What’s in the bag?

Girls like handbags. No surprises to most people there.

First you get to choose the style and colour you prefer, having an on-going excuse to go shopping should you need something new to co-ordinate with an outfit.

But better than that, you get to fill it with stuff.

The average woman’s handbag contains a multitude of useful things, rather like the ‘man drawer’ in the kitchen, except not crammed with rubber bands, spanners and bits of electrical tape. And this can make even the most dainty bag heavy enough to be regarded a lethal weapon.

Purse, keys, tissues, makeup, diary….the list goes on – and that’s before many end up carrying the ‘mum stuff’ – toys that they insisted on bringing, and assured you they would carry themselves, snacks and yet more tissues!

A periodic declutter of a handbag – or man bag – can make you realise that you are lugging around stuff that is no longer useful in your life, or is broken – expired Strepsils, an old bus ticket and receipts for meals long forgotten.

Ok, I know this is another metaphor – let’s have it….

Have you seen the film UP IN THE AIR ? Personally, I don’t need an excuse to watch a George Clooney film, but it’s worth seeing if you haven’t. I won’t spoil it for you, but George’s character is a motivational speaker and does a speech entitled “what’s in your backpack” illustrating that it’s easy to fill your life with stuff that weighs you down, and may not actually be important, but prevents you filling your backpack with the things that matter.

You’ve probably heard a similar story involving a college lecturer and a jar of pebbles – it’s the same idea.


But it’s not about physical stuff

What do you carry around in your head that you don’t really need and is weighing you down?

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t fill your brain with knowledge, but how much of the other stuff could you let go of, and allow space for calm and rest.

1. Things to do

Sounds obvious but write them down, one of the easiest ways to stop your mind whirring as you try to get off to sleep is to empty your head onto a piece of actual paper. Once you’ve done this, be critical of the things on your list (see previous post) either decide they are important and make a plan to actually do them, or decide to delegate or delete them altogether.

2. People’s opinions of you

The serenity prayer suggests you should aim to accept the things that you cannot change and change the things you can, having the wisdom to know the difference. What other people think of you, is none of your business and the sooner you stop worrying about what other people think of you, the happier you will be.

We tell our children to be themselves and friends will come, yet as adults we often try to behave in a way that we think will make others like or respect us. STOP. Decide the type of person you would like to be, your values and what is important to you and then act with integrity and be yourself.

Concentrate on being the best version of that you can, and then let yourself be surrounded by friends, business contacts and colleagues that are on the same wavelength as you are. Whether you believe in the whole attraction / manifestation / secret stuff or not, life seems to have a way of connecting you with people that share your outlook. So be careful in what you project.

3. Regrets

We all have things in life that we wish we’d done differently, and things we should have said (or not). Unless there is an obvious way to put it right that you can add to your ‘action’ list – see above- then it’s time to let it go, for want of a catchy Disney tune. Make the decision to learn from it and do something different next time.


What should be in my head?

There is no right answer, and we are all different but there are key things that can help us function well and have a fulfilling and peaceful life:

  • Gratitude – take time everyday to think of at least 3 things you are grateful for. This can really put things in perspective, when you realise how much in your life is positive. For example, you may not win an award in a competition–but choose to be grateful that you had the opportunity to be involved.
  • Knowledge – try if you can to learn something new every day. Read a personal development book or a biography of someone you admire, or listen to an audio-book. Talk to interesting people about stuff that matters and learn from their wisdom.
  • A picture of your dream – what do you really want for your life? Imagine yourself slim, or running a successful business or living in France, whatever it is that you are aiming for in life. Now I’m not a great one for affirmations or visualisation activities, although many people find it is useful. I do believe passionately that if you don’t have a clear vision of where you want to end up, you are going to struggle to get there.


What’s next?

It’s time to choose the bag that matches your personality and ensure that you don’t give yourself backache lugging around the stuff that shouldn’t be in it.

You are an adult and can make your own choices, only give space to things that you decide are important. Not what your parents, friends or life history says you should carry.

Handbags and George Clooney… what more could a girl need?

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