Spring cleaning is an old concept that has grown beyond dusting behind the sofa. Spring cleaning can mean a deeper kind of de-cluttering that extends from our personal belongings to our destructive personal relationships as well.
The KonMari method of de-cluttering and organizing asks that each item (or person in our story) under consideration be mused over and kept only if it “sparks joy.” The KonMari method of simplifying and organizing the home led to the runaway bestseller “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by Marie Kondo. This theory applies to relationships that have become unmanageable, too. Here’s why.
Spring Cleaning Is A Form Of Healthy Detachment
There is something cleansing about de-cluttering, culling, and tidying up: it creates space in our homes and offices. We can see more with less. This same principle applies to relationships that are unhealthy and sap us of our strength, energy and creativity. Some relationships, especially those in families with substance use disorder hurt you every day no matter how hard you try to make things better. Pruning relationships is a task that we sometimes put off for years, even decades, but detachment from those who hurt or hold us back is pruning for personal growth.
When Relationships Die Detachment Is Needed
Relationships in which others benefit from our care and love but do nothing to enhance, support, embrace, or value us literally make us die on the vie. Our energy that could be used in a productive, empowering fashion is diverted to the unhealthy, the dried up and crumbly in a misguided attempt to renew and refresh them. It is doubly so within familial relationships, where we give and give until our energies are depleted. We suffer the angst in our own lives in all manner of lifestyle diseases including stress, high blood pressure, bloat, and diabetes. All because we see detachment as something that we just don’t do in a family.
Family Loyalty Can Kill
Families are supposed to stick together, to look out for each other, to have each other’s backs, to offer support in the face of hardship and loss, and abuse. When relationships between family members are unhealthy, we take on a role of caregiver and pour our energy into its revival. And we do it again and again, often with the same family member. Because that’s what families do. No man left behind, right? Even if it depletes, even bankrupts us in every way. Family members, like plants, have to be allowed to grow. That’s why there are pruning shears and the tool of detachment. Detachment may feel sharp as scissors but is actually a much kinder cut.
At My House We’re Waiting For Spring
The massive blue hydrangea sits in a pot by the French doors to my deck, its clustered blooms pressed against the glass waiting for Spring to arrive, so it can adorn the deck from the outside looking in. Each stem holds a fellowship of single flowers, together making a voluminous ball of blossoms. These blooms were produced from the tips of shoots that were pruned in the previous season. The plant lives only because it was pruned. We can all learn from that.