Hidden Hazards of a Tidy Home
Right now keeping a tidy home is all the rage. Between Netflix specials featuring celebrities and clickbait articles cluttering newsfeeds, we are hit over the head with the message that tidy equals good. Tidy is structured. Tidy is organized. Tidy is having it all together. Tidy is not being knocked around by life. Our cultural imaging of the ideal living space doesn’t take into account any of the intricacies of our own unique composition. What works for me won’t work for someone else. My definition of tidy doesn’t always line up with what the “experts” say. I tolerate a different level of mess than my neighbor.
And given that your home can also be a reflection of your current psychological state, the last thing you need when you are going through a slump is another message about how you can’t measure up. Because believe me, every single one of us has a variation of the belief “I’m not good enough” written somewhere in our core. It is part of the human condition. It the seed of shame. And you don’t need anything else adding to that, you feel it enough.
But you do yourself a disservice if you buy into the tidy hype without question, and miss opportunities to bear witness to your own heart. One easy way you can manifest your internal dialogues into physical arrangements is in the way you keep your home. Looking deeply into how you arrange your most personal spaces can be an effective way to clue you into those underlying thought patterns. Is it messy or clean or something in between? Do you have clutter? Is there any evidence of being lived in at all, or does it look like a model home? Where do you keep our family heirlooms, if you have them? What is on the walls? What is in the closet? What’s on display? Where do you land on the spectrum of function versus aesthetics?
The universe answers your call. Good thoughts, bad thoughts, hopes, fears, the universe answers them all. And if your internal climate can have so much power over our external realities, it stands to reason that your life can be a reflection of your beliefs. A clue into the things that are at the core of everything, really. This is what you believe about yourself, about people, about the way the world works, about your religion or spirituality. These ingrained narratives have created neural pathways that can be activated in many different ways, through many different experiences. Since you are so subconsciously clued into all the ways they show up in your life, you end up finding more evidence to support the beliefs which then reinforces the neural pathways that have you on alert for the thing in the first place. You create your reality in a consistent feedback loop.
But just because your house is stationary does not mean that it is necessarily constant. You can have all sorts of states. Messy, clean, rearranged, full of people, empty of people, packed with the lives of thriving plants or those that are desperately clinging to their own life. So your home can also be a reflection of your internal state, your moods, your dispositions. When you are messy, what does that say about your thoughts? What does that say about how you are valuing yourself? When you don’t allow it to get messy at all, what does that mean?
So pay attention to your surroundings. Be open to the possibilities of what you can learn from them. Craft awareness around the markers of your varied emotional states, particularly the ones that linger for a while. Dig into your own core and use your safe spaces as a guide. And be wary of all of the ways the subtle social messaging tries to shame you.
All of that being said, if you are in a funk, a quick clean can be a tangible and easy way to kickstart yourself out of it. Cleaning is manageable, and it is in your control. Don’t catastophize your situation and go down the rabbit hole of the next thing that needs to be cleaned and the next thing that needs to be organized and on and on and on. Or at least, be cautious when you do. Because there will always be something else. But that is the nature of personal growth too. Every step you take brings you to a new vantage point.