The Three Versions of a Future Self
Working on and planning for our futures is important. It’s why we water plants, to help them grow. We can’t see them growing and photosynthesizing in real time - we just trust that giving them the attention they need will yield results with time: whether that be a new leaf, a flower, or a zucchini.
Welcome, my friends. We are already two weeks into the new year, can you believe it?
A lot of us are still trying to push onwards with our New Year’s Resolutions, and others have given up or quit. These next few weeks are a great time to evaluate the goals you have set for yourself; which ones are deserving of your effort, which ones you can quit, and how they impact the person you are becoming.
What does this mean, and
what does it have to do with goal setting? What does it have to do with decluttering and organizing your home?
In our lives, most of us buy and then proceed to hang on to things that are not actually ours. Huh? Amanda, what do you mean? Surely the things that I buy for myself are mine?
Nope! I said what I said.
The reality is that we sometimes buy things that are not for us as we are now, but rather for the person we WISH WE WERE, or the person we WANT TO BE.
The Person We Wish We Were
The person we wish we were is someone who it is physically impossible to be: our fantasy self. This ideal self is well beyond our reach, beyond our ability to attain no matter how hard we strive for it. They have things you will never have, and are things you will never be. This person may be five inches taller than you are, be a natural blonde when you have red hair, or be a retired actor who made all their money in their childhood. These things are great daydreams, things we think about and imagine where we would be now, or how our lives would be different if we were that person.
The Person We Want to Be
A step down from this is the person we want to be. This version is also an ideal self, but lives in a space just beyond our reach. In other words, while the person we wish we were is fully beyond our reach, the person we want to be is a possible version of ourselves: it just may take a heck of a lot of work to get there. This version of yourself is where I see a lot of people get stuck when it comes to our possessions; we’ll buy things that we would love to see ourselves using one day, whether that be a dress two sizes too small, a cookbook we tell ourselves we will get to someday, or a kayak when we live in the desert and hate being wet.
When viewing this version of yourself, it is important to consider your priorities. While your ideal self might do some of the things you wish you were doing, like practicing yoga every day or having a ten step skincare routine, the reality is those things might not be a priority for you right now. And that’s okay. Ask yourself: how is who I want to be different from who I am now? What would it take to get there? What types of maintenance would it require? Is it in line with my principles, morals, and values?
The Person You Are Becoming
Now we have arrived at the third self - perhaps not necessarily an ideal self, but instead a future self - we will call this the person you are becoming.
While the person you wish you were and the person you want to be are comprised of ideals and are sometimes static, the person you are becoming is active. They are constantly being created with every single decision you make during the day, with the words you choose, the ideas you give weight to, with the self power you maintain or give away. The person you are becoming is also exciting because it is constantly changing. It is the bridge between the person you are right now, right in this second, and perhaps a version of the person you want to be. It allows you to be goal oriented and aware of the future while also being extremely present in the moment - grounded, but also living in imagination.
Part of decluttering and organizing is taking a step back to evaluate how your home looks and functions right now. Is it working for you now and are the things you own for the person you are right now, who you are becoming, or do they belong to someone else: your ideal self, or even for the person you were in the past? Without this perspective, it is difficult to go on with the process of creating a beautiful and peaceful living space. Sometimes we desperately want to hold on to things because we “might use them someday!” But, my friends, this isn’t always a reason: it’s an excuse.
Questions to ask when decluttering:
1. Does this belong to a version of me, or to someone else?
2. Did this belong to my past self?
3. Does this belong to me, as I am, right this second?
4. Does this belong to the person I am actively becoming?
5. Or does this belong to an ideal version of myself? If so, what would I have to change about the way I think and act in order to get to the version of myself that this item belongs to? Is that change worth it to me?
We are on a mission to ultimately create space for good things to enter our lives. Perhaps when we remove the clutter of versions of ourselves that we are not, we create space to blossom in ways that we can't yet imagine.
“The place we live should be for the person we are becoming now – not for the person we have been in the past.” – Marie Kondo