For years I would listen intently when someone would go off the rails and level me for an infraction, perceived or real. As a broadcaster, pleasing everyone was impossible. Total strangers in an elevator, angry protesters, unhappy fans or distraught family members would tell me off. In my personal life, if someone was angry I would sit and take it — just in case they had something valuable to say. Those horrible words would pile up in my thoughts and I would sort through and stew on them for days and months.

Throughout the decades I’ve collected bits of information, added friends in life and on every social media platform, increased my wardrobe, accumulated plants — I could go on and on. And the more things and people I attached myself to, the more overwhelmed I would feel. The greater number of options I had, the harder it was for me to reach a decision.

“To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, subtract every day.”

Lao Tzu

As someone who wants more wisdom, these words are gold. They’ve helped me jumpstart an out-and-out removal process.

  • I don’t take verbal smack downs any longer.
  • I read and research those things that bring me joy and growth.
  • I have boundaries to protect me from toxic people.
  • I donate clothing and shoes I no longer wear from my closet every six months.
  • I steer clear of notifications on my phone.

Now when I add a new item to our household I ask myself, “what has to go?”

When I was most overwhelmed, I found myself looking outside for the answers. Whether that was a person or an app or a strategy or something, just anything! I was so cluttered with stuff I couldn’t find me. Once I stopped looking outward, I was able to see and know that I had the answer all along.

If you’re feeling that pressure to make the best decision possible and your quest for an answer “out there” is leaving you empty, maybe it’s time to look inside.

Quiet the chaos.

You’ve been waiting a long time.