Decluttering Your Inner Circle

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Clutter: to fill or cover with scattered or disordered things that impede movement or reduce effectiveness (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). When we think of clutter, we think of material things. But clutter can present itself in many forms and places. Have you ever examined the people you call friends and family and felt like every single one of those individuals added value to your life because they either support you and your mission, or help you grow? Most of us don’t even think about this because friendships and relationships either happen naturally, or they are a consequence of other relationships. In other words, we’re sort of pushed into them.

What if I told you that those who make up your inner circle or you spend the most time with can influence you more than you’d know? Would you re-examine your friendships and relationships then? If you were to make an honest evaluation of the people in your life, would you find people that impede your movement? Do any of them seem to reduce your effectiveness to be happy in life?

Not all clutter comes in an inanimate form. Some examples of this type of clutter would be people who never have time to see you, yet they’re quick to call you for help or advice. A significant other who’s charming but emotionally abusive. Sometimes it’s people you simply don’t share values with. Maybe you believe in accomplishing goals, being positive, and making a positive impact in the world, while their life revolves around other things which you may deem superficial or negative. Just as it is important to declutter our living space, it’s equally important to declutter our inner circle. Failure to do so brings about consequences that can become bigger burdens than we sometimes realize. Note that the clutter doesn’t only pertain to friends. The same concept applies to family and coworkers. You may not be able to cut them out of your life completely, but you can certainly set new boundaries, create some distance, and implement changes that will keep those people from becoming a bigger burden than they should be. Being able to recognize who these people are is the first step.

If all the people in your life facilitate either your spiritual, emotional, or professional growth, then congratulations! you have fine-tuned your ability to block out the bullshit. However, for some of us who sometimes fail to recognize when something is hindering us more than helping us, it’s important to take inventory and make a conscious decision to let go of those people who are blatantly (and oftentimes very subtly) toxic, selfish, advantageous, or simply not adding any value to our lives. If there is anyone that you stay in touch with regularly, whether it’s a family member or a friend, that makes you feel heavy, stressed, angry, sad, or anxious, then you should ask yourself why you are choosing to dedicate your time to this individual. What value is that person adding to your existence to make them worthy of taking up space in your life? If you answer that question truthfully, you’ll probably realize that you’re only holding on to them because of fear. Fear of loneliness, fear of upsetting, fear of conflict, and fear of judgement. But there’s no point in holding on to things that don’t add value to our lives or are no longer serving us.

Just like we try to get rid of bad habits and replace them with good ones, we also need to reevaluate our relationships. No matter how intimidating or scary the thought of letting go of someone may seem, you owe it to yourself to minimize the clutter in your life and be happy. There’s nothing wrong with being selective about the people you keep around you. After all, there’s a wise saying that says, you are the average of the five people that you spend the most time with. If happiness and self-development are important to you, then it’s up to you to minimize the things that impede you and reduce your effectiveness to be happy.

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