Mental Real Estate

University sports aren’t exactly the first place I go looking for sage words of wisdom. Yet recently, after some big American football rivalry match-up (in which the historical loser lost once again), I came across the most wonderful quotation from the losing team about their David-and-Goliath rivalry:

“No matter how many titles they win, we will always live in their minds rent free.”

It was an accurate statement for this football rivalry: Even though, year after year, the dominant team continues to win titles and beat the lesser rival, the Goliath’s fans take to social media mocking the David’s fans, because they just can’t let go of being bothered by the losing team.

The notion of letting someone or something live rent free in my mind struck me as powerful. Your mind is real estate, limited and precious. You are the landlord, deciding who gets to reside in your mind, and who doesn’t make the cut. When you think about it like this, it really makes you realize how many wonderful, fruitful thoughts are crowded out of your mental real estate by things that shouldn’t be there.

For example, I can be really bad about obsessing over whether everyone likes me. If I even get so much of an inkling of a feeling that a new acquaintance doesn’t like me, I will spend hours of my time ruminating over the situation. Why isn’t she being friendly back to me? Is it something I said or did? What can I do to make this random, inconsequential person like me? In this situation, friends and loved ones will tell me just to drop it and let it be.

And they are right. There are so many more wonderful things that should be filling my mental real estate: Love for people, creative ideas for my blog, deep thoughts about life lessons I am learning, moments of meditation to clear my mind.

All of these things are excellent tenants of my mental real estate, and I really should work on evicting the cyclical negative thoughts that bear no fruit.

Tell me, who or what do you let occupy your mental real estate? Are there any tenants you want to evict?

Until next time,

xoxo Charlotte


  1. I needed exatly those words this morning. My boyfreind’s ex-wife has taken on harrasing me on social media, writing abotu me on her blog, insulting me with her friends on Twitter… It affects me a lot but your words helped me realise that giving her my thoughts and my mind ‘rent free’ is useless. There’s a reason he is with me now and not with her, and I should focus on living my life happily and working on my relationship instead of letting her ruin my days… Thank you! x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Frede, I am so glad this post resonated with you! That is absolutely terrible that his ex treats you like that and is very reflective of her character. For me at least, even when I know someone has a poor character, it is hard for me not to let them get to me and live in my mind rent free. You have so many more wonderful things to fill your mental space with though! 💖

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I like the idea of thinking of this as real estate as well, however, I feel like there should be “open for business” hours as well. Certain things, for example, work related can occupy space only at certain times of the day.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. At this particular moment in time, nobody untoward is squatting in my real estate space. All those there are people who deserve a residence. That’s not to say that undeserving people haven’t jimmied the lock and sat in a property without prior consent before, nor is it saying they won’t again. They have and will. I’ve wasted a lot of my precious thinking time allowing somebody or something that didn’t warrant it to take it up. It’s one of those unavoidable annoyances in life. You’ve just gotta hope that you find the fortitude to go into your property, grab them by the scruff of the neck and throw them out nice and quick before they get too comfortable in there

    Liked by 1 person

    • It sounds like you are in good practice as far as evicting toxic, worthless thoughts as soon as they creep into your mind! I am slowly working on it. The thing I am finding that helps me is to remind myself of how utterly fruitless my worrying/obsessing is. I am a very logical person, so if I can remind myself that I am engaging in a behavior that is illogical, then that helps me disengage from it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Post script to my first comment: Another thing I do that am I finding helps is to motivate myself positively with the prospect of the greater creativity that comes from devoting mental energy to creative pursuits. I remind myself that I can’t very well think about blog post ideas or story ideas if I am obsessing over whether Susie-down-the-road likes me or not.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Again, our minds are in synch there. I like to immerse myself in my writing mainly because writing is awesome, but partly because it has a way of blocking out the mental poison that likes to seep in. I won’t say I’ve mastered the art of keeping squatters out of my properties, but I’m getting better at finding methods of doing so. I certainly find myself less concerned by what unimportant people’s critique of me is. If I don’t know them well then they don’t know me well either, so their critique is surely without proper foundation

        Liked by 1 person

  4. wow….resonates with me. I am a little fact I just wrote about it in my blog. Sometimes my mental real estate is negative. And one time it even came true when I suspected my tenant of something! That means I had to control the “actual real estate” and the “mental real estate”! I think blood just came out my ear…mind blown…hehe

    Liked by 1 person

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