Cleaning Out Your Emotional Closet

emotional closetEvery now and again, I go into my closet, take stock of what’s inside, and I purge. I throw away anything that is taking up valuable space, things that no longer fit, or I no longer wear. It’s not always an easy process, and I often find that have I have attached more value to a piece than what it’s worth for sentimentality’s sake. It disheartens me at times to have to give away or discard something, but at the end of it all, I feel freer, better, and often, have made room in my closet for something even better.

I feel as if life functions much in the same way; we often have to purge the people and things in our lives that no longer fit or aren’t beneficial in substantial ways in order to make room for something better. We often hold on to friends, acquaintances and even toxic relationships with family members because we have attached more value to those connections than they are really worth. Just as we outgrow certain pieces of clothing, we can outgrow people too.

I am not advocating for callously discarding the kinships that we have fostered, created, or are born into. I am advocating for taking stock of who is inside your intimate circles, and is contributing to your existence in ways that are beneficial or deleterious. Taking the time to think of the people who support, love and cherish you can go a long way in helping you to not take those individuals for granted. The flip side is thinking of those individuals in your life who may cut you down, are unsupportive or only pay lip service to being a good friend or relative. Those individuals can clutter up your life and keep you away from other people who may, in fact, be good for you emotionally and spiritually.

It could be a friend who you’ve known since college who borrows money all the time and parties hard, while you’re in school or building your career and trying to be financially savvy. It could be the boyfriend or girlfriend who swears they love you but stresses you out so much that most of the time you’re unhappy. It could even be that aunt, friend, or colleague who counters your successes with stories of someone they know who is doing so much better than you, and you end up feeling like a failure each time to speak to them. Eliminating those people from your life can free up the space you need to find people who can actively support you in your life and in your endeavors.

We often allow toxic relationships to continue because change can be terrifying. The fear of the unknown often trumps what we are accustomed to. However, if we don’t step outside of our comfort zones and objectively survey our lives, we end up with an emotional closet stuffed full of things that weigh us down and keep us anchored in the same place and we risk never really moving forward. Purging the negative people from our lives is a part of how we grow.

As always, go forth and be fashionable!

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Kenya Evans

by Kenya Evans

Special Contributor. Kenya has been a writer for as long as she could remember. A fashionista with a love of the arts, Kenya’s background in social justice inspires her to help make the world a better place, one written word at a time. When not writing, she can be seen on underground stages across Chicago as a tribal belly dancer and classical Indian dance student of Bharatnatyam.