Change involves change

A major reason why many people stall when clutter clearing is not because of fear of failure but because of fear of success and how it will change their life.


‘People say they want to change. But what they mean is, not if it actually involves change.’

These words of wisdom were spoken by Louise Hay, author of the 35 million copy bestseller, You Can Heal Your Life, as we lunched together and perused the menu for substances we were willing to put into our bodies. The Seattle restaurant had been chosen for convenience of location rather than the food choices it offered, so we were both quite challenged to find items to order.

‘Food is such a big issue for people,’ she mused as she flipped through the menu, still searching the options. ‘Someone may say they want to get well. But not if that involves giving up their favourite foods. They’d rather die’, she said, in her wonderful matter of fact way.

Some people would rather die than change

I told her of a man I know who suffers from painful fibromyalgia but won’t give up his daily habit of eating a pack of Jaffa Cakes nearly every day, even though they make his symptoms worse.

Jaffa Cakes (for any non-Brits reading this) can be bought in any UK supermarket and are round, biscuit-sized cakes consisting of a sponge base, a layer of sweet orange-flavoured jam and a dark chocolate topping. They contain an alluring blend of eleven E-number food additives in every bite and nothing of any nutritional value at all.

When I asked him why he eats them, he said they remind him of his childhood and make him feel happy. He’s spent thousands of pounds over the years trying to find a cure for his condition but eliminating Jaffa Cakes from his diet was not a price he was prepared to pay.

Clutter clearing can change your life

Clutter clearing is the process of sorting through the items in your home and letting go of everything that no longer fits with who you are or where you are headed. It’s a fast-track way to bring about change in your life because clearing out the old creates room for the new.

But many people begin to declutter their home and then stall. They reach a point where they realize they have nearly brought themselves up to date in their life and if they go any further, things might seriously start to change.

So they put the brakes on by leaving some areas of the home cluttered or by not actually getting rid of the items they’ve already cleared. The boxes or bags sit there, waiting to be taken away but never actually making it out of the door.

Holding on to clutter keeps you stuck

Clutter clearing delay tactics can give you the sense of being in control. But they are really a form of self-sabotage.

What can happen is that you make the decision to declutter your home to improve the quality of your life but then find you are only willing to go so far. A part of you wants to change but another part of you wants to stay stuck. You tell yourself you don’t have time to do any more decluttering or some other excuse. But the truth is, you’re not ready for the changes that it can bring about.

So what can you do if you find yourself in this situation?

First, be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up. That’s not going to help.

Instead, remind yourself why you decided to declutter in the first place. Remotivate yourself by remembering all the reasons you were originally inspired to do it and use the momentum of that to re-engage and get the job done.

If fears about the future come up, allow yourself to feel the emotions instead of trying to ignore or suppress them. You may feel safer staying in the same old rut but remind yourself that’s not really what you want.

Understand that clutter clearing is not just about what you let go of but also how you let go of it. Each item you release can either be let go of with anguish or with joy.

So yes, change involves change. But it’s only holding on to the past that makes change painful. The more you are willing to let go and move forward, the quicker and easier the changes can happen.

Related articles
Let go of clutter and live your life to the full
The art of living with clear space

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Copyright © Karen Kingston 2019

About Karen Kingston

Karen Kingston is a leading expert in clutter clearing, space clearing, feng shui and healthy homes. Her two international bestselling books have combined sales of over three million copies in 26 languages and have established themselves as "must read" classics in their fields. Her best-known title, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, is now in its fourth edition. She is best known for her perspective-changing insights and practical solutions that enable more conscious navigation of 21st-century living.
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6 Responses to Change involves change

  1. On the other hand dear jaffa cake man may have an addiction to the substances in these cakes – sugar, chocolate, additives – that may have a very physical hold on him just like drugs or alcohol.

    And in that case the slowly weaning off may just prolong the problem. Either way change can be hard. Quite possibly deep emotion AND a physical addiction. Change can be courageous too.

  2. It is not the Jaffa Cakes that are the problem for Jaffa Cake man, the problem is how they make him feel. He says they remind him of his childhood and make him happy and, in the end, everything comes down to feelings. How could you persuade someone to give up happy feelings from childhood, unless there was something else he could replace them with to give him the same happy feelings.

  3. I learnt to know Jaffa cakes as “Pims”, when they became available in the Nordic countries a quarter of a century ago, the name given by one licenced side-manufacturer. They were quite popular for some years back then.

    Another “faker”-maker, Fazer, produces them today in the flavours of strawberry, raspberry, rowanberry and green jelly. They replace the orange jam with whatever they manufacture as their own-brand marmalade.

    I stopped eating cookies at the turn of the millennium, unless there’s absolutely nothing else in the social space of the workplace, and have never looked back. Too bad they have made their way back onto my computer via websites. 💻🍪🕸

  4. I work in health care and I always try to plan realistic goals with my patients and give them support to reach compliance. If I would have met the “Jaffa cake man” I would ask him “how many Jaffa cakes is it realistic for you to cut down on this week, the next” and further on. When consumption had dropped to one cake I would intensify my support with the patient because that’s the biggest step. So I think the key is realistic or in other terms setting goals that feel attainable for the patient/client. Going ”cookie cold turkey” only works for a few people who thrives on challenges. But with them you also have the risk of the controlling of food intake turning in to an OCD.

    1. Hi Louise – What you’ve described is an excellent protocol for someone who wants to change. But the Jaffa cake man didn’t want to. The choice he made was that he’d rather put up with all the pain in his body than change his eating habits. That was just a step too far for him, which is exactly the point Louise Hay was making. Dietary changes are one of the first things anyone with chronic health issues needs to consider but some people would actually rather die than do that.

  5. Hi Karen, I always enjoy reading your monthly newsletter. I have often wondered what it is about people that brings about real and lasting change. It seems to me there are broadly 3 types:

    Some try really hard to change and it takes them years or even decades of huffing and puffing. Attending numerous workshops, seeing different health professionals perhaps even some psychotherapy or traveling to far-flung places to meet spiritual teachers.

    Others, perhaps like the “jaffa cake” man in your example, actually don’t want to change because they are so familiar with their suffering that they wouldn’t know who they are without it.

    The third type seem to almost effortlessly overcome their challenges.

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