The Monster in the (Emotional) Closet

 A few weeks ago, we discussed the dangers of “stuffing,” or putting off dealing with emotional events because they seem like they would be too difficult to manage. The problem is that putting off dealing with difficult emotions doesn’t make them go away. The pent-up emotions keep building until you spring an emotional leak. We’ve all had them. They often come out in the forms of anxiety, depression, anger, health problems, or some combination. Simple point – it’s not healthy to let your emotions sit and simmer. We have to deal with them to find a healthy balance.
When we talk about “dealing with issues,” we’re generally talking about unpacking them so you can explore them, name them, and lay the back down so they’re not controlling you.
If you imagine being a kid and looking over to the closet at night because you thought you saw something move…. in the closet, you see something that seems to be peeking around the door, and it’s furry…. so your brain fills in the gaps…. and in your mind, it’s a huge, furry, mean monster with big teeth capable of eating you in just a few bites…. you tell yourself you should go check it out, but then convince yourself it’s just too big and you wouldn’t survive…. but then eventually, either you work up courage, or a parent comes in the room, opens the closet door, and turns on the light.
Then, you see it’s a pair of fuzzy house slippers. and you realize you can totally handle that.
If we stuff emotions in long enough, they grow and grow into these big monsters we tell ourselves we wouldn’t be able to handle if we were to release them from the closet.  In reality, what looked like it could devour us in childhood… maybe as an adult it looks a little different and we can handle it better than we’ve given ourselves credit for.
It’s time for a spring cleaning of your emotional closet.
1. Come up with a plan… what are you going to do with the items in the closet (how are you going to cope with the difficult emotions? What healthy coping skills can you use if you begin to feel overwhelmed?  How can you allow yourself to enjoy the positive in what you find buried under the difficult, etc.?)? As you get started, be sure to pray for wisdom and guidance.
2. Open the closet door and turn on the light. Allow yourself to acknowledge what is IN your emotional closet.
3. Take the items out of the closet, one at a time, taking time to name each item and allow yourself to experience it. Take coping breaks as needed. Use a journal to write about what you find, or talk to a trusted friend, spouse, therapist, or mentor.
4. When you come across something that is overwhelming, stick to your coping plan and recognize that you have the ability to get through it… then celebrate the progress when you do. If you are feeling overwhelmed (or even if you’re not), be sure to find a mental health professional to help you through the process.
5. Keep moving forward, one piece at a time, until you have worked through the piles.
As you do some spring cleaning, you’ll realize you are now looking at all those things piled in that emotional closet from an adult perspective, rather than the child perspective you had when you pushed them all in there. Even emotional baggage that was shoved in the closet as an adult will be a different experience when you look at it after taking a break from it. Give yourself some grace and remember that you can’t expect your past self to have dealt with those emotional piles from your present perspective.
You have the strengths it takes to tackle those monsters in the closet. Once you flip on the light, you may be pleasantly surprised to find a pair of fuzzy house slippers.
Come on over to the Every Day Incredible Ladies facebook group and talk to us about what strengths you think can help you and the other ladies like you as you work on cleaning out your emotional closets!

What do you Value, and Where are you Headed?

Where are you, and where do you want to be?

 

20160125_080304_20160131183552833Hello! My name is Keri. I’m a work-from-home wife and mom of 2 adorable little boys on earth and their well-loved sister in Heaven. I’m also a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Executive Director of The Carys Rainn Foundation, Independent Consultant for Lilla Rose, author, artist, and entrepreneur.  I have many hats to wear and many tasks to juggle, but I’m right where I want to be (all things considered), headed in the direction I want to go. Don’t get me wrong, I have my struggles like anyone else, but I’m thankful for where I’ve been. I’ve had a lot to learn and I’m excited for this new opportunity to share what I’ve learned so far in my journey with others.

As I’ve given thought to what I want to share as a first article here at Every Day Incredible, the question above is a question that stands out to me. Our overall goal here is to support good health and wellness and encourage ongoing personal development.

As with any new venture, it’s always a good idea to begin with self-evaluation. So I’d like to begin by asking you, to help you determine where you are,  what in your life is most important to you? What are your top values?

Look over the list below and select 4-6 values you believe are absolutely most important to you. How would you define them, and what makes them most important to you? I encourage you to write out your answers! In fact, it would be a great idea to keep this exercise in a personal development journal if you’d like. I’ll have to admit, when I did a similar exercise years ago, I was slightly surprised when I actually put into words what values were most important to me!

 

VALUES

Admiration
Accomplishment
Acceptance
Adventure
Activity
Artistic Expression
Attention
Beauty
Being well-liked
Being ethical
Bravery
Challenge
Calm
Children
Control
Cleanliness
Courage
Consistency
Compromise
Communication
Creativity
Contentment
Companionship
Dependence
Discipline
Diplomacy
Dreaming
Entertainment
Energy
Enthusiasm
Faith
Faithfulness
Fairness
Family
Friends
Fitness
Fact
Free Time
Giving
Having enough money
Humor
Home
Honesty
Health
Independence
Justice
Kindness
Love
Legacy
Logic
Loyalty
Memory/Memories
Openness
Peace
Popularity
Punctuality
Patience
Prosperity
Playfulness
Praise
Presentation
Predictability
Quiet
Relationship with God
Relationship with Others
Religion
Routine
Romance
Responsibility
Respect
Resiliency Reason
Spirituality
Serving Others
Sobriety
Self-Sacrifice
Social Status
Success
Self-Care
Satisfaction
Spontaneity
Tradition
Trust
Time Alone
Understanding
Vitality
Wisdom
Winning
Work Ethic
Wealth
Youth

Now, ask yourself… what values are you living? If your spouse or children were asked what is most important to you, what would they say? On what do you spend your time and money? What are you teaching your children to value?

If what you claim to be your top values isn’t matching up with what you’re living… what needs to be adjusted in your life? 

 

We want to help you grow and develop your own goals in life. Comment below by sharing your top 4-6 values (giving your definitions too would be even better). We look forward to hearing your feedback!

 

Just remember, life gives us opportunities every day, so make every day incredible!

 

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Affiliate Disclosure: I am grateful to be of service and bring you content free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items from this page, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. This does not change the price you would pay, but does help support this ministry. Thank you for your support! Additionally, please note that the information provided at Every Day Incredible is not intended to replace individual treatment with a professional mental health provider. If you are not currently working with a mental health provider, you are encouraged to find one that is a good fit for you.