Time to clean out the bugs

If you’d like to feel more energetic and capable, I have a kind of wacky experiment for you. Rather than focusing on what you want, which is what I usually talk about, try getting rid of the things that bug you.

Tolerating things is not an olympic sport, even though we act like it is. Or maybe it’s that we act like we get extra points for putting up with crap. That doesn’t really do anything but freshen up your martyr-riffic hair shirt.

The other reason it’s so easy to not fix the things that are bugging you, is the fixes seem huge, too many steps, too complicated, insurmountable. As if the pleasure derived from not having that thing bugging you anymore, can in no way measure up to the pain caused by having to do something about it.

It’s easy to let these go with platitudes, that’s just how it is. I don’t have time. It’s someone else’s job. Whether or not any of this is true, is irrelevant. When something is bugging you, even if it’s just a sticky drawer, it sucks energy from you. You spend time thinking about it, having an emotional reaction to it, fantasizing about what you’d do if you could. And yet, you do nothing.

It’s not just you.

Take these damn suitcases in the middle of my office. I have to step over them to get to my desk. And then I have to step over them to go get a cup of tea, or to the bathroom. And then I step over them again to get back to my desk.

Well, “put the damn thing away!” you might be saying to yourself. Sounds familiar, that’s exactly what I say to myself every time I step over it, or catch it out of the corner of my eye, like just now! It’s been going on for awhile now too. It’s been a week since I used one of them, and several days for the other.

Every time I step over them, and think about putting them away, I think about how I should check through all the pockets one more time, and then how I have to move the box in front of the access to the attic crawl space where the luggage is stored, and then I have to actually go into the crawl space, which is always freezing cold or burning hot. And then, you can’t actually stand up in there, because it’s under the eaves, and they call it a crawl space for a reason! So have I have to crawl in there and scootch the suitcases all the way to the back where they go, and then crawl backwards, and then…

Well, you get the idea. I usually talk myself out of doing it long before I even get to the scootching part. So rather than just dealing with it, I tolerate it. And it sucks my energy. (Aren’t you just tired reading the machinations of my mind?!)

Spring clean what’s bugging you.

Take back that energy by clearing out what’s bugging you. Start by making a list. Just grab a piece of paper or open up a word doc, a new note in Evernote or a list in Wunderlist and write down everything you can think of that bugs you. Think about your world. How many things bug you throughout the day? What drives you crazy?

I’ve done this before, but not for some time, so I’m sure I can come up with a list of at least 20 things.

Once you have at least a dozen or so things on your list, scan through it and deal with the most doable one first. Go, now. I’ll wait. Well, actually, I’ll go put away my suitcases.

As you scan through your list again, there may be things that you have no idea how to resolve. Here’s a secret, just by recognizing what you’re tolerating, your unconscious mind will go to work to come up with creative solutions for you. Especially when you approach the situation before it’s freshly bugging you again.

Perhaps there’s a new habit you can create that will help prevent the bug from showing up. Or maybe it’s something you have no real control over. (Hint: These often have to do with other people. Despite what you want, you have no control over other people. I know, I’ve tried.) So, consider ways you can minimize what’s bugging you. And soothe yourself when you’re being bugged.

It’s a small way of taking care of yourself

My suitcases are put away and already I feel lighter, more mobile. There’s room to maneuver in my office once again. Last time I did this, I fixed a squeaky hinge on the dishwasher that had been bugging me for months. I still remember how proud I felt every time I opened or closed the door and it was quiet. I’m already looking forward to the things I can take care, the things I can let go, the opportunities I’ll find to take care of myself in subtle ways. To feel more energetic and capable.

What about you?

Photo Credit: Trip Hazard by me

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2 comments to Time to clean out the bugs

  • I need to do this! It’s dovetails nicely with a blog post I recently wrote about taking action to make things easier.

    But I have to ask, Shannon. Couldn’t you store your suitcases in a place that’s easier to access and make it a little easier on yourself. Like the basement, perhaps? Just a thought.

    Great post!

  • I read that post Janine, you’re right, it does dovetail nicely.

    As for my suitcases, that’s a great point. While the basement isn’t an option, I certainly could move them closer to the opening to the attic, and move things that are accessed less frequently (Grandma’s china let’s say) to the far back.

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