In a word: edit. You don’t have to be compulsive about it, as Frankel admits to, but editing in moderation — your wardrobe, your refrigerator, your communication — is a good way to keep life simple and clear. From her book, A Place of Yes: 10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out of Life.
I am a compulsive editor. I edit everything in my life, and by that I mean that I get rid of anything that is not immediately necessary and crucial for my existence. Old black tank top? Toss it. Shoes I haven’t worn in two months? They’re gone. A chair I haven’t sat in for a while? Get it out. That extra spatula? Toss it. Extra words in a sentence that don’t say exactly what I mean? Cut, cut, cut.
I edit my kitchen tools, my wardrobe, my jewelry, my furniture, my writing, my counters, my drawers, the contents of my refrigerator. If I no longer need it or want it or love it, I get rid of it. To me, moving on from something that doesn’t work is not just liberating, it’s essential for my sanity. But I get extreme about it — you wouldn’t believe the things I’ve tossed. I have nothing from my past. I compulsively purge my possessions. It’s borderline straitjacket, it’s loony-bin, I know, you don’t have to tell me. But it’s the way I am. Sometimes I ask Jason if, when they finally put me away, he will visit me in the insane asylum and bring me muffins. Maybe because I moved so much as a child and always lost things along the way, editing has become a way for me to control my environment.
Here’s one way I like to edit: When I go on vacation, if I wear something and I don’t like how I feel in it or Jason makes a comment about how it’s not his favorite thing, I’ll just leave it in the hotel room. Maybe the next guest or someone on the hotel staff will find it and it will work for them. I consider it a form of recycling. If I decide it isn’t right for me, I am not putting it back in my suitcase.
I definitely take it too far, but I maintain that editing is a great practice — in moderation — and most people could do more of it. Being an editor of your life is a good way to keep things simple and clear.
Of course, relationships aren’t like clothes or spatulas or earrings or extra words in a paragraph. You can’t just cast people aside. However, if a relationship — romantic or otherwise — has become useless or lifeless or even worse, detrimental or painful or abusive, think about how you might edit it. Can you simplify it, so you can see it more clearly? Maybe the relationship has to go. It might be better for both of you.
In a way, being your own editor is like being your own advocate. It will help you find your truth, when there is just too much stuff in the way to see it clearly. See how you can apply it in your life — start with your closet, and end with your relationships.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bethenny Frankel, author of A Place of Yes: 10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out of Life (Copyright © 2011 by BB Endeavors, LLC), a graduate of The Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in New York City, is the star of her own Bravo show, the second season of which airs in 2011. Her recipes and health tips can be read monthly in Health and her trademark Skinnygirl Margarita is available in stores nationwide. She lives in New York City with her husband Jason, daughter Bryn, and dog, Cookie.
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