23 June 2013

Emotional Clutter





by ekkiPics

When I am talking to a client about conquering their clutter, I start by asking them to think about the reasons the clutter exists. You can always count on a lack of good organizing systems, even if it just includes a simple bowl on a table for their keys. Often, clutter is also about emotions and habits of holding on to things they really don’t need. Clutter can work as a security blanket for us. Material things can conjure up happy emotions of times past. Some things actually bring up negative feelings and they stay in our homes because we are afraid to deal with those emotions. These items might include a lost loved one’s possessions.clothes that no longer fit us or hundreds of craft projects that we promise someday to start.  It can be very hard to let go of these items.

Clutter in our lives is not always in the form of a tangible object. We have emotional clutter too. We hold onto feelings of sadness and anger that prevent us from moving forward. We hold onto dreams that no longer serve us in their original manifestation. We hide under feelings of insecurity because they seem safer and they are familiar. Although all of these emotions are completely natural they hold us back the same way the clutter in our work space can hold us back creatively. If our work desk is covered in bills and scraps of paper that we are not going to use, it is hard for many of us to feel happy and free in that space. The same goes for our heart and our spirit. If we are full of negative emotions or anger, our judgement can be clouded. There is less space for new ideas and love. Negative feelings take up a lot of real estate.

William Doverspike, Ph.D discusses forgiveness in an article for the Georgia Psychological Association. He explains forgiveness as a way of fighting anger and resentment. We use resentment because of the payoff. We think we get something in return for feeling this way. Maybe it makes us feel good to make another person feel bad. Perhaps we think resentment keeps us close to the person we lost. Maybe it helps us feel in control in a horrible situation. Doverspike appears to agree with psychologists Suzanne Freedman and Robert Enright
The process of forgiveness does not change the past; it changes the present and opens the door to the future. Forgiveness involves letting go of unrealistic expectations, which can otherwise serve as premeditated resentments. Forgiveness involves a sense of loving detachment, which is the ability to show compassion without trying to control outcomes. In the same way that letting go requires opening one’s hands, practicing forgiveness requires opening one’s heart.”  
In other words, forgiveness gives us much needed space and possibilities of freedom and happiness.

Let’s practice this emotional decluttering together. If you are holding onto negative emotions make a list of the ways these emotions are not serving you. What are you risking by not letting these feelings go? What would be the benefits of working on these feelings?


Shelly is the founder of the program Creating Space, Mindful Living – motivating and inspiring people to run their businesses more efficiently. She helps others look at their personal and professional lives and explore what is and isn’t working. As a jewelry designer she has spent many years testing and honing the skills and discipline needed to run your own creative business while still having time for friends, family and fun. She puts her wealth of experience to use in the Creating Space service – healthy living advice to help keep you motivated and make the most out of your already busy schedule. She will help you find both the physical and emotional space so you can pursue your dreams and she’ll always insist there’s time for yourself. You can also find Creating Space on Facebook or contact shelly@creatingspacemindfulliving.com