Most of us are familiar with physical clutter. Physical clutter consists of all those things we hang onto which we no longer need, no longer want, and which lead to confusion or disorder in our physical environment.

I use the term "emotional clutter" (or sometimes "mental clutter") to refer to those emotions, memories and remnants that we hang on to from our past experiences; those things that end up getting in our way and causing disorder in our lives. Just as physical clutter gets in the way of our ability to get things done in our home or office, emotional clutter gets in the way of our being able to achieve our goals, have satisfying relationship, and be happy.

In my experience, "emotional clutter" is the result of three things:

1. Negative emotions from past experiences.
Many people hang on to negative emotions they experienced from past events in their lives, sometimes even from childhood.

2. Beliefs formed as a result of past experiences.
These beliefs often limit you from believing in yourself, and may even form an identity that blocks you from being successful or happy. At times these limiting beliefs may even join with other beliefs to form a belief system, such as when someone has a number of limiting or negative beliefs about themselves which lead them to poor self-esteem.

3. Failure to set or enforce boundaries.
The boundaries we set and enforce help define us and insure that others respect the things that are most important to us. When we don't set boundaries, or don't enforce the boundaries we have set, we enable others to disrespect us, pull us into their drama, and we open the door for more negative experiences.

Some people believe that emotional clutter is an inevitable part of life. They believe that you can't escape from the negative things you've experienced and how you feel about them. They believe that their identity as a victim can't change. They believe all sorts of limiting beliefs and don't believe they can change them. They believe that they'll always be picked on, ridiculed or disrespected. They don't really think it is possible to reach their dreams.

Just like physical clutter keeps you from seeing what you have or finding what you need, emotional clutter blocks you from using the resources you need to move forward. When emotional clutter is in the way, you aren't able to see what you have going for you because negative emotions and limiting beliefs clutter up your life. You hang on to them, and they block you from happiness and from having the life you would like to have.

You can get rid of emotional clutter. You can get rid of those mental blocks that trip you up, sabotaging your dreams. Once you get rid of the negative emotions, limiting beliefs and boundary difficulties, you'll find beneath the clutter all the resources that you already have around you and inside you to make your dreams come true.

Moving the clutter out of the way makes it possible to access those resources. And then your dreams are born.

(c) 2009 Linda S. Pucci, Ph.D.

Author's Bio: 

Linda Pucci, Ph.D. is a psychologist, life coach and trainer at Inner Resource Center, LLC in Maryville, TN. She has over 30 years experience helping people achieve goals they had not thought possible with her solution focused approach. She specializes in helping people get rid of emotional clutter. For more information, go to or .