Are You An Emotional Hoarder?

One of my personal mottos for the past decade has been: “Rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.” 

This motto has often helped me in life.  For example, when I was living in England, it only took one day of sun-to-crazy-rainstorm-in-30-minutes to leave me both drenched and resolved to always be prepared.  Thereafter, I always carried an umbrella, even if it was a perfect sunny day.  It saved me on numerous days when other people were a little too optimistic about the British climate. 

I kept all of the original boxes for my studio equipment, which made my frequent moves around NYC much more convenient and secure. 

I kept all of the sci-fi books from my childhood that I subsequently loved re-reading as an adult. 

I saved shirts from college that were too big but now fit thanks to CrossFit. 

Basically, I’ve thought of myself as a strategic hoarder. 

But I was recently talking with my business partner about the concept of “clearing,” and it made me do some serious self-reflection. 

The idea behind “clearing” is pretty simple:  remove from your life what you don’t need and what no longer serves you. 

We usually think of clearing in relation to removing items from our living and storage spaces.  Shows like Hoarders present an excessive scarcity mindset or intense indecisiveness that results in homes overflowing with unneeded items. 

But we can also be emotional hoarders too, and this type of hoarding is much subtler and more insidious. 

Have you ever been frustrated or angry with someone and kept repeating the same thing over and over in your mind?  Maybe it was a phrase like, “How could they?!” or “I can’t believe them!” or “I’ll show them!” 

The more we repeat these phrases, the more certain we feel and the more entrenched we become in our position.  We draw power from our perceived injustice, and it fills us with a righteous anger. 

The problem, of course, is that while we’re repeating these phrases over and over, we have no room in our minds for other thoughts. 

In essence, they have clogged the fountain of our mind.

The same phenomenon occurs in many areas of our life, from relationships to food in the refrigerator.  If we don’t clear out what no longer serves us, there is no space for things that help us grow and achieve greater fulfillment. 

If we cling to the same problems, the same emotions, and the same villains, nothing can improve because we’re not making space for something better to come into our lives. 

Clearing out these areas of our life allows flow to return to them.  Consciously releasing the emotions, problems, and people who no longer serve us permits more abundance to flow into our lives. 

When I find myself repeating certain fears or worries over and over again, I try to acknowledge them and release them.  I am only holding myself back and staying small when I recite all of my standard reasons why I’m not good enough to do something.  If I can allow these excuses to flow, it unclogs the fountain of possibility and creates space for me to do things like perform weekly motivational rap videos or co-host a new podcast (Coming Soon!). 

What are the physical or emotional areas of your life that could benefit from a good clearing?  I’d love to hear about them on Facebook or Twitter.  

Posted on August 6, 2015 .