Collecting, then purging, collecting more, and then purging again. Clearing clutter is a vicious cycle to be caught up in. This post is not about learning to let go as much as it is an urge for you to break any habits you may have of taking in and holding on to the hurtful stuff in the first place.
I am not a collector of things, not in the normal sense. My husband has the mentality of a collector with a passion for possessing certain things. He told me once that as much as he enjoys his collections, his real joy comes for him in the getting rather than the having. He is right, I have watched his behavior whenever a new package is delivered to our doorstep. He happily brings an anticipated carton inside the house. But unlike me, he doesn't rip into the box right away. He lets the unopened package sit in our foyer for a day or two. He knows what is inside and is savoring the unveiling of a new treasure. I've known him to wait weeks to open up a package. And when he does finally open it, he keeps the box it came in. Well, that was his old way, last Fall he finally cleared our attic from years of his collecting empty cartons. We are both working at clearing clutter from our lives.
Are You a Collector of Hurtful Words?
I don't collect things but I do have a pattern of hanging on to some stuff. Not tangible things, but emotional things. Words for example. I will carry words around with me for days sometimes. I hang onto words spoken to me and also berate myself for words I wish I hadn't said out loud. I'll even rehash in my mind the "better words" I didn't say I wished I had spoken after an opportunity to have said them has lapsed. Crazy, this waste-of-time habit I have.
My new mantra:
Hurtful words die and wither away naturally. I absorb and nourish only empowering words.
Let's face it, people will say hurtful things. Sometimes on purpose, but most times hurtful words are uttered unintentionally. Even when I know that something said was not intentioned as a poison dart aimed at me, I still stew. I will feel judged, misunderstood, or under appreciated. But the truth is, it doesn't matter. We cannot change how someone else views us. That's on them. We cannot put a muzzle on anyone even if we'd like to.
This past week someone asked me for advice on how she might respond to something tactless (and hurtful!) a relative had said to her. My sage advice was "Do nothing, Say nothing, Let it go! Some people are button-pushers and thrive on getting reactions out of us. If that was her purpose for saying what she did, do you really want to give her what she wants? Let it go!" Good advice, right?
Afterwards, I realized that I was too had been hanging on to words someone had said to me two days earlier. These words were stabbing. Although the person had been thoughtless in her words, they were not said purposely to hurt me. My intelligent mind realizes that I too have said things thoughtlessly and have likely unknowingly hurt someone with my words. It happens. No way would I want to retaliate or confront anyone when I know in my heart that no harm was intended. I don't identify with being a grudge holder either. Still, I had been digesting these words over and over again, both in my mind, and in my emotional body. I think I am a rational person and will do my best not to get involved in confrontations with others. But, I am awakening to the realization that internalizing dialogs over and over inside my head is not serving me either. Let it Go Already Phylameana!
If I had not taken in those words, hung on to them, and allowed them to stew I would not be struggling days later needing to process them and eventually haul them out to the curb for garbage pick up. This pattern I have of recycling upsetting words has got to end. In doing so I am giving ridiculous words power over me. Not only am I ready to rid myself of any "not-nice-words" I have been carrying around with me, but I'm going to challenge myself to stop collecting wounding words in the future. Instead of unpacking that carton filled with hurtful words and inviting them into my psyche to muck with me, I will kick it to the curb immediately.Focus Friday - This post is part of a once-weekly blog feature focusing on a singular healing topic. If you would like to get notifications delivered to your inbox each Friday alerting you to the Focus Friday topic please subscribe to my newsletter. In addition to the Friday delivery subscribers also receive my standard newsletter sent on Tuesday mornings. The Tuesday edition highlights new articles, newest blog posts, and includes links to a variety of healing topics.