Spring Cleaning: For Your Head, Not Just Your Home

By: Behnam Bakhshandeh

February 10, 2003
(Revised November 2019)

Spring is here! That means cleaning our homes – but what about our heads?

We clean, organize and beautify our homes; yet we clutter our heads – our most intimate space – with the emotional equivalents of trash, dust, and junk. We hold onto anger, resentment and frustration. Why do we make more effort to clean our physical spaces than our heads?

Cleaning our heads starts with understanding how we relate to the world through our relationships with ourselves, with others, and with what we do. In terms of ourselves, we listen to our inner chatter more than anything else. It is the chatter that drives our decisions, draws our conclusions and makes us believe nonsense: I am not good enough. I am not attractive. I am not smart. Nobody wants me.

There is not much difference between how we relate to ourselves and how we relate to others. We make decisions about them too. Our inner chatter finds evidence to condemn them. They are inconsiderate, unreliable, uncaring, uncommitted.

You probably think that’s not you – that you always try to find the good in people. But be honest – you must own your darkness as well as your light. You cannot love anyone unless you love yourself, and you cannot love yourself unless you own your humanity wholly – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

If we are brave enough to look, we will see all the relationships we have abandoned, the dysfunctional family relationships, the jobs we have left, or lost because we couldn’t get along with others.

Now let’s look at what we think about what we do – about our jobs: Hard. Unfulfilling. We feel unappreciated and misunderstood.

Now consider your relationship to the world itself, to the world we have created. It’s a world we’ve been trying to change for a long time, but that so far has left us unhappy.

We see that world as a place that is unsafe and intimidating, where we’re trying to make it, trying to not get hurt; where we’re resigned, where there’s no possibility.

When we really dig into the inner chatter that consumes our minds, don’t you think it’s time to pick up a broom and get to work?

You might think about where should I start? It’s too hard. It will take a long time. You might be right, but consider your options: Do what you have always done, or choose a new way of being and make a difference in your life, the lives of others and, ultimately, in your experience of life itself.

Neither choice is good or bad, right or wrong. But each will have drastically different consequences.

Change takes time, determination, and practice. You already have years of practice becoming who you have become. So it will take practice to master who you want to become next.

What kind of experiences do you want in life? Would you rather merely not fail, or do you strive to succeed? Would you instead settle for just okay, or do you want to go for great? The difference will live in the cleaning you decide to do, or not!

If you are resigned and think you can’t get rid of that clutter, think again. Try this approach:

1. Acknowledge that you have disempowered yourself and others and that you have been a complainer.

2. Determine the benefit of holding onto those complaints.

3. Contemplate the excuses you use for not letting go of those complaints.

4. Clean up by forgiving yourself, contacting others and “cleaning” with them, and make up your mind about how you will live your life.

When you compare the benefits of letting go of your complaints with what the complaining costing you, it’s obvious that you are holding onto something insignificant, and that you’re wasting precious life over it.

You can let sunlight stream through your windows, create surfaces that sparkle and breathe the air deeply that is fresh and clean. It’s possible if you pick up a broom and tackle the clutter in your head.

Author's Bio: 

Behnam Bakhshandeh is an accomplished business manager, known widely as a dynamic writer, speaker, and personal/professional development expert. Implementing his skills as a passionate, visionary leader, he produces extraordinary results in record time. Behnam brings his broad experience and successful track record to each project, whether it involves personal development, implementing customer-focused programs, integrating technologies, marketing, redesigning operational core processes, or delivering strategic initiatives.