Monday, May 9, 2011

Does how you keep your house really reflect your self-esteem?

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I think I was reading Shay's blog (BlackGirlinMaine--really well-done blog by the way) and she mentioned the book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy.  I don't know but I'm always looking for "daily books", you know, books with an entry for every day of the year.  Maybe it's a holdover from the days when my family used to do morning devotions with Our Daily Bread (and later I did it on my own with Campus Journal which no longer seems to be in print.)  Anyway, I really enjoy Simple Abundance and I want to purchase it (right now it's on loan from the library).  The entries are not necessarily deep or heavy (especially compared to the books on Buddhism and meditation that currently sit on my altar) but they are thought-provoking and (perhaps this is why the book appeals to me so much) down-to-earth.  Practical.  Little reminders to find the joy and pleasure in life.  To get back to your authentic self.  And revel in it.

Today's entry focused on housekeeping, i.e. how we keep our home:
How we care for our home is a subtle but significant expression of self-esteem.
When I read this, I kind of balked and/or smirked and thought that how we care for our home is more so an expression of how much energy/time we have.  I got on the defensive--even though I keep a pretty clean and orderly house.  When most people visit, they say they feel comfortable and at home.  Now, my house would never make it into any home decorating magazines.  None of our furniture matches and many of our pieces and decorations we have because someone handed it down to us or we bought what we could afford (usually second-hand).  But I try very hard to keep the house tidy.  I have a housekeeping schedule that I try to stick to and while the windows could certainly use a good cleaning, I am meticulous about keeping the bathroom and kitchen especially very clean.  I never go to sleep with dishes in the sink and I sweep the floor every evening.  

Does this show that I esteem myself highly?  I am 100% sure that failing to do these things definitely does not make me feel good about myself.  But is that a good thing?  Some days, I am so tired and stressed that I really do need to let it go.  Instead, I feel just terrible about myself for not doing them.  Like I am not complete if I have not done the chores I set out to do that day.  And I drag myself to do them.  Where's the self-compassion?  Where's the self-love in that?

I also realize that my penchant for a neat and organized house comes from the fact that I grew up in a house that was the opposite.  Things were always scattered everywhere.  It was always cluttered.  And my mom, who suffers from severe asthma, had a very difficult time keeping it clean.  So my drive to keep my home this way comes from a serious psychological need to distance myself from that chaos and establish for myself a surrounding that I can enjoy being in.

So I don't know . . . what do you think?  Is your housekeeping a reflection of your self-esteem?  Or is it just what it is? 


Serenity Love Sincere Peace Earth said...

Yes it is. When I am in a good place, I notice my home is clean and put together. But when I'm not, it's the first thing I lose interest in. And I love waking up in a fresh clean house just reeking of phenol! Just doing a few things goes a long way in brightening up my day.

Nicky said...

I'm in 100% agreement with Serenity. When I'm in a good place ... that place of healing loving thoughts towards myself and others, my house literally sparkles. When I'm not ... it's literally a dump. Anytime I want to get back to my "good" place, one of the first things I do is cleanup.

Untidiness scrambles my mind and makes me all kinds of crazy and angry.

Nothing in my house is fancy or costly, but I try to make it welcoming and clean, esp in the kitchen and bathroom. So I agree, in my case, how I keep my house does reflect on my self-esteem.

Trudie said...

I sort of agree. When my house is a mess, it makes me a mess, but the house isn't a mess because i am a mess in the first place. it's a mess because i have so much to do, i have become overwhelmed. In the end, I MUST tidy and clean in order to be calm again. I think the house affects my mood, not my mood affecting the house.

Blackgirlinmaine said...

The state of my house is definitely a reflection of what's going on inside. It's never super messy, rarely are dishes in the sink, bathrooms are clean, etc. But the clutter is an issue. When I am in a funk, the clutter especially with my daughter's stuff can get out of hand and when that happens I am generally in a ugh state of mind.

Earlier this year in preparation for my dad moving in, I did a major decluttering that has mostly held and its been great for my mental state.

Waking up in a neat orderly space in my mind sets a tone for the day.

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