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Life-changing Lessons You Can Learn From Cleaning Your House

Life-changing Lessons You Can Learn From Cleaning Your House

Cleaning is a “delicate” subject for all of us – I never met a person who likes to clean the house, except for those who suffer from OCD, but that’s another story. For a regular person, cleaning is a chore which most of us postpone as much as possible. Even if you do know that a clean house has a lot of benefits for your wellness, from making you happier, more likely to exercise to giving you an eerie sense of accomplishment, cleaning remains one of the most unpleasant tasks. But when you do dive into cleaning head first, embracing the entire process, you can learn a lot of life lessons, as strange as it may sound.

1. Learn to let go

This is the most important lesson I found when I last cleaned my house: Let go! Remember how stylists say that if you have never worn a certain clothing in the past year, just let it go? Well, the same goes for decluttering the relationships in your life. As I was giving away my old skirts and never-worn pants from my last year in college, I realized I had to let go to some people in my life too. If a relationship ceases to bring you joy, just let it go. But…

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2. Do hold on to really important things

As important as it is to let go, it’s equally important to hold on to things which bring you joy and beautify your life. If your old pair of sneakers is still making you feel like you can conquer the world, keep them. Even if you don’t actually wear them outside. The same goes for people and relationships in your life: if it fills your heart with joy, keep them! Which brings me to the next point…

3. Small things are the most important

When it’s cleaning time, you can find out what really matters to you. You will be amazed to discover some small things that mean a lot to you. When you start cleaning the desk or the drawers, you will stumble upon lots of trinkets. In my case, I found how much a small piece of paper meant, when my cleaning maid wanted to throw away something that turned out to be a treasured map. A long time ago, before the poor piece of paper became stained and limp, this small map of Dublin was the only memory I had of a dear friend I met in Dublin. She used this very same map when she first arrived in the city and she then gave it so I could move around the city without getting lost. The map always reminded me of the times I spent in Dublin with my dear friend. So, instead of throwing it away, I framed it and displayed it on my desk. The lesson of the day: Sometimes small things matter the most!

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4. Everyone hides a mess

When you finally get serious about your cleaning, you will discover plenty of places you haven’t cleaned in ages. Like underneath the couch or behind the stove. Not only do these places look gross, they are also filled with germs that damage your health. Everyone has some kind of hidden mess. And that mess is not only behind the stove, it can even something that causes communication issues between you and your partner. It can be the reason you don’t speak with your parents anymore. It can be that dirty secret which lead to your divorce. It’s normal to have hidden messes in your life, but one day you need to deal with them. The sooner, the better. Just like you take soap and a brush to scrub the dirt behind the couch, take your courage and scrub all the dirt from your life, from toxic people and relationships to communication issues and whatever else you may find. Don’t judge, just scrub!

5. Never give up!

Cleaning might be hard and unpleasant, but never give up! This is probably the most important lesson you can learn from cleaning your house. There maybe times when you feel overwhelmed. No matter how hard it is, never give up on what you have started. The most important thing in life is to keep going, no matter what. Push yourself one more step ahead and you will achieve your goal.

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Happy cleaning!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via images.unsplash.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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