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Unleashing the Power of Circumstancial Shifts to Tame the Turmoil Within

In the never-ending chaos of my daily life, there’s one thing that gnaws at my sanity, tearing it apart with the precision of a surgeon’s scalpel. This pain point, this relentless thorn in my side, is the ceaseless battle between my love for a clean house and my family members, who seem hell-bent on turning it into a chaotic war zone.

The frustration is palpable, like a constant hum in the background of my existence. Picture this: a sanctuary of dust-free surfaces, meticulously arranged furniture, and the sweet scent of a freshly cleaned home. Now, overlay that image with the harsh reality of family members who treat our living space like a dumping ground for their clutter and chaos.

Every day, I embark on a Sisyphean journey, pushing the boulder of cleanliness up the steep hill of domestic responsibility, only to watch it roll back down as if mocking my efforts. It’s a tormenting cycle that leaves me questioning the very essence of my commitment to cleanliness.

Perhaps the real problem is my obsession with order, my relentless pursuit of a spotless haven that borders on the neurotic. But can you blame me? There’s an art to maintaining a clean house, a delicate balance that is disrupted when socks are strewn across the living room, and dishes are left to languish in the sink like forgotten relics of a bygone era.

This relentless pursuit of cleanliness, however, comes at a cost – a cost paid not only in hours of scrubbing and organizing but in the resentment that festers within me. It’s the frustration of feeling like an invisible servant in my own home, tirelessly laboring to maintain an illusion of order while those around me casually contribute to the chaos.

The impact is not limited to the physical realm; it infiltrates the emotional landscape of our home. As I scrub away at stubborn stains, resentment grows like a weed in the garden of my relationships. I can’t help but wonder, is it too much to ask for a little consideration, a shared commitment to the cleanliness that I hold dear?

There’s a distinct lack of understanding, a failure to grasp the emotional toll of constantly cleaning up after others. It’s not just about tidying up; it’s about reclaiming a sense of control in a world that seems determined to unravel at the seams. Yet, my pleas for cooperation fall on deaf ears, drowned out by the clatter of indifference.

Imagine the frustration of meticulously organizing the pantry, only to find it ravaged by hungry scavengers who carelessly toss items back onto the shelves. The emotional upheaval is akin to a storm raging within me, tearing through the fragile structures of my patience and leaving behind the debris of my shattered calm.

Perhaps the most disheartening aspect of this never-ending battle is the toll it takes on the relationships that should be a source of comfort and support. The discord sown by this becomes a chasm that widens with every misplaced item and neglected chore. Communication falters, drowned out by the echoes of frustration that reverberate within the walls of our home.

And I see the resentment mirrored back to me in the eyes of my loved ones, the weariness that settles like a heavy fog when confronted with the perpetual cycle of not enough. It’s a burden that weighs on me, a guilt that gnaws at my conscience, whispering that perhaps my pursuit of cleanliness comes at too high a cost.

As I navigate the labyrinth of my daily life, this thorn remains a constant, an unyielding force that shapes my experiences and colors my perception of the world. The frustration is like a relentless tide, ebbing and flowing with each new mess that appears on the horizon. There’s no respite, no sanctuary from the emotional storm that rages within me.

In the grand tapestry of my existence, this pain point of battling against the tide of disorder stands as a dominant thread, weaving its way through the fabric of my identity. It’s a raw, unfiltered reality that I grapple with each day, a reality that refuses to conform to the idealized image of domestic bliss that society often paints.

In the end, this becomes a defining feature, a label that eclipses the nuances of my personality and reduces me to the role of a domestic tyrant. This pain point, once a source of frustration, evolves into a constant companion, a familiar adversary that shapes the contours of my reality.

And so, the battle rages on, an unending struggle against the entropy that threatens to engulf my world. There’s no resolution in sight, no happy ending to wrap up this tale of domestic discord. This pain point persists, an ever-present reminder that perfection is an elusive mirage and the pursuit of cleanliness comes at a price too steep to ignore.

So, Now what?

This was all in good fun, but it paints a pretty accurate—if a bit over-dramatized— picture of what life used to be like for me.

You may be one of those people that doesn’t mind mess. And that is awesome for you. And if you are one of those people that doesn’t understand this – just switch a messy house for whatever it is that causes you the most frustration and apply the same principles.

I’m highly sensitive to the stimulation of my five senses. When someone tries to talk to my while the tv is on, it feels like my brain is going to explode. That’s sound sensitivity.

Before covid, I could smell so many things that other people couldn’t even smell. And what they could smell, was way more intense for me. Losing that may be the best thing that happened to me because of covid. Anyway, that’s smell sensitivity.

I’m pretty sure the mess is a visual sensitivity. It affects me physically.

But my family… they don’t even notice it, much less care about it.

I don’t like being in the mess and I don’t want to spend all my time cleaning up after them. I have other things to do.

I tried to change them. Over and over and over again. I begged. I pleaded. I asked nicely. I asked not-so-nicely. I implemented a dozen different chore systems.

All to no avail.

With my kids at least, I can use consequences, which definitely helped. But I can’t employ consequences with my husband or stepson, and they are the worst offenders.

So, what options were left open to me?

Option 1: Keep being miserable. Doesn’t sound very fun.

Option 2: Try to change my family members. Didn’t work.

You’re going to hear me talk about changing your thoughts a lot.

But here’s the thing: I don’t really want to change my thoughts about this. I want to think it’s rude and disrespectful to think someone else should have to clean up after you when you are perfectly capable of doing it yourself.

I want to think that’s selfish and inconsiderate.

I don’t want to think it’s ok.

Option 3: Change my thoughts. Don’t want to. It feels like I’d be trying to convince myself of something I don’t really believe or want to believe. Ick.

The Solution

Option 4: Change my circumstances (and some of my thoughts).

For Mother’s Day, I filled my cupboard with paper and plastic. I told my family members they were welcome to use real dishes, but only if they rinsed them and put them in the dishwasher.

This was a complete game-changer in my household.

But I still had to change some thoughts.

Thoughts like… (please read these in a whiny voice because that’s what they sound like in my head).

  • But I shouldn’t have to
  • They need to learn how to clean up after themselves
  • This isn’t going to help them be responsible adults
  • This is a waste of money
  • This isn’t environmentally friendly
  • Etc

These thoughts have been replaced with thoughts like:

  • Not relevant, brain
  • They’ll figure it out when they figure it out
  • I’d rather “waste” money than my sanity
  • I can either pay for this with money or pay for it with my well-being

Notice how I didn’t have to change any thoughts about their behavior. And I still get to feel good. Because I’ve given this amazing gift to myself. I am filled with self-love and gratitude whenever I think of this decision.

I gave myself freedom from their behavior AND my own brain.

This decision didn’t get us quite there, though… so I made another one.

I bought a Bosch dishwasher.

If this sentence means nothing to you, let me explain. Did you know some dishwashers actually CLEAN dishes rather than just sanitizing them?

I did not. With every dishwasher I’ve ever owned, the dishes have to be mostly clean before you put them in there.

My dear husband loves to bring a week’s worth of dishes from his office, covered in dried, caked-on food, into the kitchen. He puts them straight into the dishwasher about half the time, and the other half leaves them on the counter.

This used to mean I had to nag him to take care of them. Yuck. Or I had to soak and scrub them myself. Yuck. Or I had to soak and scrub them after they came out of the dishwasher. Yuck. And I felt frustration and resentment with all of them.

Now, it’s either already done, or it takes 5 seconds for me to load them without rinsing them first.

Because the dishwasher actually washes the dishes!!! It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.

Again… my brain had thoughts about spending this much money on a dishwasher. So, I still had to work on them a bit.

But it’s nothing compared to the freedom I now have around my family’s behavior and, more importantly, from my own brain and all the frustration and resentment it created about their behavior.

That is priceless.

You don’t have to change your thoughts about everything. Give yourself permission to change the circumstances that your brain uses to make your life miserable. Create more freedom.

Questions to Consider

  1. What are you the most frustrated about regularly?
  2. How might you change the circumstances you’re frustrated about?
  3. What’s stopping you?
  4. How can you create freedom around this?


We can’t always change our circumstances. But sometimes we can. And we limit our freedom to do so with our own brains. Stop doing that! Consider the price of your well-being. Sometimes we don’t want to change our thoughts about something. So, let’s just change our circumstances instead… and then change our thoughts about that. You deserve to have freedom from this. It’s your job to give it to yourself.

Live Free. Love Life.

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