Let Go Of Old Ideas; How To Find Your Strengths

If you would like to solve the issue of too much clutter and not enough organization it is important to first understand what characteristics are responsible for getting you in the mess you are in.

Many of us struggle with self awareness so it may be difficult to recognize your own strength and weaknesses.

Finding your strengths and weaknesses

If you want to identify your strength and weaknesses I have a tried and true method for you. I have never seen this process fail by someone putting in the effort. The tool I am talking about is journaling, otherwise known as stream of consciousness writing.

I have been using the tool of writing to clarify things that come up in my life for about 25 years now. I have facilitated many groups of women over the years teaching the technique of journaling or free form writing. There is actually very little to learn about the process.

It is simply a matter of making up your mind you want to make some life changes or possibly reinvent yourself. Just schedule the time, and stick to your plan – no matter what. I can hear you now thinking you don’t have time for one more thing. If you really want change you will find the time.

Like many I personally had to wait until my back was to the wall and I had nowhere else to turn to end the misery. Journaling works so well I call it magical. I witness lives changed often.

Writing is easy and can take as little or as much time as you want

I actually wrote 3 pages this morning. Why? I got my knickers in a twist late yesterday afternoon and wanted some clarity around it. Clarity is exactly what I got. Last night I added ‘writing’ to my schedule for the first thing this morning, with an alert. If I had not been able to let go of the icky feeling yesterday I would have stopped then, pulled out my spiral bound notebook and pen and started to write.

Physical clutter and mental clutter

Most folks living in a cluttered environment just want to get rid of the stuff. I suggest you look within first to learn why you are where you are. Why? Because physical clutter often goes hand in hand in with mental clutter.

Journaling is a very powerful tool to make the changes needed to live an organized clutter free life. The bonus is finding out how you got into this mess, thus giving you a fighting chance of maintaining your new sparkling clean and organized environment.

Why writing?

Writing or journaling allows you to express your thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment or interruption. It allows you to take stock of where you are. We are filled with emotions, some days more than others. Between emotions and our experiences we have lots to write about.

By writing about your feelings and disturbances you will gain a deeper understanding of yourself. You will find behavior patterns, some flattering, some not so much.

You do not have to be a writer

The writing or journaling you will do is known as stream of consciousness or free form writing. Pay no attention to grammar, spelling or punctuation! This is about the only rule.

Just write and let the words in your head flow onto the page one letter at a time. I prefer to write with pen and paper. You may prefer to write your thoughts using a keyboard. Both ways are fine.

The writing will be for your eyes only. Writing fast and using abbreviations is fine as is writing with beautiful penmanship because you like the feel of a comfortable pen. Whatever works for you is fine. Starting is the key.

7 tips to use to identify your strengths and weaknesses:

1 If you want to write with pen and paper or digitally find a quiet place and start writing. If you are wondering about what you should write. Just write anything. If this sounds too simplistic or daunting please help yourself to my free writing prompts.

2 You can write about your past accomplishments and how these accomplishments make you feel.

3 What are you most proud of?

4 You have probably experienced challenges. Write about these.

5 You no doubt have experienced what you consider to be failures. Write about this. What did you learn from this experience? How did this make you feel? How would you do the same thing today?

6 Do you consider yourself to be strong or weak? Why?

7 My favorite question to ask myself is ‘If I wasn’t afraid what would I do?” The answers are exactly what I should be doing!

Reflections

Throughout your busy day let some of the ideas and truths you discovered float through your mind. Look for commonalities. Do some of the same behaviors pop up over and over? Are the behaviors your strengths or your weaknesses. I can get furious when driving my car. This weakness has been confirmed a few times now in the car by my beloved deaf dog.

Road rage

My beloved dog Simon pokes his head up at me as if to ask where his mother went and who are you driving her car. I do not act this way in any other circumstance. By writing about this very thing over and over I now understand this weakness of mine.

I am so much better now that I began to employ strategies to tame my impatience. Progress, not perfection is what I am after. I would never feel the win if I only settled for perfection. Wins are essential!

Being honest

When identifying your strengths and weaknesses, be honest with yourself. It’s silly to put the effort into writing if one can’t get to the truth. It’s easy to focus on our strengths and downplay our weaknesses, but it’s important to acknowledge both.

Time for action!

Make a plan. Start small. Make your goal manageable and achievable. An example may be to write a page of your thoughts in the morning. This is a huge step and easy to manage. You will feel great about following through! Then you can make another plan.

Stream of consciousness writing.

If you are used to journaling this is the same thing. The focus is discovering who you are, not what someone tells you you are. By writing you will come to find who you really are, your wants, needs and desires. Sometimes we are the enemy and sabotage ourselves, sometimes we are the victims and stay stuck. Then there are the times we are just sleepwalking through the days chopping wood and carrying water.

I hope you will try this to help yourself. This process has proven magical for me and the people I have introduced this free form method of journaling to.

I was not in a great space when I started writing many years ago. Today I am exactly where I am supposed to be, doing just the right thing. And the bonus is I am proud of the lady, artist, teacher, sister and friend that I am today.

Marj pic

Marj Bates is a life long ridiculously organized declutterer and artist. Less is more are words Marj lives by in everything she does except collecting dogs. “Dogs are like potato chips! Can’t have just one.” says Marj. Marj wonders if growing up with a fanatically clean Jewish mom means her decluttering and organizational skills are in her blood.

For more Declutter Buzz & Freebies check out our safe and private Decluttering community on our Facebook page. We are a safe and private space of like minded folks tackling this all encompassing clutter thing once and for all. No shame allowed! We will have a few laughs too!

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