Taking out the trash is an analogy I love to use with my coaching clients and I wanted to bring it to the blog today because it really is a golden nugget!
Let’s say for example your kitchen bin is full. Imagine tying up the bin bag but rather than removing said bin bag, you simply push it down as much as you can and then add a new empty bin bag on top of it, ready to fill up.
Sure it may save a bit of time and effort not having to take the trash out now but what would end up happening?
It would start to STINK, right? Eventually, no amount of room sprays, candles and reed diffusers would cover that smell. Ants would come, flies and maggots – heck maybe even rats after a while.
Well it’s the same with our emotions. If we push them down and ignore them we are merely wearing a mask … or in the case of this analogy – adding a fresh bin bag on top of a stinky rotting one!
Distracting ourselves with more enjoyable things is a typical go-to response when we feel uncomfortable emotions arise; it’s totally normal if you’re bored, irritated, feeling unmotivated etc BUT when you feel triggered and you feel a painful emotion occurring that is affecting your daily life, that is when it is time to ‘take out the trash’. Otherwise this emotion will go on to manifest itself in the form of negative thought patterns, stress, overwhelm, irritability, snappiness and even physically in the form of muscle tension, migraines, exhaustion and more. It often manifests in ways that we don’t expect and weeks, months or even years down the line.
So, how do we ‘take out the trash‘?
This is a huge part of the work I do in my courses but a take-home I can give you now is to simply sit with it.
Sit in the moment, acknowledge the emotions that are arising and explore where they have come from and what the lessons to be learnt are.
A trigger is a signal to you to heal/ learn or change something, so no matter how uncomfortable the anger, sadness, rejection, heartbreak etc may feel, give yourself grace, know that you are not the emotion, that you are merely experiencing it and really take time to sit with it.
You could do this via meditation, breath work or journalling – any tool that allows you to connect to your emotions and explore them.
At the start or end of the day is a great time to do this because you can ask yourself generally what you need to heal and see what comes up but it’s also great to do this in the moment, at any time when the emotions are being felt.
If in these moments you have the time and space to do so, rather than push the emotions down and try to think of something else, welcome the feeling in, observe it, ask it where it came from, what it’s desired outcome is and give it permission to float on by.
Your mind, body and soul are always communicating with you … listen to them