The waiter was so rude! Exclaimed my best friend. She made a move to rush over to the waiter to give him a hot lashing with her mouth.
I grabbed her hand and gestured for her to sit down. ‘Relax, he’s probably had a long day’.
Guess what, all through the dinner, she fussed and fumed about how the waiter reacted, recalling several similar scenarios. Unsurprisingly, she didn’t enjoy her favorite meal, although she ate everything off her plate.
She was so consumed with her anger for the waiter, she didn’t enjoy the present. That is the situation most of us find ourselves in. Certain situations cause us to nurse deep-rooted anger, jealousy, greed, hatred and all those unpleasant emotions. Which you, in turn, may transfer the negative emotion to an innocent bystander.
We have all been there before. Remember the annoying moment, a bad memory resurfaces when you are having a good time? How did you feel about that? How did you react to it?
- Live the moment people will shrug it aside and continue having fun.
- The blue people will let it ruin their day.
- The hoarders will have fun, and cry or mop about it later.
You must understand, we are different and beautifully unique.
Understanding Emotional Junk
Did you know you can occupy your mind with junk? We fill our attics and basements with junk. Our backpacks and rooms with more junk. Let us not forget the ever delicious JUNK foods. Just like junk rids us of space and in some cases detrimental to our health, we can pack loads of junk into our brains.
So what is Junk?
Junk is anything you discard because you consider it useless or of little value.
When you discard an unwanted ‘thing’, you need a place to store it right? Which is what our attics, basement, dustbins and even some backpacks are used for.
What happens when it an emotional baggage or junk, where do you store it? What happens to it? The obvious answer is your mind and it just sits there.
It is much harder to get rid of them like organizing a garage sale to get rid of the junk in your basement or attic. This is because these negative emotions are inventoried in our minds. We inherit some and cultivate some over time. As unique as we are, we perceive love, hope, peace, etc. differently.
There is, therefore, the need to clear emotional junk by running an inventory of these emotions as often as we can, so they don’t sway our normal happy selves.
Releasing the Junk Emotions
When something is dirty, we wash it. After a long day, we take a shower to wash away dirt. This is the same attitude we must adopt in order to cleanse our mind. Start by taking these steps to ensure a junk free mind.
Cleansing the Mind Junk
The mind is not like the junk in your attic that can easily be cleaned out. You need time to work and cultivate this mindset. Cleansing your mind is about acknowledging your offenses and making a conscious effort to change. It also entails, forgiving yourself for your offenses and striving to cultivate a life of compassion.
Remember that ridding your mind of emotional junk is not limited to strong expressions such as jealousy and greed. Softer expressions such as simply not caring are important nonetheless. This is because whereas most strong expressions are exhibited in the present and done over with; the softer expressions are bound to build up over time and manifest in very explosive ways.
Have you ever witnessed a seemingly calm person, showcase an extreme form of anger? Which might include but not limited to; slamming doors, being physically aggressive, throwing stuff, etc.
For instance: a soft expression like indifference and boredom speaks a lot on your attitude towards how you view life and that of others. If you are not bothered to help your loved one, how do you release the boredom that is creeping bit by bit into your relationship?
Examine your Emotion
Take a few minutes in a day to examine how often you felt angry, anxious, depressed or exhibited all other unhealthy feelings. Be honest with yourself when assessing and you will realize that you turned that time into junk minutes.
Think of this, did the anger you feel towards someone benefit the person? Did it affect the person in any way? You will realize this anger, in turn, hurt us.
What of an obsession with something or someone, does the object of your obsession care or think of you in the same way? These life examples show that these feelings are wasted and more importantly takes up space in our minds.
Why do we love junk emotions? Most of the time we love them because they allow us to act out as victims. Just like junk food, they provide us with present satisfaction without thinking of future consequences. Unlike junk foods that affect the body, these emotions affect everyone around us.
Beware of Junk Emotions Fuelled by Communities
Ever wondered why there is so much violence and hate in the world? One of the reasons is that some emotional junk is developed and fuelled by the community we find ourselves in. Emotional junk is not limited to individuals but to communities, families and even nations.
A country holds a negative emotion such as hatred towards another country. This emotion can spread to citizens who in turn react in negative ways towards other members of the other country. Resulting in wars.
In other similar instances, emotional junk stems from embedded prepositions we project onto the outside world. Feelings of jealousy or hate can be generated not because the offending person has committed an offense but they probably do not fit into our preconceived notions.
They do not act how we ‘expect’ them to act. They do not fit these preconceived notions in our minds of how they should appear, dress or even speak. That is where most bullies fit in.
Do you find yourself hating others based on what your community believes in? Is the reason justified? Do you act irrationally when you around such people? Have they offended you in any way?
If your answer is no to most of these questions, then you are living your life in unjustified and unwanted fear or hatred. It is an unwanted burden on your mind.
My advice, try getting to know a decent amount of people ‘hated’ in your community. Meditate and try to ease your mind of any preconceived notions you may have developed over time. Create a blank page in your mind for learning about these people.
You can also read about their way of life and try to understand why certain actions and activities are carried out in an unbiased mindset. Try this and you will be surprised how relieved and clear your mind will be.
Healthy Emotions can be Poisonous
Negative emotions have been mentioned throughout this article. However, good emotions such as love and dedication when taken to the extreme become negative. For instance;
- Healthy Love is when love is based on respect, care and genuine concern for each other’s wellbeing.
- Unhealthy Love becomes dark when the love turns into an attachment. This is the situation where one person is overly dependent on the other person whom they are in love with.
When love becomes an attachment, the person can turn into a stalker. Unfortunately, this emotion of attachment and dependence can lead to suicidal thoughts of the stalker or death of the person of their affection (if I can’t have you no one will). These are extreme instances but do not necessarily happen.
If you feel yourself getting attached to someone or something in an unhealthy manner, indulge in activities and surround yourself with your loved ones. Taking a painting class, cooking or even travelling will relax your mind and occupy it with other pleasant emotions.
Creating the Balance
We, most of the time feel that these negative feelings and emotions are brought upon by someone. We may argue that someone else draws these feelings out of us. The truth is, both negative and positive emotions come from our mind and our minds alone.
These emotions and feelings will occur at every point in time. Anger will surface, anxiety will occur and fear refuses to be put aside. Amidst all that, we should aim to discipline our minds and recognize both positive and negative emotions and act appropriately.
Our bodies tend to play tricks on us by disguising anger into hurt; jealousy into self-loathing; or fear into abandonment. Either way, we should recognize these emotions before they have a chance to affect us and people around us.
By Get Thrive Contributor Lydya Baba