Clutter isn’t just the stuff we keep in our homes. It’s also the thoughts and feelings we hold onto. To declutter and improve your life, you need to let go of anger.
Why you need to let go of anger
Anger is often justified. Other times it is petty.
Regardless of the situation, choosing to hold onto anger will hurt you more than the intended target.
The offender often doesn’t know we are carrying around nasty thoughts and feelings. We think we are punishing or hurting them, but meanwhile, they’re going through life not even thinking about what happened.
You really aren’t wounding them at all. You’re only hurting yourself.
You are the one carrying the burden and the weight. This isn’t about vengeance or who deserves what. In life the only person you can control is you.
Carrying anger hurts you mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
Regardless of how you’ve been wronged, you deserve to be able to move forward and to let go of the hurt that will continue to wound and harm you until you are able to be free by forgiving.
Forgiveness: it’s not about them
Choosing to forgive is more for you than it is for them. In forgiving you are deciding to let go of carrying the burden and weight of anger. It means releasing bitterness and resentment.
It doesn’t mean you forget and continue the relationship. In some circumstances that wouldn’t be wise. There are people who are unhealthy that you don’t need to continue to subject yourself to.
In some cases, the person you’re angry with may have passed on. You can still choose forgiveness in your own heart.
Forgiveness should be a part of every relationship, but it’s especially important within your own family. When people living in the same house are walking around carrying anger and resentment it sets the tone for the whole home. It’s also setting an example for the kids. Demonstrate forgiveness and reconciliation.
You get to choose who you are going to be in any situation. You can’t control all of the outcomes, but you do get to decide how you want to handle your part of it.
Sometimes beautiful reconciliation can happen even in circumstances that seemed impossible.
My favorite class I took in college was Reconciliation. The professor for the class (shout out to Mike Giuliano) was an amazing teacher and so passionate about the subject.
I learned about choosing my behavior and response not because the offender deserved it but because I did. I didn’t need to carry the burden and the hurt anymore.
He taught me how to communicate in a positive way despite having a lot of negative feelings. I went through a tough breakup that semester.
Using the skills I learned in that class, I wrote a very difficult email explaining my thoughts and feelings in a kind way despite all the hurt I’d endured. Through that process, I was able to find peace and healing despite not receiving a response until almost a year later.
Own your part
A key element I learned in Reconciliation was owning my own behavior. In every conflict, I looked for what part I played in it. I chose not to view myself as a victim, but rather try to see what harm I’d done whether it was intentional or not.
In some cases, you may find you didn’t do anything wrong. And yet your actions still hurt another person. You can still apologize for how they felt and that you caused pain even if you weren’t in the wrong.
I’m not afraid of conflict or having honest conversations with people. I’ve come to realize however that many people don’t feel that way and try to avoid conflict at all costs.
Healthy relationships consist of two people who are willing to experience conflict and talk openly and honestly even if it’s uncomfortable. Be the first one willing to start the conversation. Own your part and be willing to hear their point of view.
Often there is pent up angst and emotion leading into these conversations because we’ve let it build up. Once the issues are talked through it is amazing the weight that is lifted.
That isn’t to say all conflict ends this way. Not every friendship was meant to last the test of time. You also can’t control the response you receive. You can only control yourself and doing what’s right for as much as it is up to you.
There are also situations where you shouldn’t continue to put yourself at risk. Do what you feel led and called to do. Miracles can happen, but that doesn’t mean things always will work out that way.
Not every story has a happy ending, but you can move on and choose to be happy regardless.
Live in freedom
You can’t be happy when you hold on tightly to bitterness, anger, and resentment. Love and hate can’t exist in the same space. To free yourself up to love others well you have to let go of the unresolved issues and emotions that hold you back.
You can’t grow into the person you want to be when you hold on to the past and focus on the negative. Just as you can choose gratitude, you can also choose forgiveness and freedom.
Choose to take steps forward. Take responsibility for your actions. Decide to forgive. If you’re having trouble working through your anger, talk with a counselor or mentor to help you.
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The pastor at my church has been speaking on these topics recently as well. Conflict, forgiveness, and reconciliation have been reoccurring themes in my life. Unless you’re a hermit, they’re probably part of yours as well.
If you’re looking for further resources, two books recommended by my pastor on this subject are:
Find freedom as you declutter anger, bitterness, and resentment in your heart. Find healing and peace as you choose to let go of the burdens you’ve been carrying. Choose to let go of the baggage and move on with your life.
Living simply isn’t about just the stuff in our homes. It’s also about the stuff in our hearts.
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