5 Ways to Declutter Your Heart and Walk in Freedom – Part 1
It’s just as important to declutter your heart as it is to declutter your home. If you’re like me, you probably hoard a lot of redundant jumble in your house. I hold on to old birthday and Christmas cards, souvenirs, pots and pans, furniture and other stuff of sentimental value. Eventually, they junk up my house.
Can you imagine the effects of filling your heart with old baggage? And, not just any old baggage. We’re talking about destructive, toxic baggage that comes in the form of unforgiveness, anger, bitterness, lack of love and lack of gratitude.
Toxic emotional junk oozes poisons in your body and litters your heart. On top of that, the toxins will cling to your heart like grime.
Imagine living in a locked room full of stinking rubbish? Sooner or later the revolting fumes from the garbage will choke you. That’s similar to what toxic emotional junk does to your heart. It clogs your heart.
Not only that, but your mind will be trapped in the past, unable to move forward. Do you realise that every piece of clutter links to your past? When you’re always looking back at things that caused pain, how can you live in peace?
So, let’s get rid of anything preventing you from freely walking towards a fulfilling life. Otherwise, your wellbeing will be in a serious dilemma.
Take these steps to declutter your heart, clear your mind and start a new journey of freedom.
1. Forgive and break the chains
“Forgiving doesn’t make your life suddenly become a fairy tale. Nor is it guaranteed to remove bad memories. Rather, it will release your mind and soul from the prison cage of toxic hell.”
How many times have you heard someone say, “I’ll never forgive him or her.” In that scenario, who is the victim? Is it the person nursing unforgiveness? Or is it the person who caused the issues leading to unforgiveness?
Well, the victim is the one nursing unforgiveness.
The other person is getting on with their life. But you are torturing yourself unable to forgive and move on.
Unforgiveness is deadly. It affects your emotional, spiritual and physical health. Did you know it’s one of the biggest causes of cancer?
According to research carried out by Dr. Michael Barry, author of “The Forgiveness Project”, 61% of patients suffering with cancer are carrying unforgiveness in their hearts. Unfortunately, more than half of the patients have severe forms of cancer.
Dr. Michael said, “Harbouring these negative emotions, this anger and hatred creates a state of chronic anxiety. Chronic anxiety very predictably produces excess adrenaline and cortisol, which deplete the production of natural killer cells, which is your body’s foot soldier in the fight against cancer.”
Let’s clarify. Not every type of cancer is caused by unforgiveness. On the other hand, a high percentage of cancer develops when someone nurse unforgiveness and hold it in their heart.
What’s more, there are many other health-related issues tied to this lethal word – unforgiveness. Some are arthritis, depression, migraine, stress on your heart, high blood pressure, premature ageing and more.
Forgiveness isn’t about patting the person who hurt you on the back saying, “Well done. You’ve won because I’ve forgiven you.” Neither is it accepting their actions towards you as okay. And it’s definitely not thinking that if you forgive them, they’re the good guy and you’re the baddie.
No! Forgiveness is for your benefit. Look at it this way. You’re the one babying the hurt or abuse and causing yourself all types of issues. They, however, are carrying on with life as normal. So who suffers emotionally or physically? You do.
To forgive is to free your mind from mental torture. It clears out the negative junk from inside so you can heal.To forgive is to free your mind from mental torture. It clears out the negative junk from inside so you can heal. Click To Tweet
Steps to take to forgive:
• Live in the present. You can’t go back and change the past. So don’t allow it to control your present state. Think about practical things you can do to change your life. Create manageable goals and work towards achieving them.
• Make a list of everyone who you need to forgive. Write down what you want to tell them. In your mind, open a box and put the list in it. Close the box and send it away, for good. Or pray and ask God to help you forgive the person or people on the list. Cry if the tears come while you’re doing this, as it’s part of the healing process. Afterwards, burn or tear up the paper. Get rid of it and see it as getting rid of unforgiveness. Do this as often as you need to, until you feel peace.
• Let’s reverse the steps above. Get a sheet of paper and make a list of everything you’ve done to upset other people in your life. Write their names next to what you did to them. When you’ve finished, take your time and read it slowly. Looking at what you did to cause someone else pain will make it easier to forgive those who caused you pain.
No one is perfect. And I’m not saying it was okay for them to hurt you. But you also need to own up to the fact that someone else is perhaps finding it hard to forgive you too. I did this exercise and it really worked. It wasn’t easy though.
• Turn the hurtful experiences into positive ones. Ask yourself what lesson can you learn from it. I’ve been in abusive relationships that caused me a lot of distress. And I had a difficult time forgiving my abusers because I didn’t think they deserved it. However, burying toxins in my heart manifested into health issues.
As a Christian, I believe in the power of prayer. I talked to God about how I felt. Cried when painful emotions bubbled up inside and horrible memories came flooding back. But eventually I did forgive them. It took a long time though.
Finally, healing happened while I was writing my autobiography “Deep Within my Soul”. So, my positive experience was to share my story to help other women who went through the same thing.
On top of that, I also discovered the therapeutic benefits of writing. I wrote love poems to help me cope while living in an abusive environment. I included some of them in my book for poetry lovers and to show my painful journey. I’m also planning to run a course of therapeutic writing workshops in 2018.
The takeaway from my story is, you can use your negative experiences to help others and change your life for the better.
2. Let go of anger
Anger is dangerous and can stimulate life-changing consequences.
There was a woman, Molly, who had deep anger issues. One day her husband, Robinson, got stuck on the Northern Line underground train because of a fault on the tracks. He couldn’t call Molly to tell her he was running late as he had no signal on his mobile.
Meanwhile, she was at home clock-watching, pacing up and down the hallway. Robinson was one hour late and she couldn’t get through to his phone. Fuming with anger, Molly’s imagination ran wild. She pictured him in the arms of another woman. She convinced herself he was cheating on her.
Fifteen minutes later she heard him turn the keys in the lock. She raced towards the front door. He reached out to kiss her and explain why he was late. Abruptly, she pushed him away from her. Stunned, he tried again to explain what happened on the train.
Molly’s rage was so fired up she wouldn’t or couldn’t hear what he was saying. “Shut up you liar.” She yelled at him. “Do you think I’m stupid? I know where you were. Is she better than me? Is she? Is she? Answer me.”
Robinson opened his mouth again to try to explain. But, instead of Molly calming down and listening to him, she lashed out at Robinson verbally, swearing at him and pushing him.
Her outburst of anger had gone on for several months. But, today’s episode was too much. Robinson was fed up of living in a volatile marriage.
Molly’s anger pushed them even further apart. This is just an example of how anger can cause major problems in relationships. Especially if the person with the anger can’t see that they have a problem.
We’re humans and anger is a natural emotion. But if you don’t know how to manage it properly it can paralise your thoughts and mess up your life. Some people say they see red when anger takes control of them. Consequently, It distorts your mind and clouds your judgement.
So, what can you do to declutter anger from your heart?
Steps to take to manage anger:
• Walk away. When you feel anger rising inside, go for a walk. Focus on something else and take your mind off the thing that’s causing you to feel angry. Walking is a form of exercise. And exercise releases endorphins, the feel-good chemicals that makes you feel happy.
• Work it off. Release the energy in a constructive way. Catch up on your housework. Clean the windows. Dust and polish the furniture. Hoover and mop the house. Get out into the garden and do some weeding or planting. Burn off the negative vibes and turn it into productive energy. You’ll feel calmer afterwards.
• Put your favourite songs on and sing. I know this sound silly but it works. Singing improves your mood and reduces stress. What’s more, when you’re doing something you love, it puts your mind in a happy state. And you’ll be able to control anger instead of anger controlling you.
If you’re struggling with anger issues and can’t manage it no matter how hard you try, seek professional help. Book up to attend anger management counselling. Or, you could go to anger management classes and see if that works for you.
The takeaway from this article is, don’t let unforgiveness shorten your lifespan. Nor let anger destroy you, your relationships or the people around you. Furthermore, your heart health is of the utmost importance. So, declutter it from toxic junk and feel the weight of the emotional baggage leave your soul.
In part two we will look at bitterness, lack of gratitude and see how to use love to dissolve toxic junk and declutter your heart.
Over to you… Have you had to forgive anyone? How difficult was it? Or do you have anger issues? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below.
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