Identifying Mental Clutter

by Kelvin Belfon

Identifying Mental Clutter2

I love music. Calypso, soca, salsa, dance hall, reggae, and country were all in my upbringing. Reggae is one of my favorites.

The influence of Bob Marley in the Caribbean is so strong that it’s felt all throughout the world. Redemption Song is one of the most popular Marley songs known internationally. In certain life situations I find myself repeating parts of it over and over: Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.

You’ve heard it! Though the original context of the song is slavery, there is so much more here. First, this song is a cry for freedom from the entanglements that clutter our thoughts and weigh us down. Intentional action and personal responsibility is key to change in its message; none but ourselves can free our minds.

When I first set out to simplify my life, I knew the area between my ears had to be addressed, not just the tangible stuff I own. The brain is a beautiful organ; yet, it can absorb quite a bit of clutter. It’s the storage for everything, the good, bad, and the ugly.

Moreover, unlike physical junk, de-cluttering the mind is not a simple task. Our thoughts are not something we can collect, box and drop off at the local thrift store. Oh, how I wish we could! The good news is that it’s not impossible to get rid of emotional baggage. We can find clarity in our thoughts. The key is identifying mental clutter or junky thinking that’s going on. The following are the ones that have at least plagued my mind.


Things that Clutter the Mind

Self-Sabotaging Tendencies – It’s true, sometimes we are our worst enemy, criticizing and doubting our own abilities. We self-destruct by either coming up with reasons why we can’t do something or by predicting a negative outcome. The truth: We are enough; we are competent and capable of doing anything.

Past Hurts/Failures – Human tendency is to monumentalize our past mistakes, pains and failures. We rehearse them till they have become larger than life, till we are discouraged or depressed by the very thought of them. The truth: Our best days are still to come. The past doesn’t have to determine our tomorrow.

Other People’s Expectations – We ask, “What will they think?”  The opinions of our parents, spouses, siblings, friends, teachers, or mentors can easily haunt and debilitate some of us to no end. Even as adults, those early childhood influencers are still so strong in our minds. The truth: You’ll never be able to please everyone. So live your life!

Perfectionism – Like the above tendency, perfectionism is rooted in pleasing others. It stunts our creativity, consumes our thoughts in the minutia and creates an unhealthy obsession to do everything right all the time. Truth: Give yourself the freedom to fail and make mistakes; and punch perfectionism in the face.

Unforgiveness – We can’t just “forget about it” like some of our friends would like to encourage us to do. But left unchecked, unforgiveness leads to bitterness and bondage. It too is an invisible enemy that slowly erodes us. Truth: “When we forgive, we free ourselves from the tie that binds us to the one who hurt us. We become liberated.” – Claire Franzier-Yzaguirre

Regretful Feeling – Have you ever said, “If only I had gone to that school, taken that job, married that person or done whatever…”? All of this line of questioning steals our joy and robs us from our present. There’s no point to dwelling on the past. Truth: You have more power to influence the unwritten future than your past, which is now history. Life is constantly changing. Staying flexible opens us up to new opportunities.

Fear of the Unknown – Fear is not always a bad thing. It’s helped me avoid lots of dangerous situations. But there is an unhealthy fear that creates indecisiveness, procrastination, avoidance of trying new things, and accomplishing bold dreams. The “What If” syndrome is a crippling decision making tactic. Truth: Inform yourself with the facts. Then expose yourself to others knowledgeable in the area you are considering. Finally, take action! You’ll find in most cases that your fears are not as bad as what you made them out to be.

Thank you for reading! If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to going uncomplicated, comment below or join me on Facebook.

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15 thoughts on “Identifying Mental Clutter

  1. Terri says:

    I ABSOLUTELY love this post. Great timing for me this week, too. I’ve been allowing myself to be so mentally cluttered, that it’s overwhelmed me with fear this week, and then it just breeds stagnation. You get to that point where you don’t even know where to turn next or what to tackle next. It’s days like those that I will myself to just sit and think “focus, Terri. Just one thing at a time.” And god, you are so right. So many of us think “what would others think? and why did I do that…A, B, or C at that point in my life??!!” Love all your posts, but especially this one. You should get paid to write. 🙂

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      Terri, you are one of the most focused and determined individual I know. I’m always inspired by your journey. Don’t allow fear or people’s expectations to beat you up. If you need sometime to re-group, then do so. But keep moving forward! Thanks for sharing.

  2. anke says:

    Every point applies to me in a big way. There is so much junky thinking going on – it makes the external de-cluttering seem simple. Identifying those points is a great starting point …..

  3. Gideon says:

    You write well man – keep it up!

  4. Gillian Claudia Johnson-Baptiste says:

    I wholeheartedly agree with Terri. You are an amazing writer. Your thoughts are lucid and focused, you should get paid, why not? Kelvin, again I must say that your ideas resonate with me. They are all confirmation that I am am not alone with many of the issues I grapple with. Thank you for another excellent reminder of what matters.

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      Thank you Gillian. I have a great editor (my wife) who helps me in this department. Writing has always been a struggle for me. So I appreciate the complements, I’ll keep doing it. And yes, maybe one day I’ll get paid 🙂

  5. Gabriele Dean says:

    Love this post, Kelvin!!! It is very inspiring and you are correct. The battles in our head are the one area we can’t ignore. I’d like to think I don’t have too much of this going on but the truth is we all do. I am a perfectionist but not to please others. It is to please me. I am the hardest to please and my own worst critic. At the same time I am also my best supporter – with God’s help of course. So at times I do need to remind myself to take it easy and not be so critical. I am less critical with others than myself…time to chill and listen to some Reggae which is one of my favorite genre’s of music anyways!
    Awesome blog…as always 🙂

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      Thank you Gabriele! Yes, we all do struggle with this issue at different stages of our lives. Do take it easy on yourself. Sometimes we can be our worst enemy. Thanks for sharing!

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      Thank you Gabriele! Like always…thank you for sharing you little nuggets with us all.

  6. Ann D. says:

    I really enjoy receiving your words of wisdom.
    Thank You!

  7. Lara says:

    Excellent, tremendously insightful post. Thank you for the wisdom. I saw myself in some of the points. It’s my first time here. I clicked on your name in a comment at Courtney Carver ‘ s site. I’ll be reading more! Wish you and your family the best.

    • Kelvin Belfon says:

      Thank you Lara and welcome!
      I appreciate your kind words. Courtney is an amazing mentor and friend.
      Wishing you and your family all the best as well.

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