Getting Rid of Emotional Clutter (And Making Room for the Things That You Really Want)
My sweet mother-in-law just turned 90. She's been like a mother to me after losing my own mom to cancer. 'Nanny's' life has demonstrated so many admirable qualities I want to emulate. But I confess there’s one quality I’ll avoid modeling. She’s a bit of a pack rat. Having gone through her life habitually saving endless mementos and squirreling away countless ‘but-it-was-on-sale’ finds, every drawer, closet, shelf and storage bin is at capacity load. Downsizing for a small condo is now a monumental chore.
We're All Pack Rats Whether or not you fall into the category of a pack rat with possessions, most of us accumulate mental baggage. We collect drawers crammed with frustrations and closets brimming with unresolved conflicts.
Make Room for Happiness By the time we reach middle age, we find that there’s not a lot of room left over for happiness. At least that was my assessment as I found myself preparing to be an empty nester. I had stored away so many irritations and grievances, my soul felt cluttered. I decided to do some serious sorting out of my emotional clutter.
Create a Plan I made a plan. I took three steps.
I applied Marie Kondo’s ‘joy’ mantra to my emotional life.
Find the Comfort of Counsel Going to a good counselor is like getting spa sessions for your soul. A trained clinician can massage the muscles of memory and relieve their kinks and tightness. They can help you breathe more deeply and relax more into your life.
If you're considering counseling, there's great guidance in finding one HERE.
Take a Journaling Journey
There’s something powerful about writing in a journal. Especially when using skillful prompts. That’s exactly what the ‘Self Authoring’ course is! By dissecting your life into decades or seasons, you’re able to see themes and create a sense of order in your understanding.
If you're interested in Jordan Peterson's 'Self Authoring' Course, you can find out more info HERE.
Use the Kondo Rule As I talked to my counselor and journaled my way through messy memories, I used Marie Kondo’s ‘joy’ mantra as a filter. Asking myself, ‘Does this attitude spark joy?’ (Or does this response or reaction facilitate joy?)
‘“The best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one's hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it.’ Marie Kondo
Know it's Messy Business Sorting through life is messy business. I actually think it’s easier to sort through closets and drawers than it is to sift through life issues. Kondo’s encouragement to those purging closet chaos is just as pertinent to those attempting to do the same to their internal clutter.
Commit to the Process Stay committed to the process. It takes a gritty determination to declutter. The commitment to bring emotional clarity requires even more grit. The temptation to quit always lurks. Out of sight, out of mind describes the temptress. But our unresolved angst isn’t really ‘out of mind.’ It’s like an open tab that is always running in the background, draining us of vibrancy.
Don't be Discouraged Culling throughemotional baggage is daunting. As troubling memories are pulled out from the back of mental recesses, their sting can be freshly felt. But it’s a process. As painful residue tumbles out and piles at your feet, with resolve the mess does dissolve.
‘Don't be discouraged if your home temporarily looks worse while you're in the process of tidying.’ Marie Kondo
How are your emotional drawers and closets? If you find they're at maximum capacity, know you're not alone!
I hope these tips help inspire you on your own journey to clear out the cumbersome clutter make room for lots more joy.