By Lauren Galley
As teenagers, we often hear our parents talk about “Spring Cleaning” our houses. For me personally, I never used to consider the idea of Spring Cleaning as anything more than throwing out some old clothes and reorganizing my closet. But recently I have been evaluating my life from a deeper perspective, and I have realized that the concept of Spring Cleaning can apply to all of our lives. Similar to how you would clean out your closet, you can clean out your thoughts. What are you inner thoughts telling you? Everyone has an inner voice that subconsciously tells them how they feel about themselves. It is important to stop and listen to ensure that you are only providing yourself with positive thoughts. Clean out all the negativity in your mind and make a conscious effort to surround yourself with positivity. I post sticky notes in places that I will see them every day with positive messages written on them, such as “You are worthy” or “Have an amazing day, beautiful.” It may sound a little bit strange, but I can say from experience that the repetition of these simple messages can have a huge effect on how you view life in general.
Other extremely important aspects of your life to clean out on a regular basis is who you choose to associate with, your attitude toward these individuals and how much effort you are putting into others. As a teenager, it can be really difficult to make responsible decisions about who we call our friends. While you are in school it is especially easy to refer to everyone as your friend. However, you have to be careful because that old saying “Birds of a feather flock together” is SO true. Therefore, if any of the individuals you refer to as your friends are behaving in a way that goes against your morals and values, you need to reevaluate these relationships and ask yourself if these people are building you up or slowly tearing you down. If you determine the latter, then it may be wise to distance yourself. Notice that I use the word “distance.” I’m not implying that you should make any rash decisions and completely shut someone out of your life. If you slowly stop putting as much effort into someone, you may learn a lot about the other person’s investment in you and your relationship. I would like to share a fun activity with you that will help you determine the quality of your friendships. This is a great way to visually see exactly the type of girls you are hanging out with. Write down the names of your top five closest friends, and jot down their most prominent qualities next to their names. The qualities can be both positive and negative. Here’s an example.
- Rachel: Supportive, Funny
- Mary: Bossy, Smart
- Jessica: Kind, She Smokes
- Susan: Fair Weathered Friend, Popular
- Liz: Can be Mean, Clingy
As you can see Liz and Jessica might not be positive influences in my life. This is an eye opening exercise that really works! Try it out and see if you blend with the traits of the girls you call “friends.”
I have experience being “dropped” by girlfriends who get excited when they begin dating a boy. All of sudden our friendship becomes non-existent. This is quite normal, but keep in mind that, although relationships will come and go, your true friends will be there for you for the long haul, which brings me to my next topic.
Ask yourself who you are putting the most time and energy into and is that fair? For example, I notice a lot of my peers taking advantage of their parents. They don’t spend as much time with them as they should. When they move out and have the responsibilities that come along with being an adult, they may regret investing all their energy and time into their “friends” and having none left for those that have supported them since day one. If you are reading this and feeling guilty, don’t worry! That is why we are participating in Spring Cleaning! Simply promise yourself that starting today, you are going to give the people who will always love you the affection and time they deserve. If you are forgetful, you could even set an alarm on your phone as a reminder to call your mother, sister or whoever it is that you are neglecting in your life.
I don’t want you to view this sort of Spring Cleaning as a chore or something unpleasant. Any work you put into improving your life is well worth it in the end. Much like cleaning your home, a huge sense of burden is taken off your shoulders and you will lead a much less stressful and care-free life. We have enough stress as it is, so our inner thoughts and friends should not be the source of any turmoil. Wash your worries away and enjoy Spring Break with those that ARE worth your time.