I’m sure you’ve heard of the Marie Kondo Method of “tidying up.” The idea is to clear out the clutter in your life by asking if items you keep spark joy in your heart when you hold them. While Marie Kondo focuses on the physical clutter in your world, her method of choosing to keep or release physical items can be applied to actions we take and people we have relationships with as well.
- Kondo’s method of decluttering your life has six rules.
- Commit yourself to tidying up.
- Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
- Finish discarding first.
- Tidy by category, not location.
- Follow the right order.
These rules can be applied to clearing out the clutter in your connections, too. While clearing out your connections might not be as easy as clearing out a closet, you will find the process and result to be equally, if not more, satisfying. Releasing connections that no longer serve you will help you align energetically to your soulmate partner as you make more space in your energetic field for new, happy connections by removing old, miserable ones.
If you’re truly ready to align your energy with your soulmate, you must commit to clearing out the relationships in your life that no longer serve you. Take a moment, right now, and write this down in your journal, or on a piece of paper you can hang somewhere you’ll see it often.
I am committed to releasing ties with any relationship I’ve maintained, but that no longer serves me or brings me joy.
Letting go of relationships will probably be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done. Making a commitment to it and seeing that written commitment regularly will help you stay the course as the choices become harder and harder.
Ideal Life and Soulmate Partner
You’re on the soulmate journey, right? So have you considered what you want your relationships as a whole to look like when you’re done clearing out the clutter? (If you’ve been working all the parts of the Soulmate Fundamentals Program, Step 2-Know What You Want should have given you a Soulmate Wishlist and Step 3-Align with your Soulmate Partner should have given you a detailed visualization of your life with your soulmate partner.)
I just cleared out my Facebook friends. Now, I’m not the usual Facebook user and I know it. Yes, I’ve had a facebook account since you had to have a .edu email account to get one (around 2008, I believe), but I’ve always treated Facebook as a way to stay in contact with people I know in the real world. I never approached Facebook as a way to meet new people, though I do have a few friends I met via social media that I consider actual friends. Otherwise, my Facebook friends list includes mostly people I went to high school or college with and family.
When I decided to clear out my list, I had about 500-600 friends. I got it down to under 500 this morning because I realized I was tired of seeing posts that made me angry, frustrated, or sad on a regular basis. If seeing your name in my feed didn’t bring me joy, you got the ax. I want the time I spend on social media to be fun, interesting, and relaxing.
As you consider what you want your relationships to look like going forward, it’s important for you to clearly understand what you do and don’t want to connect with.
Under your commitment statement, take a moment to write down the general feel of relationship connections you’re going for in your life. Do you want to connect with people who make you laugh or cry? Smile or grind your teeth?
Clean Out and Then Choose New Connections
It’s important to first clear out the relationships that no longer serve you before opening yourself up to new connections.
Marie Kondo speaks of releasing those items we don’t find joy in with gratitude for the lessons we learned by having that item in our lives. I recommend doing the same with the connections you’re releasing. Let those people fade from your life with gratitude for what they brought your way, even if you outgrew them, learned the lesson they were in your life to teach you, or taught you what you don’t want for yourself. These are all valuable lessons to learn from connecting with people and releasing them, so take your time releasing these connections and give yourself permission to be sad or disappointed by the acknowledgement that some people have just drifted out of your life.
Clearing out the relationships you no longer find joy in, or need in your life opens up energetic connection areas for new connections. I think of it kind of like an old telephone connection board with all the wires and holes in which to put the wires. Each hole represents a space in your life for a particular type of connection. There are holes for friends, family, romantic connections, etc. If you’ve allowed all the holes to be filled with connections to people who no longer bring you joy, there’s no room for new, joyful connections. Only by unplugging ourselves from the connections that no longer serve us do we open ourselves up to new connections. I realize that in the Kondo method, the idea is to not refill the spaces taken up by the things we release, but in the case of emotional connections, we likely are looking to connect with others who bring us joy once we’ve released those who don’t.
In the physical world of clearing clutter, it’s easy to use categories to organize your clutter clearing. Start with clothes, then move to knicknacks, etc. rather than starting with a closet and then moving on to the junk drawer in the kitchen. Sticking with categories helps you get your brain to focus on one thing at a time, rather than the pile of craziness that might come out of the catch-all hall closet.
The same is true in clearing out the clutter in your relationships. I recommend breaking up your connections by categories such as social media, acquaintances, work relationships, personal friendships, and family and romantic relationships. There may be some crossover, but if you stick with a category until you’re done disconnecting from those folks who don’t bring you joy, you’ll find it might be easier to fully disconnect. For example, you may want to disconnect from an ex you no longer need in your life. If you start by removing them from your social media sphere, how much more contact might you have left with them? Remember that the first step is going to be the hardest. The first time you hit the unfriend button, or block button, it’s going to feel like you’re ripping part of yourself out by the roots, but as time goes on and you find yourself living a more joyful life, removing the connections that don’t bring you joy will become easier and easier.
Stick with the Order
The order I recommend for releasing connections that no longer serve you is:
- Social Media
- Work Relationships
- Personal Friendships
- Family and Romantic Relationships
The reasoning behind this order is that you begin with the most impersonal connections and move through layers of personal connection. Each level may get progressively more difficult as you move through them. It should be pretty easy to unfriend and unfollow anonymous people on the other side of a screen, but it will likely be much more difficult to release connections when you reach personal friendships and family.
That’s not to say it will be impossible to release those connections. It’s not. It’s just hard.
For example, I recently released my ties to a friend I’d had for 13 years. Why? Because being connected to this person no longer brought me any joy, only sadness. Was it difficult to walk away? You bet. I’m the kind of person who will give you chance after chance, excuse bad behavior and give you the benefit of the doubt when you hurt me, but even I have limits. I’ve had to do the same with family members over the years. When my step-father passed away in 2009, I let the connection to his family remain until I realized how much their behavior hurt me and my mother. When my step-grandparents were mean to and dismissive of my mother, I stopped connecting with them. When his sister made sure everyone at the funeral knew I was a step-daughter despite the fact that he had never called me that, I stopped connecting with her and her part of the family. I’ve even released my connection to a cousin I was once very close to in my own family after she was cruel to me, my mother and her own mother.
You don’t have to have such dramatic reasons for releasing connections to anyone, anywhere in your list of connections. It could just be that they make you unhappy when you connect with them. That’s enough. Your peace of mind is worth more than any societal admonition that we should love our families no matter what.
First, decide that you’re fully committed to completing this process with all of your relationships. Next, start with your social media friends. ALL of your social media. I’ve done my Facebook, but I haven’t touched my twitter or instagram yet, mostly because I don’t spend a lot of time on them, but I will tackle them. I’ve committed to it. When you’re finished with your social media, move on to acquaintances and so on through the categories I’ve shared with you. If you don’t like my categories, create your own! The idea is to start with the easiest connections to release and work through to the most difficult.
Examine each connection and ask yourself, does it bring you joy to connect with this person. If your answer is a resounding yes, that connection has made the cut. If it’s a “meh” answer ,you can choose to see if that connection can be repaired or boosted to be a joyful one rather than releasing it, but it’s important to review those connections regularly and if the repair or boost isn’t working, release it. If your answer is no, they don’t bring you joy, release the connection with thanks for the memories and lessons and move on from it. Don’t keep anyone in your life who is there out of guilt or obligation. You deserve to live a joyful life, surrounded by people you love and who love you back in healthy ways. You are under no obligation from anyone but yourself to remain connected to anyone else.
This won’t be an easy activity. It will be tough. You’ll probably cry and bemoan the loss of connections you once treasured, but if the connection isn’t a YES! Are you really losing anything that wasn’t lost a long time ago? Have you kept those less than yes connections because of what you once had, or because of the current state of the connection? Consider the goal here. You want to live a life of joy, with your soulmate. Will any of the less than yes connections you’re releasing bring you any closer to that goal? Then why are you clinging to those connections?
If you feel like you need more help in clearing out the clutter in your relationships as you prepare yourself to meet your soulmate, consider booking a coaching session with me and I can be by your side as you work through this process.
“About KonMari: The Official Website of Marie Kondo.” KonMari