When Courtney Carver began Project 333, in which you pair down your wardrobe and dress with only 33 items, she learned much more about just living with less. The process of learning what to keep and what to get rid of, and how to simply live with less, taught her lessons about the unnecessary emotional weight we carry, and what, in her opinion, we all need to shed.
1. Stop Wearing the Guilt of Your Past
In his play MacBeth, William Shakespeare described guilt as “life’s fitful fever” . Many of us carry guilt, and for some it can be crippling. Constantly wondering whether you could have done something more or better for your partner, your kids, your community, or your career can tear you up inside, or completely debilitate you.
Guilt can have positive consequences, and can sometimes push people to do the right thing, however, when taken to the extreme it can cause severe stress. Michael McKee, Ph.D., former vice-chairman of The Cleveland Clinic’s psychiatry and psychology department, explains that there is a spectrum of guilt.
“Some people don’t have the positive guilt that keeps you on the straight and narrow. Others have guilt that eats away at their soul; they rarely have a moment of peace,” he said .
Carver explained in her essay that guilt prevents you from fully enjoying your life, and if you’ve been struggling with it, you’ve paid enough.
“You can stop paying now. Let go, apologize, forgive and choose to live free of guilt and regret” .
2. Stop Wearing the Pressure to Prove Yourself
Being forced to pair down her wardrobe also caused Carver to change her shopping habits and, quite simply, purchase less. In doing this, she realized that she very rarely shopped for clothes because she needed them, but because she wanted to feel a certain way or be perceived in a certain way.
The trouble with this, she noted, is that there is always more to prove, and the more you try, the more you lose yourself in the process .
Pressure can be a good thing- it can push you to strive for more, to work harder, and to achieve success. There is, however, a point of diminishing returns when it comes to putting pressure on yourself, and it can lead to crippling amounts of anxiety and stress.
Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your body. It can lead to depression, and even dampen your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness and disease. It can affect your sleep and your moods as well, which will have a negative impact on your productivity at work and your relationships at home and with your friends .
Carver realized that she had been using clothing as a way to prove who she was, and that constantly trying to prove herself was wearing her down. She realized that if you have to prove yourself to the people you love, then that really isn’t love. If you’re struggling to prove yourself on the job, maybe that job just isn’t the right fit for you. She believes that when you stop trying so hard to prove yourself, it allows you to finally just be yourself.
“Stop pushing and proving and wishing that people would see you the way you think you need to be seen to succeed. Instead, let them see you for you.” 
3. Stop Wearing the Weight of Other People’s Expectations and Judgements
The third item on her list is possibly the most important. At the beginning of the challenge, Carver was worried that people were going to notice that she was wearing the same things all the time. What she found out, however, is that no one noticed, and no one cared.
This made her ask herself why she was trying to please everyone with her life choices all the time, why she had this need to meet other peoples’ expectations.
We often put more stock into what other people think of us than what we think of ourselves, and many of us will go to self-defeating lengths in order to avoid being judged negatively by others. We shy away from saying what we truly think, or speaking up and giving our thoughts and opinions in group situations, or asking for what we want in even trivial situations, like when deciding what to have for dinner.
This desire for approval is born out of the need to be liked by everyone all the time. This, however, is impossible, and when we keep trying to win at a losing game, we are unable to experience or express our true selves .
Judgments are often based on rules that don’t make sense and cause harm to everyone around us. But have you ever asked yourself the question “how would I live my life if I wasn’t afraid of being judged by others”? For some of us it is hard to even imagine such a life, but it is possible to live this way.
When Carver let go of her fear of judgment, she was able to trust herself and to live her life regardless of what other people thought.
“I’m not good or bad or right or wrong because of what anyone else thinks. I can’t control what they think and I’m not going to change myself trying.” 
Quit Wearing Things that are Weighing You Down
Carver urges everyone to stop wearing these things right now. She encourages everyone to wear the clothes they want to wear and live the life they want to live. Once you do this, you will feel lighter and happier, and be able to experience the real joy that life has to offer.
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