Cleaning out your emotional trash

Last post we addressed mental clutter, all the things we need to do running around in our heads. You can read that post HERE.

Today we are going to talk about emotional clutter. This is a little more tough, and one we probably don’t like to think about much, but nonetheless, it is still there, just under the surface, affecting our every move.

What IS emotional clutter?

Emotional clutter comes from the negative emotions and limiting beliefs that we have accumulated from past negative experiences. Unfortunately, we often stockpile these negative emotions and limiting beliefs and hang on to them long after the initial causes of them are gone.

Feelings such as anger, sadness, hurt, fear, anxiety and guilt fester and grow as we hold on to them, causing us to overreact to situations we encounter now.

The beliefs we form about ourselves (or others) from negative experiences can limit our ability to achieve our goals or to be happy.

Some of the emotional clutter we may carry:

  • Worries
  • Low self-image
  • Toxic relationship
  • Guilt
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Inability to trust
  • Anger
  • Negative outlook, pessimist

How to get rid of emotional clutter

I wish it were as easy as putting it in a big trash bag and throwing in the dumpster, but alas, it is not.

However, many times just acknowledging that the junk is in there, inside of you, can help you to gain control over it, instead of the other way around.

When those negative thoughts and emotions rise up, you can put them in their place, remind them that they are no longer welcome.

And if you are unsure of what some of your emotional clutter may be? I encourage you to write. Whether you type it, or the good old fashioned way, with pen and paper. Just start writing about the things that bother you. Let it flow.

You may find that the tears start flowing as well.

That is not a bad thing. 

The tears help you to know you have come across something that needs addressing. AND tears themselves can be very healing.

I would like to add, there is a verse in the Bible that talks about this very thing. Even if you aren’t necessarily a Christian, the wisdom is still good. It comes from the second half of 2 Cor. 2:10:

… and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

When we don’t have control of these negative thoughts, they can run rampant through our minds, wreaking havoc on our attempt at a peaceful, balanced life.

It is important that we DO take control of these thoughts. You HAVE control over your thoughts, even more-so through the power of Christ. You just have to exercise that control. And if you still struggle, prayer is a great way to gain that control.

Even if you don’t FEEL like you have control, you have to ACT AS IF you do. Stand strong and don’t let those thoughts bully you around!

While I am writing this, I am thinking of my own emotional clutter, and things I am prone to continue to let weigh me down. This is something that I struggle with on a daily basis.

Each and every day, I have to stand up to the negativity in my mind.

As tough as that is, it is better than the alternative. I have lived the other way, and it is no picnic. So, I will keep on fighting, every day.

What emotional clutter is weighing you down?


This post is linked up with Shell’s Pour Your Heart Out Second Anniversary party

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6 comments to Cleaning out your emotional trash

  • Writing really helps me deal with anxiety. We are dealing with my mother’s serious illness and I find it helpful to pour out my emotions on paper.

  • Sonja

    Holy molly – this is just an awesome article. I so needed to hear this. I too need to unclutter my emotional garbage that I’ve been carrying with me for way too long. I hate it because it wears me down and prevents me from being who I am. It suffocates me and it’s just finally time to get rid of it. Thank you so much for this. I will definitely take this to heart but I am scared to deal with some of the stuff that I’ve carried within me for so long. Is there a great book or something that you could recommend that could help me go through all this step by step and also explaining my feelings? The thing is, I have 3 kids (10,7 and 5) and I really don’t want them to see Mami upset or going through stuff. I know I need to deal with this alone – I will face the Giant but I really would appreciate and need some advise. Again, thanks so much for this.

    bernicewood Reply:

    Some of our stuff CAN be scary! And it is sometimes better to deal with things slowly and not try to tackle all the giants at once!
    Below are 4 books that could be helpful for you. Read the decsriptions and see which one speaks most to how YOU are feeling.
    Blessings to you!

    Healing Your Emotional Self

    The Courage to Be Yourself

     The Gifts of Imperfection

    Living Beyond Your Feelings 

  • The worry is what gets to me!
    Shell recently posted..Pour Your Heart Out: Second AnniversaryMy Profile

  • Encouraging post. Thank you. I journal and know I spill my emotions often on these pages. This past weekend I was on retreat and prayerfully let go on a painful past experience. I imagine putting the whole incident on top of one of the hug white clouds racing by the window and letting God take it away. It was gone then so I can’t retrieve it. Now to be honest I know there is still some hurt there, it will take time to heal but definitely knew the healing began. thanks for the encouraging words today.
    Jean Wise recently posted..The Tender Gaze of God – a Silent Retreat ExperienceMy Profile

  • [...] These two are somewhat intertwined. This post we’ll talk about the mental clutter and the next post will be on the emotional clutter. [...]