I Am a Messy Person: A Lie I Tell Myself

I am not a tidy person. I never have been.

Mess has been part of my identity since I was twirling around in tutus like an unstoppable tornado. I say to my husband “You knew who you married.” Right, wrong or otherwise, I am not a home-maker.

I Am a Messy Person: A Lie I Tell MyselfI say these things as facts, and today, they are. But I am on a journey to improve my self-image. I recently discovered the amazing world of podcasts (yes, I have been living under a rock!)  As most of you already are aware, there are podcasts on almost any topic imaginable: sports, unsolved crimes, economics, parenting, on and on.

Well, I have been listening to several wonderful podcasts about decluttering and becoming tidier and have had two major takeaways:

1. You are your identity

You are your identity, what?! Duh, Emily, I don’t need a podcast or blog article to tell me that. Well, I did. When I tell myself “Oh I’m just messy” “I’m not good at this” “I’m bad at housework”, these negative thoughts are turning into habits, which turn into self-fulfilling prophecies.  If you continually tell yourself these negative thoughts, placing this negative identity on yourself, you will never be motivated to overcome it. You will look for evidence of its truth. You will be limited to who you believe you are.

What can you do to combat these limiting beliefs?

First, recognize they are there. When you hear your mind telling you “I’m not good at housework” find something positive that you ARE good at. It doesn’t matter how small. Maybe you always hang your coat. Maybe you are good at organizing paperwork. Maybe you put your makeup away. Whatever little things you do, celebrate them. Positivity feeds positivity.

Next, once you have recognized things you are good at, think about changing how you identify yourself. Change the mindset from “I’m just a messy person” to “I am a tidy person” or “I am organized.”

“I am” statements are powerful things. What you tell yourself, you are. I, personally, am on a journey of self-improvement. I am striving to empower myself and I cannot feel empowered with negative thoughts. Change the thought, change your identity.

Change my identity?! What about loving myself for who I am and embracing my faults?

There is a difference between embracing your faults and settling for bad habits. We, as women and moms, should confidently say something positive to ourselves daily. Changing how you view yourself will take time, but start small! Look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself “I am amazing, I am tidy, I am me.” Whatever positive affirmations you may already say (if you don’t-START!), add one about your organization. You are no longer an unorganized mess. Tell it to yourself every day. Tell it until it becomes you.

2. Start Small

Anyone has Googled or Pinterest-ed “cleaning schedule” knows the thousands of results that populate– many daily, weekly, monthly, tasks, lists, and to-dos. For me, that is so overwhelming, especially when paired with my previous mindset messy mindset!

I have found that I need to find the little wins and create those habits.

In the past few weeks, I have focused strictly on accomplishing one goal. I am going to run the dishwasher every night before bed. That’s it. That is the one goal that I will turn into a habit. Once it’s a habit, it’s second nature, I won’t have to think twice about doing it. Once it is second nature, I can add another goal: maybe vacuum the living room each night before bed? (But let’s not get crazy!)

Implementing this singularly simple goal of running the dishwasher each night, has developed into so much more! My counters are more open and I wipe them off more frequently. I am more motivated to hand wash items that cannot be run through the dishwasher. When dinner is over my family members actively load their dishes and my children take turns wiping our table and chairs. Others will run around finding any hidden sippy cups, snack plates, wrappers, etc that magically left the kitchen during the day. My home, overall, has become tidier by creating the habit of running the dishwasher.

These two takeaways have helped me on my journey from “messy person” to becoming a tidier me!


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