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Know Your Worth: Take time to clear out the clutter in your life

by on March 01, 2018 1:27 PM

As we celebrate the beginning of spring this month, many of us will begin the task of doing yard work, cleaning out flower beds, and preparing the soil for new growth. Likewise, we may go through our living spaces and clear out drawers and closets in the hopes of feeling more organized and prepared for a new season of sunnier days and warmer temperatures. 

Spring cleaning is a process that for some can be overwhelming and sometimes unpleasant, but the end result is always a feeling of relief, increased energy, and a sense of accomplishment.

Just like we need to take time to clear out our physical spaces, we need to also make time to do some spring cleaning in our emotional closets.

When we ignore or repress uncomfortable feelings for years on end, the result is a cluttered heart that begins to harden and have trouble connecting. The only way to keep our hearts free and clear of junk is to make time regularly to do an inventory of how we are feeling.

If, for example, you are always tired no matter how much sleep you get (and you have ruled out a medical condition), this is a sign of avoidance. Perhaps you know you are in a career that is not what you were meant to do and rather than take the risk to create the career you were meant to have, you go to work day after day and come home feeling drained and detached.

Are you avoiding being honest with a loved one because you are scared of the reaction? Are you avoiding ending a relationship that is toxic because you are terrified of being alone? Sometimes what we are avoiding could be subtle day-to-day things that will help us feel better physically like diet, exercise, drinking enough water, and cutting down on TV and social media.

Emotional avoidance will always speak to us in the form of fatigue. If you feel like you are in a funk and have low energy, take some time to dig deeper and see if you can pinpoint what you are avoiding.

Another way our bodies will let us know it’s time to spring clean is if we feel anxious all the time. Anxiety can take many forms, but if you experience an undercurrent of dis-ease in everyday life chances are you have difficulty processing feelings.

For example, sometimes what you think may be an anxiety problem is really an avoidance of your true feelings. Perhaps deep down you are furious with a parent or friend for something that happened in the past; rather than process the feelings and acknowledge them, you bury them hoping you will “get over it.”

The truth is you can never “get over” a difficult feeling by ignoring it, you have to get through it and work through it one step at a time; this is the only way you can move forward with an unburdened heart.

If you are experience anxiety daily, stop and ask yourself what you are feeling. Are you sad, angry, disappointed, etc.? Simply stopping to explore the feelings will ease the dis-ease that you feel.

When we avoid our emotions and feelings we will feel exhausted and/or anxious most of the time. Just like spring cleaning involves some new mulch, weeding, and clearing out, there is a method you can use to clear the emotional clutter you carry around in your heart.

Step 1: Acknowledge the feelings. Say out loud to yourself, “I am so angry about this situation and I acknowledge my anger.”

Step 2: Validation. Use compassion and understanding to validate the uncomfortable feeling. Say out loud, “I understand why you are so angry. You feel hurt because … and I want you to know I understand why you feel that way.”

Step 3: Give Space. We are humans, not robots; sometimes it takes time to work through uncomfortable feelings. Give yourself space to slowly work through the feeling. If you put pressure on yourself to get over the anger (or sadness, disappointment, etc.) you will only find yourself back in a cycle of exhaustion and anxiety. Be patient with yourself and use compassion to work through your feelings.

This process of continually processing your feelings in a healthy way will keep the flower beds of your heart free of weeds and pests.

Don’t wait until you are in the ICU of emotional distress. Get ready for a new season of light, new growth, and hope. You are worth it!

Meghan Fritz is a psychotherapist practicing in State College.


Meghan Fritz is a psychotherapist at Sunpointe Health in State College.
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