opened her own business and has never been happier. She is strong, independent and happily single!
If an experience in life doesn’t quite turn out the way you envisage, you have a choice when it comes to how you respond to the situation.
On the one hand, you can criticise and blame others and keep rehashing over the events. In return, you will receive destructive negative energy for your efforts, bringing yourself and all those around you down. On the other hand, you can choose to respond to a negative situation by showing strength of character, integrity, dignity, intelligence and humility, and this will lead to growth and expansion for you as a person. Acknowledging what you have learnt from the experience and how you have benefited from the process will allow you to clear out the mess from the situation and use the good from it for future growth.
How we take part in life’s journey and how we arrive at the destination depends on how we view each crossroad.
It’s your life and your choice—no one else’s.
Choose how you respond to every situation wisely as this choice will always affect the final outcome. When you live your life with an open heart, you allow endless possibilities to present themselves. Ensure you are not consumed with negativity so that you can hear, see and feel these opportunities when they arrive.
Make changes, not excuses! Now is the time to acknowledge what it is that might be stopping you from living your life to its full potential. Clearing out all the blockages, whether they are material items or emotional baggage from our lives, allows us to heal on so many different levels.
The Shed: Change Your Life by Cleaning Out Your Shed
Author Jo Ettles
The Shed is a book about how the chaos in our external environment effects the positive energy flow in all areas of our lives. This book is for everyone who wants to make positive practical and real changes in their life through an easy ten step clean- up program for the body mind and soul.