What do you mean “happy starts at home”?
Have you noticed the plethora of get-happy-fast and get-organized-now books on the bookshelves? We all seem to be chasing the dream of joy, simplicity, and contentment, and if the popularity of Pinterest and HGTV tell us anything, it’s that we crave that at-home feeling and want in on the secret of the happy life and happy home.
Over the next several months we are going to explore the idea of home and how it can help improve our lives not just within the four walls of our house, but also in our relationships, our health and well-being, our financial and professional success, and more.
Today we begin with a look at the whole picture. Let’s think about what is really in our house in the first place, and consider why it matters.
What we have
Where did the things in your home come from? How did they physically get into your personal space? Did you buy them? Were they hand-me-downs? Antiques from within the family? Gifts from in-laws? Left-overs from previous relationships?
Things tend to show up in our homes, sometimes on purpose, sometimes without our consent. The one constant, however, is that things tend to flow into our homes and, unless we have developed an active habit of letting things go, they rarely flow out. This means that we end up surrounded by objects that in some cases never meant anything to us at all, and by objects that once had meaning but have outlived their usefulness, or worse, now evoke bad memories and old relationships.
Why it matters
We’ve been told that the friendships we maintain and the people with whom we associate will determine the trajectory of our success. We have also learned that how we dress influences our success through the way other people respond to us, pay us, and promote us, not to mention affecting the way we see and carry ourselves. Likewise, the environment that we wake up to every day, and the space that we sleep in every night, can’t help but influence our mental well-being. In short, our space either supports our goals and dreams and all the hard work we put into our self-development… or it sabotages all that effort. While it’s wonderful to learn good nutrition from your health coach, you’ll have a hard time preparing healthy meals if your kitchen prevents you from cooking with ease. And while it’s great to want to spend more time having conversations as a family, if your entire living space is focused on the TV then you’re fighting a battle you simply can’t win.
“Home-work” (a simple exercise to help you improve your space)
Pick a room in your home (either your favorite room, or your most frustrating room) and list fifteen items in that space. Next to each item write down where it came from and how you feel about it. Put a plus-sign next to each item that makes you feel mostly positive, and a minus-sign next to each item that makes you feel mostly negative. If you have more plus-signs than minus-signs, great! Figure out how to change up a few of those minus-sign items to make your space even happier. If you have more minus-signs than plus-signs, take a moment to think about how you ended up surrounded by so many objects that create negative feelings for you. Then make a plan for how you are going to get rid of, or change, at least one of those negative items this week!
Happy Starts at Home is chock-full of exercises like the one above. Next month we’ll take a look at how our home affects our financial health and success, but if you want to move a little faster, you can get your hands on the whole book at Amazon.
To your happy home!
Note: Originally published in Uniquely Northwest in June 2016