You’ve heard of spring cleaning, but anytime is a great time to clean out your relationship closet. Whether you realize it or not, people who aren’t in your life anymore can still be affecting you on a daily basis. Hang-ups from past relationships can fill your life with physical, psychological and emotional clutter that distracts you from living in the present – and moving forward to a happy, healthy future.
Sure, you took their picture off the wall. But if it’s tucked away safely in your top dresser drawer, you haven’t even begun to let go of the physical clutter associated with your ex. The same goes for that high school football jersey or t-shirt you sleep in when you’re feeling lonely or the bottle of their perfume you spray in the air when you miss them.
Letting go of an ex’s stuff is an important step in letting go of them. If you’re not sure you’re ready to pitch their stuff (or them), at least get it out of your sight. Put it all in a box, seal it with tape and bury it in the bottom of your closet. It won’t be gone completely, but you’ll have to make a concerted effort – and conscious choice – to dig it all up again.
Eventually, as you move on from the relationship, you might even forget you still have all that stuff. And hopefully, one day you’ll find it all and laugh at how hung up you were on someone who was so wrong for you!
Psychological hang-ups from past relationships can build up and create mental clutter that you just can’t seem to shake. There’s that perfectly cute dress in your closet that you haven’t touched in years because your ex told you it made your butt look like Betty Boop. Or the way you overreact when your current beau leaves their underwear on the floor, just because your ex was a slob.
While it’s important to break negative patterns in your life, you also have to make sure you’re not allowing mistakes from the past to haunt your future. Learn from previous relationships, but also be open to taking risks in the future. Take a step back to analyze whether you’re acting from your own psyche – or the psychological clutter your ex has left in their wake.
Sometimes your own emotional needs can become cluttered with emotional hangovers from previous relationships. If your ex was bossy and controlling, you may find yourself demanding an unreasonable amount of independence from your next lover. An ex who was aloof and distant might cause you to be extra needy for emotional reassurances from your next mate. And an unfaithful lover may clutter your life with trust issues and fear of commitment.
The best way to clear emotional clutter is to take time to reset your emotions. Instead of jumping from one relationship to the next, spend some time by yourself so that you can re-center yourself and your emotions, free of the clutter of a relationship that you now know wasn’t right for you.
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