BY AMBER HURDLE
Amber, I feel so stuck. I want to do more with my life, but I can’t seem to get over some things from my past. How do I overcome the junk in my closet and move forward? -Jennifer, Lebanon
There’s no better time than spring to think about renewal. Congratulations on your willingness to confront what’s holding you back! Here are the tools you will need in your caddy to clean your emotional closet:
Know You’re Not Alone
There’s the old saying that if we all threw our problems, issues or hangups in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d quickly grab ours back. That’s why it is so important to get out of your own head space and be open to the life challenges of others.
Women are especially great at commiserating, so take advantage of that! Find a women’s group, a Bible study, a mastermind or even your own group of girl friends. LISTEN to what their challenges are. HELP them overcome the demons that are holding them back. In doing so you will not only recognize that you aren’t alone in your inner struggles, you will also start to find solutions to your own problems by finding them for others.
Start a New Conversation with Yourself
Negative self-talk is a powerful thing. This is often prompted by scarring words from previous, significant relationships. If your negative self-talk is disabling, I first recommend seeing a licensed mental health professional. Otherwise, here are three steps that can help you start to change the conversation:
1. Journal your thoughts to uncover patterns. Note when you are having the negative thoughts, what prompted them, how you felt at the time, who was involved, etc…
2. Speak in affirmations. Change the negative to a positive. Try stating things like “I am a beautiful, desirable woman,”or “I am fully prepared to lead with excellence at work,” or my personal favorite, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
3. Lead with “I can.” Become a problem solver. Before you ever allow yourself to think, “I can’t”or “I don’t know” consider all the ways you can figure out how to do what scares or intimidates you.
Accept the Pain and Find Its Purpose
While I have always subscribed to this philosophy, I was reminded of it recently at the New Media Expoin Las Vegas. Chris Brogan had an impromptu keynote alongside Lewis Howes, from the School of Greatness. In that session he said these words, which made me want to shout out a good ol’ southern, “Amen!”:
“No great thing comes without pain.”
And it’s the truth. There is not a bit of my amazing life that I can attribute to a pain-free journey.Everything special that I cherish has come with a whopping dose of challenge and heartbreak. However, the amazing thing is that I now have a story–a purpose. I can help others navigate through their stormy seasons or help elevate their sunny seasons by leveraging the junk in their closet. Not to mention I value those “great things” even more so because of what it took to get them.
Take One Step at a Time
No one wants to trip over your proverbial junk; and stuffing it all back down when you feel overwhelmed dealing with it all will only create more unsettled and insecure thoughts. Instead, select one part that you can commit to explore. One significant fear, memory, negative thought or experience, then you can use the cleaning tools mentioned here to begin to tidy up before moving on to the next thing.
Show Grace… to YOURSELF
Finally, understand this is a journey. There is no quick fix. The emotional closet fairies aren’t going to show up and magically clean it out. Only you can work through whatever is holding you back. And there will be times to celebrate victories, as well as times to take a step back and rest. You will make more mistakes and you will figure out more solutions. That’s why it’s important to not to allow yourself excuses, yet it is important to show yourself grace.
And just like the victorious feeling you have when your hallway closet is clutter-free and well-organized, just imagine the freedom and excitement having a freshly spring cleaned emotional closet will afford you for years to come!
SAVE THE DATE – May 17, 2014 for WLM’s Women’s Day Bash
Join WLM’s Amber Hurdle, along with other notable presenters for an afternoon celebrating all aspect’s of a woman’s life. Bring a friend, your sister or daughter to learn about health, beauty, finances, fashion, motherhood and relationships. Lunch will be served and various exhibitors will also be onsite. Re-energize your spirit as we all come together to support, encourage and empower women in our community.