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Emotional decluttering

UNIVERSE WITHIN by Gwen Randall-Young

Portrait of Gwen Randall-Young

Freedom… is the act of releasing ourselves from the bondage of that which keeps us from living the life we were meant to live. – Kelli Wilson

When you live in the same place for a long time, you tend to accumulate clutter. Frequently, there are things you no longer need or use that are just taking up space. Sometimes, the clutter is a source of constant aggravation because you wish it would disappear.

Clutter may get in the way of doing what you really want because you can never find the things you need when you need them or simply because there is no room.

If you have never seriously decluttered, I can tell you it feels good. Just think how great it feels to even just clean your closet. You get a burst of energy, feel better about yourself and there’s no more contracted energy from looking at an overcrowded, messy space. The closet now holds only what you really like and need and there is space to add something new, if you choose.

Your body-mind is the home you have lived in all your life. And, yes, it too has closets.

The main space of your life consists of all that is current. The closets hold your history – all the memories, joys, sorrows, hurts and resentments and even long-ago established beliefs about yourself. Some things are so far back in the closet you have forgotten about them altogether. This is your subconscious.

So how do you declutter your life? Much the same as you do a house or office. The difference is that with physical decluttering it has to do with usefulness. Emotional decluttering has to do with feeling.

Think of the people, situations and things that uplift you, bring you joy and energize you. Then think of those that stress you or that which you dislike, bring you down and deplete your energy. Take an honest inventory. This is not about what you think; it is about how you feel. Imagine you are a magnet. The things that are good for you create a sense of attraction. Those that are not create repulsion; you want to pull away from them.

Often, we keep things in our lives that do not serve us in a healthy way out of a sense of duty, obligation or not wanting to hurt another. This is similar to the hoarder who cannot let anything go.

You do not have to keep people in your life who are distressing to you even if they are family members. If you hate your job, get working on finding another. If you are always doing for others and it is draining you, start setting boundaries and learning to say “no.”

Equally important is letting go of things we do that are harmful to ourselves. We have to assess our level of health and fitness, releasing bad habits and starting new ones.

Most important is decluttering our minds. We do not need self-criticism and judgment. We do not need worry and “what if?” thoughts. Throw them all away and make room for self-validation, encouragement, acceptance and love.

Nurture and protect the inner child who has carried all the pain and fear. Let that child know he/she is now your first priority and no longer needs to seek acceptance, love and validation somewhere ‘out there’ for it is, now and ever, right here.

Gwen Randall-Young is an author and psychotherapist in private practice. For articles and information about her books, Deep Powerful Change hypnosis CDs and new Creating Healthy Relationships series, visit See display ad this issue.

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