Cleaning Up My Mess – True Self Care or Keeping Up Appearances?

I’m sure most people would list living in a clean and orderly environment as being high on their list of self-care priorities. After all, living in a messy environment is not nurturing or supportive for anyone. For quite some time now I’ve been pondering whether the way I clean my surroundings is truly caring and supportive, or pure function carried out only for the sake of keeping up appearances.

When I create mess and disorganisation, I know it is a reflection of the relationship I have with life and the relationship I have with myself. At times I have found myself heaping harsh judgement on others when I clock the mess they live in, and I’ve certainly harshly judged myself too.

I have begun to appreciate that the reason why we do things and the resulting quality we do things in is more important than what we actually do. My hurried tidy-ups before guests arrive and hidden drawers full of odds and ends don’t honour the importance of my relationship with myself and my environment. In fact, they show me that I am living in a way that is anything but supportive.

Each pile of clothing or solitary utensil left on the kitchen bench seems to make it more difficult for me to feel what is going on around me. When the kitchen is a mess, I can’t even cook a decent meal because I feel ‘all over the place.’ This revelation has helped me to make sense of the tangled relationship I have had with mess throughout my life. I am beginning to see that I’ve often found myself living in a messy way, despite the fact that I dearly love simplicity and order.

When I was a child, my room was constantly messy. I can remember ‘cleaning’ my room by shoving whatever I was playing with under my bed. This went unnoticed for quite a while. It got to the point where I had trouble sleeping, as I would lay in bed feeling stressed about what lay beneath me. Yes, the mess was horrible but it was my secret; it felt too big to sort out on my own and I didn’t seek help, as I was scared of the consequences.

Eventually I stuffed so many clothes, toys, shoes and half-eaten sandwiches (yes sandwiches!) under my bed that they lifted the mattress! When my ruse was eventually discovered, I felt a mixture of shame and relief. I was in big trouble and I had no choice but to start cleaning up. It was hard to face at the time but when everything was back in order I was able to sleep soundly once again.

I grew up feeling that cleaning was either a punishment or a chore. My mum worked hard to keep the house clean for the whole family but I took this for granted as being ‘what mums do.’ I only helped out when it suited me. I struggled to keep my bedroom in order right up until my early 30’s and I often felt ashamed of the way I kept my personal space.

I’ve lived in share houses for most of my adult life and although I was generally able to keep common areas tidy, my bedroom was more often than not a huge mess that I did my best to hide from others. Around seven years ago a friend needed to use my ensuite at short notice and discovered how messy my bedroom was. I was completely mortified and I have cringed whenever I thought of this moment as the years went by as I felt that my messy way of living exposed the fact that I was not a good, ‘normal,’ clean and caring person.

Real changes began for me about three years ago when I had a chat with Serge Benhayon. Serge shared that he religiously makes his bed every day, as this is part of his commitment to himself and his commitment to life. I realised that up until this point I would usually only make my bed because I was hastily preparing for a visit from a friend or family member. I viewed cleaning as a waste of time, something that you occasionally did to keep up appearances and I absolutely could not see the point of making a bed that I was just going to sleep in again that night.

After this conversation with Serge I began to make my bed every single day, even if there was no chance anyone except me would see my handiwork. My choice to make my bed has become as important to me as getting dressed.

And if I do leave the house without making my bed or tidying my room?

Well it’s a sure-fire sign that I’m choosing to create stress and complication for myself. Cleaning, keeping my environment tidy and making my bed each day have become essential parts of my commitment to self-care and order.

It has taken me a long time to admit that I was making a mess in order to avoid feeling how powerful, aware and responsible I really am. Now I can see that I have used mess as a (somewhat putrid) security blanket to help me dull down what I feel.

Today I started to clean up some mess that I had begun to accumulate. I felt more clarity as I brought order to each part of my room. When judgmental thoughts about the choices that lead to the mess being there in the first place came up, they were swiftly thrown out with the garbage.

Now I know that cleaning up my mess can support my connection to the truth of who I am. When I make my connection to my Soul my first priority, when I am cleaning or in fact doing anything for myself and the quality is truly caring and supportive, I am then able to offer true support to others.

Cleaning up our mess is a task that goes far beyond our relationship with the physical world. As I bring order to my environment, I begin to see that my relationship with objects and mess is simply a reflection of the relationship I have with myself and with life. And the more I throw out the things that do not support me, the more space there is to feel just how amazing I really am.

Over the past seven years I have cleaned up the mess in my body through the elimination of alcohol, cigarettes, gluten and dairy, and I’ve cleaned up my relationships by taking responsibility, letting go of reactions and supporting myself to give and receive love. I am beginning to see that there is always something rotten to let go of and something wonderful waiting to take its place. When we clean to keep up appearances or meet an ideal, we are cheating ourselves and everyone else. True self-care simply supports our connection to ourselves. When we choose self-care we support ourselves to feel the truth of who we are.

A huge thank you to Serge Benhayon for giving me the support I needed to start pulling things out from under the bed, and making it too!

By Leonne Sharkey

Further Reading:
Clearing Out Clutter – The Room at the Back of the House
The Power of Making My Bed in Love
What’s all the Fuss about Self-Care?

683 thoughts on “Cleaning Up My Mess – True Self Care or Keeping Up Appearances?

  1. What I have learnt about cleaning up ones mess, is that it there is a greater responsibility to this than I ever imagined. I have learnt that there are consequences for the actions we take in life. For the first time I get the law of physics about the opposite and equal effects of energy. I now really understand passed lives and the effect of Karma that is carried from life to life. I personally feel that I have spent most of this life clearing my irresponsibility from my past lives where now I stand clear as it were ready to go forward.
    This I has to say is all thanks to the teaching and presentation of Serge Benhayon and his family who have supported me and thousands of others to understand the great profoundness of life and that we are much more than we seem. I have learnt the truth of this.

  2. Taking steps towards a responsibility no matter how big or small is a marker of moving towards living at ease with the world.

  3. We cling to cleanliness as an answer in itself, but it’s not. What it offers us is a powerful reflection of what’s truly going on energetically in our life. Maybe our house is spotless but tightly controlled? Maybe it’s pretty clean but cluttered where we go to bed? It’s all just offering us a metaphor for how we choose to live our life – thank you Leonne.

  4. Thank you Leonne, this is a very supportive blog which I receive healing and insights from for myself with each read. I appreciated what you wrote about keeping things clean and tidy not just being about your dedication to self care, but also about your dedication to order – I had not really considered that point before.

  5. We can present ourselves as being organised but still feel the tension of control that does not allow us to feel the flow and simplicity that we can all live.

  6. I love anything to do with cleaning but do not have as much time as I would like to devote to it. Having said that I’ve just cleaned the living room of my study books and it feels amazing to clear this space – today I finished my course, and it seemed fitting to find a home for the books. Mini celebration in the form of cleaning – love it.

  7. Learning to clean up our mess is best learned at a young age because it is something that we have to do for the rest of this life and when we return to do it all again and again and again.

  8. It is interesting, this notion that a messy environment can actually be a barrier to feeling. Because everything can be felt all of the time, there is no great secret to this, energy is present in everything and as energetic being we can surly be aware of and feel everything too. So, to construct or to configure our environments in such a way that creates a dullness is quite clever really, and just goes to show how much sensitivity there is within us all.

  9. I have always loved restoring order through cleaning but it has only been in recent years through meeting Serge Benhayon that I have discovered how important the depth and quality of love and care we are with ourselves brings a true spaciousness and flow to our body and our environment.

  10. It is a truly liberating thing to clean up our own mess, irrespective of how big or small that mess actually is.

  11. Our homes are a reflection of our bodies… Every time I have shifted and cleared or healed something from inside, ( and old belief or hurt), this has always followed by the impulse to clean and declutter my living space: as the old saying goes; as within so without.

  12. When I give care, and attention to any room in my home, it always feels so much warmer, so much more inviting and open. Everything counts even the small touches of love by adding a bunch of flowers or burning a smelly candle. Each touch of love building and communicating what needs sorting or doing next.

  13. Mess can be such a great place to hide but in fact it clouds our view and outlook on life, so when we clean it up, we naturally feel more space and in that space we can commit more deeply to both ourselves and life. And the idea that if we do find something rotten in our clean-up, it’s an opportunity to let it go and in that we have more space to feel more of who we are and the power we really are.

    1. If we are using mess to hide then it could be said that in some of those cases mess is a form of protection. Not something we would normally associate mess with!

  14. I love how life plays out and shows everything what is happening inside us with symbols or scenarios that just represents everything. Like keeping the garbage underneath your bed- showing you you are holding onto stuff and don´t want to be as clear as you could be. Especially during night we clear ourselves from all the intensities of the day, burdening us with items underneath the bed, that are unsupportive, logically will make it harder energetically for us to become clear. How everything is a reflection for us and that true change in the outer starts always first with a YES to ourselves.

  15. I can certainly remember that cleaning up when I was young was a bit of a chore. I still carry the left-overs of that with me but I so love living in a beautiful clean clear house that I surrender to the cleaning and then end up really enjoying it. It is especially lovely when someone else is also cleaning alongside you, as it were, and a dialogue about the new upgrade happens!

  16. ‘I grew up feeling that cleaning was either a punishment or a chore.’ I certainly felt that cleaning was a chore, something to brace myself for, harden and get on with. But what if we see it as a beautifully supportive tool to support us to feel great in life… who does not feel gorgeous in their body when a room is tidy, clean and everything is in place?

  17. I love cleaning, de-cluttering, cleansing … for the change and shift you can feel afterwards in yourself and in the energy of the place. It feels lighter, brighter, zestier. Conversely, hoarding stuff feels dead, heavy, sluggish.. and the body moves or has those same qualities too. It really is a no-brainer to keep things as simple as you can, to operate in life as simple as you can too.

    1. I love de-cluttering and cleaning as well! It is a constant support I supply myself to have a new foundation of truth and adjusting to the level I am at. And in fact whoever that visits our home, gets the blessing of a pure and claimed space as well.

  18. My personal “no go” area is a drawer full of messy stuff that doesn’t belong anywhere, and often isn’t even needed. It sits like a drain hole sucking any ability to confirm the order that is so loved by me. In my new home, a detox is occurring that is leaving no stone unturned given there is no space for anything that is not needed. It occurs to me that regardless of whether a home is large or small, there is still no space truthfully for anything that is not needed.

    1. That could be a quite confronting but a liberating process, I know for me I have held beliefs that I need to “hang onto things just in case I need them in the future”.

  19. So what do we not want to deal with or truly feel? As to me a mess anywhere in our life reflects this … and I know this one well! Being with this more what I can feel for me is an underlying anxiousness yet when I do clear spaces it feels really good and very supportive so therefore is creating a mess ultimately about sabotaging ourselves to not be all that we can be and for life to be simple and have a true order and flow?

  20. Cleaning up our mess, whether it is refining our diet, saying no to abusive thoughts and behaviours is a necessary part of bringing self care into our lives.

  21. “When we choose self-care we support ourselves to feel the truth of who we are” .. otherwise it gets hidden under a mountain of stuff!

  22. Cleaning up for me also is similar to completing. Without completion, nothing new and even bigger, grander and more loving and glorious can start. So a very supporting action for me to put in my daily rhythm. Also so that I don’t have to take it into my sleep and cause restlessness there.

  23. No matter how small I may think something is tidying it up no doubt has an impact on my body. It makes me appreciate whether ‘good’ or ‘bad’ the impact everything around me has on me and everyone who lives in and enters my home.

  24. The effects of living in a clean and tidy house (and driving in a similar car) are big. Recently with clearing out the big storage room I have upstairs so much ‘old and not needed stuff’ came out it felt amazing to let go of and feel the space this literally made in my body. Space for more love!

  25. More than making my bed, I love feeling how I have made my bed when I get back into it at night. Which leads me back to how I am when I make my bed in the morning. Through this I am learning that no moment is separate from another and that through simple actions such as make our beds, we can deepen what we feel in our bodies. Quite extraordinary really.

    1. I love that fact too, that everything is actually building on the next moment and we can choose how the next movement will have the possibility to expand, because of the movement that led to it. And how supportive it is, when you might have lost your connection throughout your day and you are coming back to your bed made in connection in the morning, you get energetically reminded of the truth. You are actually supporting yourself constantly by your own movements.

    2. Thank you Jennifer, more than ticking the box of getting things done is the reason why we do things, is it simply because it has to be done or because we love and care for ourselves and others? A bed can be made both ways but the one made with love feels amazing to return to and sleep in at night.

  26. We can never judge another person for where they are at, because to even have an opinion would require one to stand in their shoes for at least a year if not many in order to give a clear and concise understanding of all the pressures and challenges that this person faces each day. Therefore we could say that the internal world that another person is experiencing and which is being expressed out in to the physicality of life is not to be dismissed or cast aside as unimportant and is actually to be considered at all times.

    1. It’s very true Shami, a judgement can happen in seconds and label a person, whereas understanding, or at least a willingness to understand, allows us to learn and stay open, and to develop wisdom about people and life. Judgement is a just dead end cutting off the love we can hold others in and the learning.

  27. Connecting with the purpose behind why I’m doing something really makes a difference to the quality in which I do it and my motivation to do it as well I find. Like you share the difference between cleaning as a chore, or to just keep up appearances as opposed to because you know the difference it makes energetically as well as physically to the space you live in and that others also come into…

  28. “I grew up feeling that cleaning was either a punishment or a chore”. Totally. When I read that I was like, absolutely, that is/was the same for me. I remember my Mum to get my sisters and brother to clean, she used to make it a ‘tornado’ and we had to clean as fast as we can to get it done. So whilst it was a bit fun, the premise was more on getting it done fast, to get the chore over and done with.

  29. There is a vast difference between clearing and tidying up for ourselves and clearing and tidying because of another or situation. The latter is that our movements come from outside ourselves and not from us. I feel like a robot contracted and diminished when this happens as there is no connection to self. When I clear space for myself and everyone who enters it there’s an openess, a freeing up and the room feels so much bigger that it is no wonder that I feel the reflection of expansiveness in my body. Sensing and making it about purpose for the all cleaning, clearing and decorating becomes a joy.

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