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I talk a lot about clutter as a designer. You know, physical clutter…the stuff that piles up on the kitchen island, or beside the front door, or on the floor of your bedroom. But I’ve found that there are other types of clutter too. Just like physical clutter, emotional clutter takes up an enormous amount of our mental time and energy and often leaves us feeling like a jumbled mess.
Emotional Clutter in Our Relationships
I used to have a LOT of emotional clutter around my husband. I’m a “wake up at 6:30 am even on the weekends ready to go” kind-of girl. And, well, let’s just say my husband, Jon, is NOT!! So when I’d wake up and want to talk, he seemed disinterested. I thought it was because he just didn’t care about what I had to say. Sure I knew he wasn’t a morning person, but if he really cared about me, he’d still actively engage in conversation just to show me he loved me, right? These are all the thoughts my brain was telling me.
I thought he didn’t care about our marriage as much as I did and didn’t want to cultivate it. What did I want him to do? I wanted him to engage in lively, wonderful conversations early in the morning with me! To me, that would show me that he loved me and was genuinely interested in me… even after 20 years of marriage. But when he didn’t respond the way I wanted him to, my mind filled with thoughts like “He’s not interested in me.” “He doesn’t love me the way I love him.”
Do you have a ‘manual’?
Those thoughts caused me a lot of pain and resentment… emotional clutter. Through life coach training, I realized that I had a manual for Jon. What’s a manual? It was my imaginary guidebook for how he should act, what he should think and how he should treat me. Anytime he didn’t follow that guidebook, I was hurt, resentful and frustrated. I decided to let go of the manual. Completely let it go.
Letting go is a choice
Don’t get me wrong, it still pops up in my head from time to time (after all, I’m human!!), but I recognize it for what it is when it does. Letting go of the manual was my way of acknowledging that he gets to do whatever he wants to do, say whatever he wants to say, and be whoever he wants to be (all adults do, right?) He isn’t responsible for my feelings. I’m responsible for my own feelings. Ever since I let go of that manual, I’ve felt free… free to truly love unconditionally and take responsibility for my own feelings. I have much less emotional clutter.
Thoughts are a choice
So the next time I’m blaming him for how I feel (and I promise I will!), I’ll stop and remind myself that I can choose what I think about his actions. And it’s my thoughts (not his actions) that determines how I feel. What about you? Is there a relationship you’re struggling with right now? Is it creating a lot of emotional clutter for you? As a certified life coach, I can help you. Click here to book a coaching discovery call.
I’m Kricia Palmer, and I help women physicians let go of clutter and create beautiful, clutter-resistant homes so they can feel more peace, get more rest and be more focused.
Create a home you love that fits YOUR style, so you feel relaxed, inspired, and enjoy every space in your home.