Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Cleaning my emotional house



Last week I was doing some digital decluttering.  I'm a word hoarder.  I love notes, cards and even emails.  Emails are easier to ignore because you don't typically scroll back.  I was devastated when my Yahoo mail blew up in the early 2000's when 10 years of email went down the tubes.  I had all kinds of emails from people from different jobs, emails with friends that were no longer in my life but the memories were still important to me and people who have died.

I'm pretty bad about cleaning out my email because of my attachment to old times and my penchant for procrastination.  It's always one of those things I'll get to but never do.  But around the time the new email box was established, there were things going on in my life from shady behavior by people, diseases, remissions, deaths, dealing with other people's life decisions that I took hard and generally griping about things.  In many instances I felt I needed to keep those emails as proof of how someone wronged me so if someone questioned me (and it had happened in the past) that I would be able to refer to something.  They basically stayed there in their little folders ready at a moments notice, if needed.  I had people who betrayed me, people close to me took their side without asking mine and I wanted to be able to say "LOOK, here it is in writing of their transgressions against me" if ever asked.  It wasn't a matter of proving I was right and they were wrong but to say "see, the side you got was not the whole truth, see the truth for yourself."  It has happened more times in my life than I care to count which is where that need arose.

When I decided to pare down the thousands, yes, thousands of emails, I had to read through them to see if they were worth keeping or just casual notes that I could no longer get the meaning behind or just didn't mean that much to me.  Obviously any email from my grandma automatically got saved.  Those mean more to me than most things I own right now.  Then I started reading through emails from people who were no longer in my life and as shady behavior was remembered in the words of those pages, I could feel my blood pressure rising.  At times, I felt my heart race, neck and jaw clench.  It was easy to say delete to those because the people whom I would need to "prove" anything to will never change their outlook anyway so there's no good that can come from keeping that poison.  Then I started reading emails from friends and there was some serious self righteousness going on in some of them.  It was things I either ignored or didn't get at the time but looking back could plainly see judgment and a sense of superiority.  I felt the same thing...racing heart, clenching and in one fell swoop, I just entered people's names, checked every email from them and deleted them all.  I couldn't handle how years old emails were making me feel.  I didn't want feelings about old emails to bring up issues that were no longer relevant.  That was about as far as I could go before being completely exhausted over a two day period.

The poor Mr had to have his dinner late several times last week because I just got on a tangent about all of it after he asked what was wrong.  It would lead into several other conversations and before we knew it, 90 minutes in the workout area had passed and we were starting late.  Though I take it as a victory that we started and finished at all.  In the olden days, we would've had that same conversation on the couch, emotional and then ordered a large pizza to numb the pain.  Progress, people.

I still have stuff to go through from three other people who take up the majority of my inbox and I suspect there will be even more feelings coming out and not for the better.   I know there are things I want to keep but I have to skim through them to see if they're worth keeping, casual or nastygrams with attitude.  I feel like I have to do it though...I need to clean my emotional house.  Even though those emails aren't always dangling right in my eyesight, I still know they're there...waiting to open old wounds.  That's exactly what happened too.  The Mr said he felt bad because he could see how much it all hurt me all over again.  It reminded me of all of the ways I have either felt used for what I can give people and not just because they wanted to talk to me or just getting attitude when it wasn't warranted and then people wonder why I pull back.  It sucks to confront those things but it must be done and throwing them away and hitting delete for the last time will be something that I must make a cleansing act.  I have felt rejection many times in my life to the point I expect it before I ever expect acceptance from people who are supposed to love me regardless.  It has hardened me in a way I don't like and don't want to carry into the second half of my life.

In acknowledging the way I have been hurt, I must also acknowledge that my reaction to those things may have hurt others.  All I can do is ask God and myself for forgiveness and move forward.  It does not make sense to go to someone 10 years later and say "remember when we had that big fight and you were an asshole and then I responded this way and you probably thought I was an asshole?  Well, just wanted to ask what was your motivation and did I contribute?" and get a "I don't remember that" response.  I'm one of those analytical people that holds on to things and wonders what others were thinking, what I ever did to make them respond in such a way or whatever and want to learn from it but I have come to find most people aren't like that.  Most people will believe the first thing they hear about someone and take it as truth and never ask the person their side of the story.  Many people are quick to believe the worst and once the opinion is formed, whether right or wrong, it's hard to change it.  It makes me sad that people only seem to want to have surface conversations because any time I've tried to go deeper, I'm asked where that's coming from in a making fun of me kind of way or if I'm dying or something.  Uh, no.  I just thought we could talk about more than our work or small talk...sorry.  I guess I love the analytical talks the Mr and I have so often about our world, our beliefs, what makes us happy or unhappy that I assume everyone does but maybe that's just something only a husband and wife share?  I don't know.

So this week, I'm continuing to clean out the thousands of emails left...yes, I got rid of thousands with thousands to go.  I know I'm going to stumble upon some unpleasantness and the second I see that, into the trash it must go.  That saying that you can't have a positive life with a negative mind I think applies to this.  I just know if hanging on to this stuff could be somehow affecting my weight loss journey on some level, it needs to go.

I will never be an optimist, I will always have the knee jerk reaction to go to the worst case scenario but I don't need years old baggage haunting my life any longer.  People in my life will either accept me as is and allow me to grow and live a life that is right for me and my husband or they won't and it won't change the way I choose to live even if that way isn't right for them.

Do you need to clean your emotional house?

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13 comments:

  1. I think I'm overdue for a digital clean up. I am sure I have a lot of old emails that would lead to bringing up some bad feelings pretty easily too. Not sure I'm ready for it just yet but I will have to just rip the Band-Aid off and do it!

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    1. We've all got 'em. I think we just need to go through them, determine if they're helping or hurting and go from there.

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  2. Oh, man, this hits hard. I definitely need to clean my emotional house. I also save things forever "just in case". My CYA folders - proof that I was not the one who was wrong. I need to think about this one.

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    1. Girl. I am all about the CYA folders! LOL I figure after 10 years anyone involved in making me feel like crap about myself has long forgotten about things and the only one making me feel like crap for re-reading them is me. Marinate on it and see if it's something you should consider.

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  3. It's sounds like you have been depressed lately! Have you considered counseling? It may help! I read your blog daily, and I am worried for you!

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    1. Aww, thanks for the concern. It's not depression, I've been through that before. I'm just cantankerous. I understand if it's too much to handle though. I'm not one of those people that is going to present one side of their life to make it look all perfect. This year hasn't been kind on many fronts. All you can do is keep on trucking and hope sharing the bad with the good will help someone else out.

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  4. I’ve been doing some emotional house cleaning for a couple of years now. I have spent a lifetime living in the past and holding on to hurts and embarrassing moments that I was never truly able to let go. A memory could pop into my head from 7th grade and I’d be right back there feeling the same awful emotions with the same intensity. I would rehash and rehash and rehash, but I was never actually moving past anything. I would just voluntarily jump on this hamster wheel and would feel all the pain and anger again and stay in that victim mentality. And that mentality led me to being 200+ lbs overweight and a loss of interest in living, doing, being. I wasn’t consciously aware of how much harm I was doing to myself by reliving those experiences over and over again. It was only when I slowly started questioning why I was constantly going backwards in my mind that I realized I was never going to be free or have the emotional maturity of an adult if I couldn’t let the past go. The hurts, the anger, the rejection, the humiliation, all of it. So I started a whole “spring cleaning” excursion, only to discover that I was trying to sweep everything away without really processing it. Just toss, shake the dust off my hands, and magically I’d be whole again. Well, shock of all shocks, it didn’t quite work when I got real honest about how into the food I’d go after these attempts. I wanted to be rid of the icky feelings and memories, but didn’t want to actually go through the vulnerable process of getting to a place of peace with who I am now. After many painful attempts to figure it out I’m finally to the point where I can say goodbye much quicker and with much more peace to people and situations that just aren’t healthy for me. Even more than losing weight, losing my co-dependence has been life-saving for me. I’ve spent too many decades giving power to people who had no business having it and I lost who I was in the process. Still working on figuring out who I am today.

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    1. It's one of those deals where someone says to "let it go" or "don't let them live rent free in your head" but the truth is for most people out of 100 people, 99 people could say you rock and one says you suck and you'll always remember the one who said you suck. It's human. All we can do is try to learn something, try not to let them creep back in and be a better person moving forward in a way that hopefully brings us some peace. Life...gotta love it! :-)

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  5. I'm trying to process what thousands of emails actually looks like-I currently have 20 saved on my email account lol. I just stumbled onto your blog and love this post! I'm now a new follower :)

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    1. Just imagine scrolling and scrolling and scrolling. That about covers it!

      Welcome aboard!

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  6. Hooray for you for cleaning the mental house! that is so important and even though it opened up some old wounds, they will never fully heal while you still have threads of them hanging around. Bravo, girlie!!!

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    1. Much like my actual house, there are still boxes of crap that need to go through but I'm trying! I don't need to hold on to that stuff, I just need to determine junk from jewels.

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  7. i'm not an email hoarder when it comes to personal emails, but I don't have many important conversations by email. My work email I save everything though, I never delete anything from a parent, administrator, co-worker, or student. it's all about CYA.

    That said, I absolutely need to clean my emotional house. I've got seriously heavy stuff going on, and I need to focus on me and where I'm going from here. rather than where I've been and what I and others have done. I tend to focus on other people and always put myself in the passenger (or back) seat, and it's time for me to drive now - tougher than you might think but I'm working on it.

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