The book started addressing stories in the latest chapter, but so much so that I had to read the next chapter as well because it made me feel as if this entire process was impossible. For a moment I felt as if I had denied all the stories of items I had decluttered before this point, and I felt mired to the stories I told myself from my current clutter.
If you have seen the pictures I'm sure you are wondering what stories could actually be there for me to get mired to, but my heart felt them. My head began to tell them. They had us write a story about the chair we were sitting in. Stop for a moment and think about what you are sitting on right now. Think about where you got it, what it means to you, and realize there is a story there. For me it was the couch in the living room, for heaven's sake, but before I finished my story I was in tears. And then I started thinking about all the corners of clutter and I realized I had stories there as well.
I know I have a tendency to be more emotional than the next fella, but, friends, I was shocked at how I suddenly realized my attachment to these corners. And I realized there were even more corners I had not taken pictures of where my heart was pulled as well. And to a degree, that is exactly how it should be within your home.
But then I started thinking about the criticism and judging I have been doing, and I realized that so often we give our own stories too much power, and the stories of others not enough. After all, if we understand someone, and know their story, we are less likely to judge someone. But as the past few posts show you, I have not been realizing the power of your stories. Now, if something has ever felt hypocritical this surely does.
We live our lives based on the stories we know, the stories we have grown up telling ourselves, the stories others have told us about ourselves. This is how we come to label ourselves and others, to be quite honest. Sometimes those stories are straight out lies, and sometimes those stories simply need to be redressed. Oh, don't get me wrong, there are a multitude of stories which are just as they should be and should only be cherished.
What I thought was brilliant in the book was the acknowledgement that some stories should not be tackled on our own. They had a scale and specifically said that if a story fell in a certain area that you should have a friend or professional help you deal with that story, no matter what the story is connected to.
I cannot live your stories, and you cannot live mine. This is why our own stories are so important. But they are our stories, our stories are not us. And in the next few chapters the authors promise to start addressing how we can begin to readdress the stories that need to be readdressed, and separate our stuff from the stories which mean so much. And maybe through this process I will also learn how to appreciate another person's story rather than judging it.