One of the most pervasive and hardest hurdles for trauma survivors to climb over during the healing process is the damage done to the concept of self. Trauma changes how we view ourselves. In fact, trauma commonly makes it difficult to even recognize ourselves in the mirror. Words can come out of our mouths and we can do and say things that we would have thought we would have never said or done. I’ve heard countless of survivors beat themselves up for the disconnect they feel inside themselves. “I don’t know why I did that” or “why did I say that?” is something I hear almost daily. Many survivors, even years after the healing process has begun, constantly feel frustrated with themselves for behaving in a way that the trauma has influenced them to behave.
Marie Kondo, the star of the Netflix show Tidying Up and founder of the KonMari tidying method, is no stranger to the concept of mindfulness. Her western clients look at her with confusion and a little bit of intrigue as she meditates in each house to “greet the space.” As bamboozled as many of her American followers are by her habit of being mindful, it’s almost impossible to watch the show and not use her methods to tidy your entire home. I, myself, have taken three trips to the thrift store this week to drop off the items that “didn’t spark joy.”
The KonMari Method has gained such popularity, in my opinion, due to the fact that it doesn’t push too hard. Having grown up watching popular shows on TLC about cleaning up spaces, professional organizers would often leave their clients in tears, making the hard decisions to throw away things that they no longer need. However, the KonMari Method of tidying up your spaces doesn’t require you to force yourself to do anything. You hold each item and you ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?”; and if it does you keep it, and if it doesn’t you can toss it out. Obviously, things you need an use regularly are no-brainers, but other items are sorted out by whether or not they spark joy. For sentimental people like myself, the second question came in handy as a suspicious amount of things I never use were sparking joy: “Do I see this in my life moving forward?”
Throwing away such things can bring up a lot of guilt for many of us; therefore, Kondo recommends “thanking” items that have served you but that aren’t going to be a part of your life moving forward. It wasn’t long into my tidying process that I realized how many things I could now toss away that weren’t serving me after I was mindful to show gratitude towards those items. My house has never been more tidy, and I didn’t have to force myself to do anything I wasn’t ready to do.
Now, when it comes to our thoughts, things would be much more straight-forward if we could just not think thoughts that don’t bring us joy. Everyone does or says things they regret or don’t completely understand, whether we’ve endured severe trauma or not. However, many of us feel alone. The process of healing and sorting through our own minds is just that: a process. The same way that holding the contents of my junk drawer and asking if they bring joy or are going to be in my life moving forward is arduous and often boring and frustrating, so is evaluating our own thoughts. However, Marie Kondo-ing your life isn’t limited to going through the contents of your house. Mindfulness is applicable anywhere in our lives, and we can use similar methods of sorting through or thoughts as we do for our homes.
1.) Listen to your thoughts
The concept of mindfulness encourages the notion that thoughts are like clouds, and that we can watch them and observe them as they go by without getting lost in them. Have you ever heard yourself think something cruel and think “jeez, I need to chill”? We’ve all been there. The idea here is to listen to what we’re thinking to ourselves, and try to not judge those thoughts for being there. Yes, perhaps chilling would be a good idea, but we’