Give It Up!

Posted by Jill Chivers in Attitudes and Habits, Living Your Life

I’ve recently been pondering the significance of subtraction.  The power of paring down.  The advantage of abolishing.

Most of us have too much of what we don’t need.  Too much stuff.  Too much stress. Too much of other people’s ideas, opinions, dreams and priorities masking our own.

We are squeezing too much into our time, our minds, our hearts and our homes.  The result is a squeezing of all that’s really important into the corners of our lives (and our cupboards) to make room for one more thing we don’t want, don’t need and won’t use (or would be better off not using).

But there is good news, people!  As jammed as things can be, there is a solution.  There is a way out.  And it’s amazing simple – at least in principle.

The Solution to Too-Muchness

If you have too much of what you don’t need or want in your life, here’s the solution:






Takeaway the stuff that gets in the way.

Give up the things that make you unhappy and disconnect you from the life you would love to be living.

There’s really no other way to remove the junk from your life than to do a spring clean.

It's time to trim.

It’s time to trim.

The Unbearable Lightness

You can’t imagine how light your life and your heart will be once you let go, give up and move on from the things that are keeping your life and heart heavy.  You can only experience it for yourself.

So what can you give up? Here’s some suggestions that you might try out:

Soulless shopping centres

Having spent my fair share of time in soulless shopping centres around the world, I can say this from real life and hard won experience – shopping centres are not a place you want to be giving too much of your precious time, energy and attention to being in.  They are designed to get you in, keep you in, and have you spend as much (both time and money) as possible.  That’s their agenda – and that’s okay.  But what’s yours?  Don’t let your life drift by as you drift by store after store in a big shopping centre.  Use shopping centres for what they offer, and then get out and back to the life you love to be living (cuz it sure ain’t inside the walls of that big cathedral to commerce!).

Here’s a radical experiment

Try not entering a big shopping centre for one week, or one month if you’re really courageous.  Do all your shopping at local places, or if you must enter a big shopping complex to access the supermarket, go straight there and back without stopping at any other stores.

soulless shopping centres

Television every night of the week

I’m not anti-TV.  Really.  I enjoy a spot of TV myself.  But as your only de-stressor and relaxation technique, it’s not worth spending every night of your life doing (er, not that television is a ‘doing’ activity.  In fact, research shows that brain activity while sitting in front of the box is reduced to almost zero, as though we were in a coma or a vegetative state).

Here’s a radical experiment

Opt to spend your time on activities that are more soul-enriching than television every night for at least one month.  Imagine the books you could read! The hobbies you could indulge!  The writing you could do!  The classes or events you could attend!.

Social media that bugs you

Social media is here to stay, there’s no doubt about that, and it has influenced the way we interact with one another, that’s for sure.  But social media also has its downsides, and can leave you feeling discontented, disoriented and disconnected (too much time on Facebook and I become convinced I am wasting my life).

Here’s a radical experiment

Use social media as a tool – don’t leave it on all the time, don’t keep checking it, turn it off after a specific period of time, and remember the many other wonderful ways to connect with people in the real world.  Have at least one day a week where you ‘unplug’ and are not on social media of any form.

Stuff that stresses you

You know what this is.  It’s the activities that drive you nuts but you feel you have to do.  It’s the meetings you wish you’d said no to, but you end up attending anyway.  It’s the people who feel toxic in your life, but you somehow can’t seem to extricate yourself from.  It’s the exposure to the various places on the internet that you keep being drawn back to even though you feel worse about yourself after you’ve visited.  It’s the work you bring home that keeps you from truly being present with those you share your life on your downtime.  It’s the food you eat that poisons your body.

Here’s a radical experiment

Remove that stuff.  Subtract those meetings.  Deduct those people.  Ban those websites.  Leave the work at work.  Abolish that food.

Prune.  And Blossom.

Like a garden, our lives benefit when we remove the things that get in the way (the weeds), and we make way for more of what we need (rich soul, sunlight, the right kind of fertiliser, and loving attention).

Most of us have too much of what we don’t need.  Too much stuff.  Too much stress. Too much of other people’s ideas, opinions, dreams and priorities masking our own.

Sometimes saying NO is the best way to get to the YES you want.  You have one life on this earth, my friend – make room for the good stuff.


For more inspiration and ideas on living, not spending your life, check out the daily postcards at Shop Less And Live More.

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    2 Responses to “Give It Up!”

    1. Robyn says:

      Dear Jill,
      What a lovely post. And such neat words, ‘streamline’, ‘trim’ … they sound just right, don’t they. This is such a positive way of proposing the general idea, I congratulate you! I’m also enjoying the Nifty Notes. What a good idea to put those photos to use in this way. Your brain is ever-inventive.

      • Jill Chivers says:

        hi there Robyn – yes those words have a lovely ring to them, don’t they – streamline, trim. Even deduct and remove evoke something positive when you think of them as leading you closer to where you want to be! Thanks so much for reading and enjoying. And I’m glad you are enjoying the new Monday Nifty Notes too! They were such fun to create!

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