The weather is warmer and it’s actually light outside when you leave work, which means that it’s (finally) spring. What is it about the warm weather and the long days that create the desire for a fresh start? Maybe it’s a residual feeling from our school days that’s telling us that summer is near – so it’s time to get ready.

While cleaning out the closet, basement, attic, car is always a part of our perpetual “to do” list, we never think about cleaning out our emotional closet. You read that right…we have emotional closets.

Our emotional closet is made up of all those “icky” feelings that we’ve been holding onto that keep us stuck and ultimately make us feel bad about ourselves. This closet doesn’t just contain our own hurt feelings but it also holds the guilt we feel about some our own wrongdoings.

While we may never forget having our heart-broken by our college boyfriend or we can never forgive ourselves for how poorly we treated our best friend in high school, there are actions we can take to start cleaning out old feelings and ultimately make amends with ourselves and the people in our lives we truly care about.

Let’s start cleaning!

Forgive Someone

If there’s someone out there that wants your forgiveness, then it’s time to forgive. We’ve all been “wronged” or hurt by someone else’s actions. That someone may still be in our lives or they may be a part of our past, whatever the case, you need to forgive them.

Forgiveness is an extremely misunderstood emotion. We believe that forgiveness requires us to agree with how we were treated or condone someone else’s actions. Forgiveness is not about the other person; it’s about you. You choose to forgive because it brings you peace. Studies have shown that forgiveness reduces anger, stress, and depression and it increases confidence and feelings of hope.

Apologize

If there is a person you owe an apology to, then it’s time to put on your big girl pants and say you’re sorry. We’re not perfect beings. We make mistakes and we do things that we’re ashamed of and regret. I always tell my clients that being able to admit your wrongs, own your stuff and apologize to another human being is the bravest and most adult thing you can do.

Unlike forgiveness, apologizes are for the other person. But, in the end you’re only going to feel relief and a sense of closure if you can take this step and tell someone that you’re sorry for what you did, what you said or what you should have done.

Unfollow/Hide From Your Feed

Is there someone in your virtual life, that makes you feel less than, if so, it’s time to unfollow or hide them from your life.

Maybe you have a friend or a co-worker that only posts how great they are doing. Their posts seem to simply be “updates” on their lives but in reality they are subtly (and not so subtly) making sure you (and everyone on FB) know that their kicking-ass at work, loved and adored by their partner and have so much extra money they just went on a shopping spree. Unfollowing or hiding from a person in your real life is a tough one, but online we have a lot more power than we think.

Unfollow anyone on your feed that makes you feel bad about yourself. If this person or company is just posting pictures and quotes that stress you out and make you feel like you’re a terrible mother, friend, boss, co-worker or partner, then hit that “unfollow” button – immediately.

If you decided to follow that Instagram feed because you thought it would inspire you to lose weight and get in shape, but the pictures only make you feel like a big, flabby loser who will never attain the perfect body, I give you permission right now to “unfollow” them. They’ll have no idea and you’ll have piece of mind.

Make that Call/Do that Project/Follow up

There is always one thing on that perpetual “to do” list that I mentioned earlier that stays on the list, no matter what. It’s one of those things we need to do that have no time limit. Nothing is going to lapse, we’re not going to be late on a bill and no one will yell at us because ________________ has not been contacted, completed or followed-up with.

That item gets moved from list to list. We keep telling ourselves, “next Sunday when I finally have a moment to breathe, I’m going to _________________.” The thing is when Sunday rolls around there are always more important projects to deal with or you just want to relax and binge watch something fun.

The truth is that this thing that you’ve been putting off is taking up space in your head. The person who’ve been meaning to call but don’t want to because you’re worried they’re going to mad at you – call them. You’re fretting more about this than they are. They may give you some grief, but take it on the chin, have a great chat and phew…you can check that phone call off your list.

You’re the only person who knows how messy your emotional closet truly is. Sometimes we’ve been holding onto the same hurts for so long that we’re not even aware that something is wrong. Taking the time to let go of old hurts, releasing unnecessary guilt, getting people who make you feel bad about yourself out of your consciousness and finally taking care of that one chore that’s been haunting you can make you feel lighter and more refreshed than an empty basement.

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