In this my new G (gentle) year I am called to write about stuff. Not just any old stuff, but our personal stuff and, of-course, other people’s stuff. And it’s not stuff and nonsense either.

Well we all have stuff. Stuff is clutter in our lives, which most of us assume is either furniture or objects that we hoard. And yes. That’s stuff. But the stuff I’m referring to here is personal; feelings of insecurity or hurts which could come from either experiences in our child-hood, or from a loss that we haven’t yet grieved; from a constant sense of failure, from past hurts, from disability, from a sense of poverty. One thing for sure it’s personal, all emotional and it hurts, not only us, but others too. It affects the choices we make, the way we react to what happens to us in life and our interaction with others.

Take John (just a name and example), who carries a deep sense of rejection. This affects every relationship as he acts out in a manner which assumes he will be rejected before anyone can get close. Susan (just a name and example) feels unworthy, insecure and inadequate and assumes she has to pay for love or acceptance, or makes bad relationship choices or constantly seeks attention.

We are all called to ‘do our stuff’ and deal with our issues at some stage in our life, usually when the hurt becomes too much to bear, or when we find ourselves in the same situation time and again, going no-where. And this is when the story gets interesting.

More often, Instead of facing up to our stuff we get stuck into other people’s stuff, because it so much more interesting and keeps us busy so we don’t have to deal with our stuff. It happens with a judgement call, when we assume that Mary (just a name and example) can’t seem to manage, or isn’t doing ‘things’ the way we think she should. This is interference. And interference (or meddling) causes so much damage. It can break partnerships, distort relationships and cause wars. International stuff!

Another way of not dealing with our stuff is when we project our stuff onto others (usually those close to us) and blame them for our irrational behaviour, current situation or choices made. Or, we push our stuff under the carpet, deny that we have any stuff (issues); bravely marching on, with our bodies bristling with bottled up stuff, causing health problems. But issues they are and remain so, until we have the courage to face up to them, work through them and come out the other side stronger and more at peace with ourselves, our life and others. Unlike furniture, we can’t off-load it or give this stuff away. We have to embrace and work through it.

How do we fix things? Well we can’t fix IT if IT is not our stuff. We can’t change other people, we can only change ourselves. Being honest with our stuff, forgiving ourselves and letting the past go will do it, bringing peace, understanding and emotional maturity… Giving others time and space (with no interference) to do their stuff is the best we can do for others. If it’s not our stuff let it lie.

I leave you with a lovely saying I’ve used in my personal management workshops – “Lets’ give our hang-ups a rest and join the human race”


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