Washing The Emotional Dishes

One of the archetypal stereotypes of a student house is a pile of washing up. A stinking heap of cutlery and crockery, the remains of food dried to a concrete hardness, lying in a bowl full of grey stinking water.

Not a pretty sight.

Imagine for a moment that the experiences of your day are like the meals you have had.

On some days life may have been so good you even licked the plate. It’s more likely that some parts of your day would have been more palatable than others. What is left on your plate at the end of the day?

In the old days before EFT, NLP and other techniques you would not be able to clean up from the unpleasant experiences of the day. The residue of those less than satisfying experiences would be stuck in your memory. A new layer of mental grime every day with no way to clean it off. Day after day the dirty dishes of the mind would have to pile up and fester.

This accumulation of mental junk will take its toll. Each resentment, disappointment, unpleasant interaction or negative experience leaving its trace in our minds, adding to our supply of bad feeling ready to be triggered at some time in the future.

“What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow; our life is the creation of our mind.”

The Dhammapada

Our responses to life are conditioned by our past experiences, or at least our reactions to our past experiences. If your boss irritated you yesterday, the remains of that irritation is available to you to add to todays irritation when you are with your boss.

Up to now we have had to put up with what life gave us. Now we have effective ways of working with negative experiences to remove the emotional residue stuck to them. If you are using EFT you can tap out the junk, the unhelpful feelings, you no longer need.

Why not defuse resentments, animosities, misunderstandings, disappointments and other daily vexations on the day they happen and not let them fester? If we clean up today’s mess we can start the tomorrow with a cleaner slate (or plate) and be able to respond to life’s demands with greater freedom and resourcefulness.

Three steps to letting go of the day

  1. At the end of the day, review the events of that day in your mind’s eye.
  2. When you get to one that has a negative charge on it – use your technique of choice to neutralise the negative emotions. Some events might be baked on and take some effort to remove, but it’s worth it.
  3. Then continue with your review, knocking out the emotional charge on each difficulty as you go until the day is just a day. If you do a thorough job you can leave the day’s junk behind.

If you have had a really tough day then either tackle the worst first or write down the ones you have time to do.

What happened to us will still be there in our past, just as a washed plate it still a plate. But the stuff that’s on it, our conditioned responses can be cleared off, either all at once or over time.

Two benefits of clearing up negative emotions at the end of the day:

  1. On that day you will probably get a better nights sleep because you won’t be chewing over what’s gone on the day before.
  2. Over time if you do this regularly the events, interactions and triggers that used to upset you will start to lose their power over you.

It might take some time to set up clearing up after your day as a habit, just as washing the dishes after a meal can be a chore. But in the long run it’s easier to do them at the end of the meal than leave it till tomorrow, or the day after that, or the day after that and then have to work with a big mess later.

Image courtesy of miss pupik

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