05/15/2015 10:35 am ET Updated May 15, 2016

Realizing That You Matter

My clutter busting client was feeling critical of herself for all the clutter she thought she should have let go of long ago. She said those thoughts tormented her everyday.

I said that it could help for her to step away from that harsh kind of thinking. Not to push it away, but step back and notice her actions. I said I wanted her to see that getting involved and entangled in self-criticism wasn't actually helping her let go of clutter. It left her with the clutter, plus the crappy feeling that comes from being mean to yourself. It's one of the most insidious kinds of clutter.

I said that kindness and encouragement are the ingredients to help bring about positive change. Being kind to yourself can seem strange at first because we can be used to demeaning and forcing ourselves into change. To be kind can seem like it will leave us feeling complacent and unchanging. But being kind to ourselves makes us feel good. It gives us energy. Kindness encourages us to do beneficial things for ourselves.

I had my client close her eyes. I asked her to focus on her breath, to notice the air coming in and out of her body. I suggested that she notice that her body was breathing her. She didn't have to do the breathing. She was being given the breath of life every moment. Even when she didn't realize it. Even when she was sleeping. That must mean she matters. A power greater than her was constantly giving her life -- the greatest possible gift. She didn't have to earn that love. It was given to her even though she still had clutter, even though she didn't think she deserved it. Perhaps she could bestow some of that love on herself.

My client said she never realized that she was being given the gift of life. It made her feel loved and peaceful for the first time in a long while.

I said if she felt herself getting harsh again, she could stop and take a few moments to remember how greatly she is loved and cared for regardless of her actions. It would open her life to great change.