Share: Psychology Today-Cleaning Out My Life!

Throughout my life, I have faced numerous unnecessary obligations that were imposed upon me by others. These obligations often resulted in a constant internal battle of “shoulds.” I believe many individuals can relate to this struggle.

However, in recent months, I have made a conscious effort to free myself from these obligations. I have realized that my only obligations now lie with myself and my husband. We are the sole individuals responsible for maintaining our household, paying bills, and tending to yard work and housework. No longer do these external influences hold any power over our decisions and actions. Nobody can dictate to us or force us to stop pursuing what we desire. I am beholden to no person, employment, or agency anymore.

Consequently, I have lost the need to answer to anyone from any point in my life. The day that my husband and I left Ontario marked the breaking of all ties to this toxic situation and the people involved. We are no longer compelled to remain silent or cater to the wishes of others. Although it took me some time to internalize this, I am now fully aware of our newfound freedom.

Additionally, settling matters with the property owners, which I am unable to discuss in detail, speaks volumes regarding the accountability of the situation. If any wrongdoing had occurred on my part while performing my job duties, this resolution would not have been achieved. This documentation provides me with solace and confirms that I have conducted myself appropriately.

I deliberately engage in actions such as this to attain peace of mind. Previously, I was under the control of oppressive forces, including adult tenant bullies and property owners. The entire situation made me feel obligated to answer their questions and defend myself against their accusations. Over time, I developed a bad habit of engaging in this way.

Whenever someone questioned me, I automatically felt compelled to respond. Their persistence and insistence created a sense of brainwashing and made me defensive. Even when other tenants questioned me while I left my apartment, I felt the need to defend myself.

Upon reflecting on August 24, 2017, and the emotional state I was in after being verbally attacked by a tenant bully, I feel sympathy for the person I used to be. I was overly defensive, always on edge, and constantly anticipating the next negative event where I would be portrayed as a bad person. I lived in a state of hypervigilance at all times.

Fear prevented me from informing the property owners about filing a personal application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO). Although this matter was personal to me, I knew their response would be unfavourable, despite their previous directive to ignore the behaviour of their tenants. I faced difficulties throughout this process, but, eventually, I managed to overcome them.

Unfortunately, a few months later, the HRTO dismissed the case due to a mix-up. I was then lied to, as I was assured that my concerns would be considered in a hearing related to their applications. However, since they failed to attend the hearing and it was dismissed, none of my issues were addressed. I believe this dismissal influenced their subsequent disregard, as they knew they would ultimately lose.

Today, I am removing all these “musts” from my life. If I desire to spend the day writing posts for my website while neglecting household chores, I can do so without guilt. If I feel like waking up early for a walk on the nearby trails, I can do that too. If I want to go out and play darts, nobody can stop me. My time now solely belongs to me, and I am accountable only to myself.

Who truly has the right to criticize me for living life on my terms? If I wish to have 20 websites, there is no valid reason why I cannot, aside from time constraints. If I want to dedicate my days to discussing adult tenant bullies on my websites, I have every right to do so. I answer only to myself regarding my actions and do what I feel I must.

The practices I have implemented over the past few months have brought me to where I need to be. One such practice is the avoidance of rumination. Instead of dwelling on the past, I now direct my focus to the present and the surrounding environment. Shifting my mindset away from past events has become second nature, allowing me to embrace the here and now.

Regarding digital activities, I allocate my mornings, until around 10-11 am, for online engagements since I am an early riser. The remainder of the day is devoted to both essential household tasks and personal endeavours, such as exercising, playing games, taking relaxing baths, or colouring while listening to music. I also dedicate time to connecting with friends, and family, and occasionally running errands or going for walks, particularly when the weather is pleasant. Maintaining a balance is crucial, and I limit my time spent online, ensuring that this website does not consume all of my attention.

I encourage you to try these practices and witness the positive impact they can have on your mental well-being. For me, they have worked wonders, and I am grateful for the transformation they have brought about.


  • “Must bunnies” create must-do lists full of “should’s,” which crowd your schedule, drain your energy, swamp your attention, and stress you out.
  • To clear out the must bunnies, mindfully minimize your rumination, digital clutter, social obligations, and time sinks.
  • By casting out the must bunnies, you calm your mind, boost your well-being, and have more time and energy for living your best life.

Anyway, forget about the dust bunnies under your bed because there is a far more insidious mess that warrants your attention: Let’s call them “must bunnies.” Must bunnies dwell in your mind where they generate stressful thoughts, bothersome compulsions, and irrelevant must-do lists full of should’s, such as “I should wake up earlier, or “I should help out,” or “I should spend time with them,” or “I should get over it.”

Must bunnies wreak havoc because they impose unnecessary obligations, meaningless distractions, and unrealistic expectations that interfere with your awareness of your authentic self, what you truly want, and how you truly feel. Separated from your true potential, priorities, and feelings, you may feel anxious, overwhelmed, or even depressed.

For a new type of spring cleaning, try minimizing the must bunnies, so you can free your mind, cultivate calm, boost your well-being, and live your best life.

Here are four basic types of must bunnies and strategies for clearing them out.

Rumination Must Bunnies

Rumination means deep and careful thought. In particular, you may ruminate on what happened in the past to make sense of it or extract the lessons. And you may ruminate on what might happen in the future, weigh the options, or make plans. But when rumination is obsessive and stressing about the past (If only I’d done it differently; I should’ve known better), or worrying about the future (I’m going to fail; I should do more; I’ll be all alone), your sense of self-worth and wellbeing falters.

Practice bringing your awareness to the present moment to clear out those must include bunnies. Turn your attention to what you see with your eyes, or hear with your ears or your breath. You can observe colors and light, the sounds of music, traffic, or people, or the sensations of your breathing, in and out. Your attention may wander, but you strengthen your ability as you keep bringing it back to the present moment. How does this cast out the must bunnies?

When you mindfully bring your awareness into the present moment, neither the past nor the future matter. Your mind calms and accepts that you can’t change what has happened nor predict what will happen. Then, instead of ruminating on what-ifs and shoulds, you can cultivate self-compassion for your mistakes, focus on what you truly want right now, and wonder what will happen next with a curious mindset. This practice cultivates a calm mind and a centered life.

Digital Must Bunnies

Digital intake of news, information, and social media can add to one’s life, but for too many people, it overtakes life. Yes, world events, updating knowledge, and scanning posts by friends and favorite celebrities can be super-compelling, but mindfully notice, “How involved am I in living my own life?” With a mostly outward focus, you may feel informed and in the loop, but these “must-dos” and lack of inward focus lead to losing touch with yourself, what you experience, and what you want.

To experiment with this, try going on a run, walk, hike, or bike ride without earbuds, and notice where your mind wanders. As Socrates observed, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” And if you’re feeling bored or anxious unless you’re plugged in, perhaps you’ve fallen into a modern twist on this truism: “The unlived life is not worth examining.” Unplug so you can calm your brain and free your mind to reconnect with yourself. Your life is waiting for you, and it’ll be as interesting as you make it.

Social Must Bunnies

Having a vibrant social life is important, but when social “must do’s” are wearing you out or keeping you from your priorities, it’s time to tidy up. This entails reducing the amount of time you spend with people you don’t really care about or people you find draining. Then you can increase the amount of time you spend, preferably face-to-face, with people you enjoy, who fill you up and energize you. You can also carve out more alone time, letting your mind wander or pursue what fulfills you.

Time Sink Must Bunnies

We all have responsibilities that need tending. And a key responsibility is to unload the “should’s” that waste your time or energy and keep you from meeting the responsibilities that really matter and doing what you really want to be doing. Now, you may worry that if you only do what you want, you’ll stay in bed and eat chocolate for the rest of your life.

And if that’s what you truly desire, go for it. But after a time, maybe even a couple of minutes (or maybe a whole weekend), even this indulgence gets tiresome. And actually, doing what you want includes doing what’s necessary to live your best life, which, yes, means you actually want to do the laundry, file your taxes, walk the dog, and meet important deadlines. That’s because meeting these responsibilities holds intrinsic rewards you value.

And mindfully notice, when you think you should do something, but you don’t really want to, you can probably put it off until you feel motivated to do it. (And in due time, I finally got around to writing this blog post.) But what if there are no rewards you’d value, ever? What happens when you scratch that task off your list? How does it feel, for example, to not vacuum under heavy furniture? If that’s not your jam, you’re under no obligation. Really! Instead, go live your best life.

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