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Advice like ” just be yourself” is one of those trope sayings that sounds so easy, but can be really hard to put into practice. In a world fixated on external measures of happiness, it’s not easy to be yourself – and yet, that is what you must do, to be your happiest and lead your best life.
One of the best ways to get in touch with our “true self” is to get rid of the physical objects that you have surrounded yourself with that don’t really represent who you are.
These are called “fantasy self items”.
Today we are going to talk about what it really means to be yourself and be more intentional with your life.
What does “be yourself” really mean?
When someone tells you to “be yourself”, they are telling you that the most important person for an individual to be is themself.
Being yourself is not about being true to others – it’s about living in accordance with who we really are and what makes you feel happy.
The way this looks can vary a lot depending on personality, experiences, and beliefs. But the basic idea is to have a life that fulfills your needs and makes you happy.
That may mean disregarding what other people think about you.
A key aspect of being yourself is to live a life that’s in accordance with your values.
There are certain things we may feel or want to do, but because society says they’re wrong or inappropriate for our gender, race, religion, etc., we might not feel comfortable sharing them.
We have to learn how to love ourselves and stop trying so hard to fit into molds that don’t fit us.
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What is a fantasy self?
This brings us to the fantasy self.
What is a fantasy self and why is it a good idea to declutter fantasy self items in the quest to be yourself? How will decluttering your fantasy self help you?
For good or bad, most of us have things that we would like to change about ourselves.
Common fantasy self-images focus on:
- physical appearance
- self-esteem or confidence
- and more…
A fantasy self is a highly idealized image of not only who you want to be, but also who you want others to perceive you as being; it’s a concept that was first introduced in a blog post dated way back to 2011.
In other words, your fantasy self is a representation of all the things you would like to change about yourself and how others perceive you in order to be happy.
But is that true happiness?
Is your fantasy self toxic?
Often we collect and purchase items that feed into our desire to achieve this fantasy self-image, but we end up not using them, and they just take up space in our minds and our homes.
This, in turn, can cause a lot of negative emotions like anxiety, frustration, guilt, regret, etc.
Now, I’m not at all saying that it’s impossible to learn new skills, change your life, or grow into a better version of yourself.
But if you have fantasy self items hanging around your home, then letting them go can be really rewarding and healing and can help you finally embrace the most authentic version of who you really are.
Keeping that in mind, let’s dive into 10 fantasy self items you can declutter right now for a happier and more authentic you.
Remember, toxic fantasy self items are one thing, but if you are surrounded by toxic people it’s going to be even harder to clear clutter like this! Find out more about how to recognize toxic people and get tips to deal with them at this blog post here.
10 Fantasy Self Items to Declutter So You Can Fully Be Yourself
1. Clothing and shoes
Are you more of a jeans-and-sneakers type, but you read an article raving about how this little black dress would change your life, so you ran out and bought it — only for it to sit, untouched, in the back of your closet?
Pants that haven’t fit you in 20 years, blouses in pretty but uncomfortable fabrics, shoes that make your heels bleed but were oh-so-expensive; all of these are fantasy self items taking up needless space in your life.
Time to let them go.
FIND OUT MORE: 15 Minimalist Shopping Tips to Cure Emotional Spending
2. Exercise equipment and clothing
How many times have you told yourself, “If I have cute clothes, I will want to work out more!”
How many mats, weights, rubber bands, and other exercise equipment items do you have laying around the home that you don’t use?
These have an extra special way of making us feel guilty every time we see them collecting dust in the corner.
It’s okay to have body and health goals, but it’s also okay to admit that something about that particular piece of equipment or that program didn’t work for you.
If you really want to use your fitness equipment or clothing and make it a habit, consider putting an expiration date on them.
Tell yourself, “If I don’t use this by _____ date, then I will let this go.”
Just using it once isn’t enough to necessarily make that item worth keeping, though. So think about specifying how many times you want to use it, such as 3 times a week.
Books are very divisive; people either seem to care a lot or do not care at all. If you love reading and have a lot of books, you might find it difficult to declutter your books.
Even if you love books, your collection might be filled with books that represent a “fantasy you” but don’t contribute meaning or value to your current life.
I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I held on to every college book I ever purchased for two primary reasons.
- The books were very expensive.
- I might need them in the future.
But guess what?
That future never came, and I ended up carting those books around for ten years without cracking a single one.
Letting go of the regret I felt over the money, time, and space I spent over the years buying, storing, and hauling those books around was HARD – but also very cathartic.
Fantasy self books to let go of include:
- Books you have read but will never read again
- Books you read but didn’t love
- Books from the past that you no longer need (textbooks, reference guides, etc)
- Books you read halfway
- Books you bought a long time ago but have never read
A note about decluttering books you haven’t read or didn’t finish
Your time is precious, remember that.
I think Marie Kondo said it best in her best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up:
“If you missed your chance to read a particular book, even if it was recommended to you or is one you have been intending to read for ages, then this is your chance to let it go. You may have wanted to read it when you bought it, but if you haven’t read it by now, the book’s purpose was to teach you that you didn’t need it. There’s no need to finish reading books that you only got halfway through. Their purpose was to be read halfway. So get rid of all those unread books. It will be far better for you to read the book that really grabs you right now than one that you left to gather dust for years.”
4. Kitchen appliances
Is your fantasy self a gourmet chef but in reality, you can barely make a grilled cheese sandwich without burning down the kitchen?
The best kitchen appliances are the ones that we use; the best and most expensive blender in the world won’t turn you into a Master Chef instantly. If you hate using an Instant Pot you aren’t going to be inspired to use it.
Take a look inside your kitchen drawers and cabinets and get rid of anything you haven’t used recently.
Common offenders include big appliances that take up a lot of space, such as slow cookers or Instant Pots, as well as specialty one-use items like egg steamers, garlic presses, pasta rollers, etc.
As far as cookbooks, it’s okay to keep cookbooks you love and use, but get rid of all the cookbooks that you bought with the best of intentions and never cracked open.
You can even keep your favorite recipes on Pinterest, which makes it so easy to organize your recipes by category and find them when you need them.
5. Social media
Social media can be extremely toxic.
It’s easy to get caught up in the cycle of comparing yourself and your life with someone else.
Remember, what you see on social media is real, but it isn’t reality.
Focus on using social media as a way to stay connected to those you have positive relationships with or who share similar interests – like hiking, cooking, or even minimalism!
Your life is a masterpiece, and you should curate it accordingly.
If you find yourself getting caught up in a comparison trap and begin to feel negative when you see images or posts from certain people, feel free to unfollow them, mute them, unsubscribe, or do whatever you need to do to remove that negativity from your life.
6. Subscriptions and memberships
Did you buy a gym membership with the best of intentions, only to feel guilty about not showing up in the last six months?
Or maybe you dream of traveling all over Europe to sample local wines, so you signed up for a monthly wine subscription box, only to find yourself underwhelmed?
Don’t feel guilty letting go of subscriptions or memberships you bought and don’t use or didn’t like.
Consider it a learning experience and take away the knowledge about what didn’t work so that you can focus on what does work for your life.
Canceling monthly subscriptions you don’t use is a great way to put money back into your future pockets; it’s off of my favorite extreme minimalist budgeting tips because it immediately gives you a lot of bang for your buck!
7. Sentimental items
Sentimental items are tricky, especially for deeply sentimental people.
You may have mementos from the past that just don’t spark the same joy when you look at them now.
Or you may find yourself with a box full of letters you know should be thrown away but can’t seem to do it, or holding onto the shirt that your ex-boyfriend wore every day for three years because memories are too important.
It’s okay to have sentimental items, but it’s also alright to let them go. Remember, just because something made you happy in the past doesn’t mean you have to keep it forever.
Focus on being who you want to be now, instead of who you were in the past.
8. Hobby and craft supplies
Unfinished projects, balls of yarn that haven’t been touched, that watercolor kit you purchased to reignite your creativity, a snowboard that hasn’t seen snow in 10 years — these are all fantasy self hobby and craft supplies.
It’s okay to let go of past hobbies and unfinished projects. Maybe you enjoyed them in the past but they no longer fit into your life now or you just never got around to making time for that thing.
Acknowledge the season you are in; if you haven’t touched something in six months or more, it’s okay to let that go.
Doing so doesn’t mean you will never try that thing again.
Let’s say you suddenly wanted to go snowboard in 2 years; in that case, you could just rent one!
Simple solutions like this are often the best; don’t muddle and overcomplicate your choices.
9. Makeup, skincare, and haircare products
Makeup, skincare, and hair care products are one of the most common fantasy self items that people tend to hoard.
To truly be yourself, you must also know what works for your particular skin and hair, what you enjoy using, and what fits into your daily schedule.
No matter if your style is natural or glam, or how much time it takes you to get ready in the morning, what matters is finding products you love to use and that make you feel good.
This way, you can have a beauty routine that sticks.
Here are beauty items to consider decluttering:
- Jade rollers
- Cellulite brushes
- Whitening toothpaste
- Epilators and shaving products
- Expired makeup and medicines
- Hair curlers or straiteners
- Scrubs and soaks
- And more…
Technology is powerful; it has the ability to make your life great or miserable, depending on how you use it.
Here are a few toxic technology scenarios:
- You have a perfectly good cheap laptop (and no money) but you dream of being “that cool kid” who sits on their brand new Apple Macbook laptop at the local Starbucks, sipping iced lattes and writing their thesis. Maybe you will buy a new Mac with your credit card?
- You suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out), so every time your phone buzzes or lights up, you can’t help but check what just happened. When you are bored you scroll endlessly for hours, refreshing over and over again to see what’s new. It feels like an endless hamster wheel.
- Your digital life is a mess; you have 30,000 unread emails, your computer storage is almost full, and you feel stressed out every time you open your computer — you tell yourself, “I’m too busy to deal with this” and push it to the side for another day.
Take a look at the technology you have in your home, such as computers, laptops, gaming equipment, smartphones, TVs, photography and videography equipment, speakers, etc, and think about:
- if you have a healthy relationship with that thing
- if you have used it in the past 6-12 months
- if looking at that thing causes you stress
If not, maybe it’s time to say adios or tidy up.
Final thoughts about how to be yourself
Leave a comment below with a toxic fantasy self item you would like to declutter and how you are going to be happier by embracing your true self this year!