This is part 1 of the 4-part series – all on injecting more happiness into your life and home.
“How to be happy? ” And “How can I be happy more often?” are questions a lot of us ask from time to time.
And it really doesn’t matter how happy and how grateful you already know you are, you’ll probably have days when things aren’t looking all sparkly and you’ll wonder how to get back to that great state again.
This 4 part series is all about injecting more happiness (and more often!) into your everyday life.
We’ll kick of, much like A Christmas Carol, from the Ghost of the Past.
If you’re wondering how to be happy today, I have a fundamental question for you. Look around your home. Look closely and carefully. …Have you kept any reminders of past misfortunes or unhappy memories?
People don’t really talk about this enough, but holding on to objects, clothes, or even small notes that remind you of something negative from the past is no freakin’ bueno.
Think about it for a moment: why would you hold on to things that every time you come across them, make you re-live the sadness, or remember the disappointment?
Mission: no unhappiness allowed
It might not be pretty to go through all of those bad feelings again when getting rid of the items you have lying around, but the good news is you’ll only need to do it once.
There is only one rule: Anything that brings up something negative about your past must go.
This act of decluttering will leave you feeling lighter, I promise. It’s like getting a new planner in January and realising it’s a fresh start. THAT’s how you’ll feel when you’ll cut the cords with your less than happy past memories.
Why should you do this? It’s only stuff.
You might be wondering, why should you do this. If something that you associated with a past memory you don’t particularly enjoy is stuck at the back of your cupboard, how is it affecting you? I mean, you rarely even look into that corner!
But to that I say: how do you know it’s there?
Since you **know** you have this object/reminder/whatever in the back of the cupboard, you’re not actually letting go. You know, which means it IS in fact still reminding you of that past.
From my heart to yours:
It is not serving anyone, not you and not anyone else involved, to hold on to those moments.
It will not help you forgive, let go of the past and focus on what you can do with your life, if you’re living in that past.
It will not help you feel better now to stumble upon memories of having an eating disorder 10 years ago.
It will not help you enjoy your today more, if you know your cupboard contains a reject letter from Oxford, or some other University of your dreams.
It will not make you smile to come across a gift from a person who hurt you in the worst way imaginable.
It will not make anyone feel honoured if you hold on to the clothes you wore THAT day. At a funeral. Or while breaking up. Or during an accident.
It will not help you be happier every day, if so often you stumble upon literal proofs of moments in the past that you simply do not need to relive.
It will not be productive.
It will not make anyone else better off.
It will not make you happy.
I understand it’s not easy. And some of that was my Past. But I choose not to let it define my Present, nor my Future. And I wish the same for you.
It is simply much better to surround yourself with items that spark joy (much like in Marie Kondo’s book ‘the life-changing magic of tidying-up’) and live only with the things you love, rather than constantly be exposed to your past failures, heartbreaks and unhappiness.
Do you choose happiness?
Just writing the negative examples in this article wasn’t making me happy. And reading it probably didn’t put you in any ecstatic state either.
But it is so, SO important to me that you understand the actual damage that happens every day when you hold on to those little proofs of your past unhappy moments.
It was real.
But you do not need proof.
I give you permission to let go of the book, the gift, the letter, the blouse, the suit, the mug. Even if they are new or unused. You do not need to pay respect to anyone by making yourself unhappy. I give you permission to let go of the past misfortunes.
And my heart cries with yours on just the thought of how hard it must’ve been – or still is. But once you let go, you’ll be able to start healing.
And that healing is your answer to the “how to be happy (and more often!)” question.
Go. Clear. Let go.
Start. Happiness. Now.
Are you ready for Part 2? Let’s keep going.
With the biggest, warmest hug coming from my heart to yours,
P.S. If you know of anyone who needs to hear this, please share it with them. We all need to let those bad memories go. And I’d love to hear from you: how much “stuff” do you think you’ve got hiding around your house, waiting to remind you of some past misery? Are you going to let it go now? Leave a comment below.
Thanks for this post!! I’m sure I’ve got stuff that I have kept in a mis-guided attempt at “historical” accuracy.
I’ll be sorting through things at the first opportunity!!!
I am so glad this helped you, Leslie. Happy sorting then, and enjoy the feeling of lightness and freedom that comes with every round of taking out the rubbish. :)