Did you know you can hoard emotions, not just things? Check out these tips on how to stop hoarding.
I read a great blog on hoarding the other day (check it out here). It got me thinking about the different things people hoard and reminded me of an epiphany I had a few years ago. My kid used to hoard things—scrap paper, broken toys, the prizes from Happy Meals—which drove me nuts. Every few months I’d have to go into her room with a big trash bag to get rid of it all. Knowing that what irritates you intensely is an opportunity to explore a hidden part of yourself, I sat down to figure it out.
I discovered that, while I don’t hoard physical things, I was hoarding certain beliefs. I was very attached to wanting the people I loved to interact with me in specific ways. When they didn’t act the way I wanted them to, even if they were showing their love in other ways, I would withhold my expressions of love. I was also very attached to my particular version of spirituality, and I’m embarrassed to say that I was pretty elitist about it.
One of the problems with hoarding is that it doesn’t create the space for anything new to come into your life. Even if your hoarding isn’t extreme-- perhaps it’s just that your closets are stuffed-- you’re still blocking the flow of energy in your life. The universe doesn’t care whether what you’re hoarding is physical or emotional. If you don’t have room for new things or new experiences, you’ll just keep recycling the same old stuff and eventually drown in your sea of stuff.
This is particularly troublesome if your life isn’t perfect. For example, when I was attached to my version of spirituality, I was unable to see how spiritual other people were who had different views than mine. Unfortunately, my husband was one of those people. His spirituality is rooted in nature; he feels deeply connected to Source when he’s out mountain biking. At the time, I thought he was just exercising. I had to clean out my own emotional, spiritual “closet” to make room for the idea that he felt just as connected as I did and that my way was neither the best nor the only way to connect to Source.
What are you hoarding when it comes to love? What are some of the beliefs you hold about love and relationships? Are you willing to release your hoarder’s grip on those beliefs to create room for something new and different? If you’re not sure what your beliefs are, look at your behaviors. Pay close attention to patterns in past and current relationships; what beliefs are behind the behaviors and tendencies? Ask yourself, “What would someone who behaved like this believe about themselves?”
If you sit with these questions and can’t find the answers, try cleaning out your physical closets. Reserve at least an hour, or more depending on the size and number of your closets. Begin with the smallest closet so that you can celebrate the success of one clean closet sooner rather than later.
Take everything out of the closet, then sweep or vacuum the floor of the closet and dust the shelves. Make three piles of all the items that were in the closet: KEEP, DONATE, and TRASH. Be rigorous with this process! My general rule is that if I haven’t worn or used something in two years, it gets donated. The TRASH pile is for items that are no longer usable at all. Return the items in the KEEP pile neat and organized back into the closet. Pack up the DONATE pile and bring it to your favorite donation place.
I’ll bet that while you’re cleaning out your physical closets, you’ll have your own epiphany about the thoughts and beliefs you’ve been hoarding. Enjoy the process!