Have you ever noticed how much more work gets done when two people committed to the process join forces? It’s often astounding! Easily three to four times as much work gets accomplished when two people work together clearing clutter. The energy of the interaction between the two people can create a momentum that is just not possible when you work solo.
If it’s possible to make great strides when two or more are gathered together to clear clutter, why do so many people resist asking for help with that on-going challenge?
Following are some common reasons and my thoughts about each of them.
Fear of judgment–New clients often tell me that they are embarrassed for me to see their space. They are afraid I will judge them harshly. Why? Because they already judge themselves harshly. They may have already experienced judgement from well-meaning family and friends. Judgment hurts. My question to them is, “Will you get what you really want if you keep avoiding judgment?” Avoidance keeps people stuck.
If you make a good choice about the person you ask for help, preferably NOT close family members and judgmental friends, you could experience something other than judgment–the opportunity receive help that could change your life for the better.
Fear of being beholden to anyone–Some people have such a hard time managing their own life that they can’t imagine having any time or energy to help anyone else. If they accept help from someone, they may feel they should return the favor if asked to do so. Perhaps they hate clutter clearing. Perhaps they feel unqualified to be much help. Perhaps they are afraid they won’t be able to make the time or find the energy to help.
Believe it or not, some people feel it’s an honor to be asked for help. And, some people actually give of their time and energy because it brings them pleasure. When you ask for help it really is a compliment to the person you’re asking because it’s an indication that you think they can help you. If the person cares about you they also get the chance to spend time with you. That may be all they ever want from you.
Belief that “I should be able to do this by myself”–In the United States the American Way is to need no one but yourself. What a bunch of junk! How lonely and how inefficient! There are so many things that are much more easily done with help from another. And, for some people, clutter clearing is one of those things! Some people are just not wired to attack a project that requires expert decision-making and organizing skills. Give them a helper and their level of performance increases exponentially!
If you’ve committed to regaining control of your home or office by clearing clutter and it’s just not getting done, asking for help is the only step that makes sense. Asking for help and interdependence should be the American way!
Fear of loss of control–”I’m such a wimp, I’m afraid I’ll just go along and then regret all that we do later after all my important stuff is gone.” Some people worry that they won’t be able to assert themselves adequately if they are getting help from someone else.
Getting help could be an excellent opportunity to not only clear clutter and get more clarity about what really matters to you, it could be a chance to practice asserting yourself with someone safe, someone who is willing to honor your wishes.
Fear of being controlled–”If I let her in to help me, she might make me get rid of my stuff!” For some people, asking for help is synonymous with being controlled. And, you don’t want anyone else to tell you what to do with your belongings.You have the illusion of being in control when you and only you are responsible for the clutter in your home or office. Of course, you can’t find what you need when you need it or accomplish your goals in a timely manner, but it’s your responsibility, so you are in control! Nonsense!
There are people who will try to control you and what you do with your stuff. Those are the people you don’t want to ask for help! You get to choose! Choose either a professional organizer trained to guide clients to an improved living situation without coercion or a special friend who is helpful, willing to honor your wishes and not judgmental and controlling.
Fear of loss of relationship–Have you ever wondered why you haven’t been invited into the home of a relative or friend? Many fear that if others see the truth about how they live, they’ll be judged harshly and written off. Hiding the truth of their struggle is a better option than rejection.
Being seen is risky. It could lead to rejection by people who don’t understand your reality. But, living a lie costs you as well. It keeps you isolated and alone with your struggle. Getting help from someone safe, someone capable of treating you with respect no matter how awful the mess, could release you from your self-imposed prison. Imagine life free of the shame and embarrassment you currently feel. Isn’t it worth the risk?
If you identify with any of the reasons listed above, and you are sick of being stuck in your own mess, reach out and get some good help. If finding good help is a challenge, go to www.NAPO.net and search for a professional organizer in your area. Interview several people until you find a person whose knowledge and personality are a good match for your needs. Get help and get on with your life! You’ll be amazed at how fast you progress when you get the right kind of help.