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12 Struggles Only Tidy People Would Understand

12 Struggles Only Tidy People Would Understand

When my uncle visited the UK in the 1930s, he threw away an empty cigarette packet. A lady, who was passing, picked it up and said “Is this yours?” My uncle replied “Yes, but I don’t want it.” The lady snootily replied “And nether do we” as she proffered the empty packet to my astounded uncle. He always claimed that this lesson on tidiness was never forgotten. I am not so sure but my uncle’s house was much tidier than ours. However, I suspect my aunt and my obsessively tidy cousin had a lot to do with that, somehow. If you are tidy like them, you will resonate with the struggles that tidy people can only understand.

1. You fear the apocalypse is near

You know when friends say that they cannot perform basic chores like doing the laundry and are not comfortable with washing machines, a shiver goes down your spine. This is when you think that the preppers are right and the end is really imminent.

2. You do not suffer from a disorder

By now, you are sick and tired of your loved ones and friends telling you that you are on the Obsessively Compulsive Disorder (OCD) spectrum. Depending on their mood, you are mildly affected or you are so deranged that you need treatment. But you only want everything nice and tidy. You fight down the resentment, dislike and even hatred.

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3. You know that nobody else can meet your standards

You look at the so-called tidy room or cleaned up kitchen. You immediately see crumbs on the floor and reach for the brush. You even start thinking about cleaning down the draining board and just doing a quick tidy up. You decide that silence is golden yet again and retreat defeated.

4. You have a phobia about open drawers and cupboards

Perhaps it is a bit obsessive but how can all those things be left like that? You close them immediately. Then you have to decide whether it is worth nagging your significant other for the 1,199th time. Those drawers and cupboards cannot survive when open so you feel quite justified as you slam them shut.

5. You wish empty containers would just disappear

You see the empty packets lying around abandoned in the fridge or cabinets. They are empty so they should not be there. You cannot understand what logic or reasoning people are using when they never put them in the garbage.

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6. You are tired of homeless objects

Clothes, books, dishes, and cutlery. Those lovely things once had a home. That home was comfortable and tidy! Now these objects are all like abandoned waifs and strays and you are the only one who cares about rehousing them.

7. You try so hard not to be judgemental

God knows how difficult it is! You resist for the millionth time using words like untidy, messy, dirty, sloppy when talking to your loved ones but you do not always succeed. You do wish that you could work together as a team but most of the other family members seem to be ready for an interstellar experience.

8. You could open a household cleaning store

Cleanliness is next to godliness so you have stocked up on every cleaning material imaginable. Of course you have to put up with all the jokes about opening a shop and so on. You just smile affably while you polish, tidy, dust, and wash even more.

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9. You hate being invited to lunch

It does not always happen. Some of your hosts are quite tidy. But when you are invited to lunch at a messy person’s house, the torture you endure goes off the scale. You avert your eyes from the mess but it is everywhere. You try looking at the ceiling but there are cobwebs there. There is nowhere safe so you keep your eyes on your host or on your lap. I still think about my friend who had to endure lunch, knowing that the host was putting the dirty dishes in the bidet!

10. You blame the Internet

All the mess addicts you know are probably spending far too much time hanging out online. You resist the evangelical approach to try and convert them and just shrug your shoulders. Social media is just a tool to use wisely or foolishly. Now, if they only used some of that Facebook time in cleaning and tidying up, everyone would be much happier.

11. You fantasize about a huge de-cluttering event

You dream about de-cluttering. This could be the event of the year. Imagine getting rid of all that junk, housing everything decently and buying lovely storage units in which to put everything. Discarding old books, papers and clothes is a joy. Dream on!

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12. You may be a little obsessive

You have to admit that life is not so black and white. But the philosophy which teaches that messiness is a problem and tidiness is the solution is still enormously appealing. Now, why can’t everyone be neat and tidy?

Featured photo credit: Topiary/xlibber via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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