Take An Emotional Cleanse
By: Cait Stuff, Guest Contributor
When do you take a shower? Is it in a rush before work, a quick scrub after a long day, or a long soak, perhaps with some soothing music and a glass of wine?
Regardless of how or when you do it, we all recognize that bathing is an important part of our life. It is necessary for keeping the dirt and germs off our body. It makes us pleasant to be around.
Like physical dirt, emotional dirt tends to build up and make life unpleasant. A rude comment, having your skills undervalued, an untimely bill, a plan that does not turn out as hoped—all of these things create the emotional dirt that can coat your soul and make it hard for your true self to shine brightly.
When we take a shower to clean our physical body, we tend to use a variety of cleaning tools like soap, conditioner, and washcloths. Here then are three cleaning tools we can use for emotional dirt:
Prayer is a good emotional cleanser for the dirt of our daily life. When we pray, we shake off some of the emotional dust that we have been collecting. In spending quiet time with God, we have a chance to reflect on our soul in a way we seldom get in our busy daily lives. Doing so, we change focus from the worries of the world and allow them to fall away. In this sense, prayer is as simple as setting down the dirty shovel and picking up the bar of soap instead.
Soap works by trapping the oil and dirt particles into the hydrophobic center of the soap cluster. Similarly, prayer wraps up our hopes and fears, removes them away from our soul, and into the hands of God.
While prayer cleanses us and removes the weight of the world, gratitudes revitalize us in our engagement with it. Like conditioner, moisturizer, and fragrance, gratitudes help keep us clean by amplifying the positives, making it harder for unpleasant emotional dirt to grab hold.
Expressing gratitude for our life and what we have polishes our soul and makes it shine brightly. Like sunscreen, it provides a protective layer between us and the harmful elements in our daily life.
Perhaps more important, however, are gratitudes expressed to others. When we take time to thank another person for their help—or even just their presence in our life—we bring our feelings of joy and share them with the world. Gratitude is the perfect perfume, the one that nobody finds too floral, or too musky. Taking time to be grateful to others makes us pleasant to be around.
The most stubborn emotional dirt tends to stick into places that fundamentally who we are as people. It is the emotional dirt that says we’re not good enough, or that things will never work out right for us. When we don’t scrub away this dirt, we can even start to mistake it for part of ourself. We do the work—the prayer, the gratitudes—to clean away the day to day emotional dust that comes our way while at the same preserving this deep-set emotional dirt as if it was part of our own skin.
Insecurity can be like plaque on your teeth. The longer it is left to linger uncleaned, the harder it gets to remove. Meanwhile, like plaque, in contains hundreds of soul-destroying bacteria, eating away at the underlying layer—your true soul—sitting underneath.
Affirmations are the scrub brush that removes deep set insecurities. When we say “I can do this”, the dust of “I’m not good enough” falls away. When we affirm “I am lucky”, we take a powerwash to the belief that things never work out right for us.
Like brushing our teeth, affirmations are best done at least twice a day. Sometimes our soul can be sensitive to at first—a powerwash can be an intensive form of cleaning. Our soul may worry it will get damaged in the process, or that there will be nothing left of it once all our negative thoughts and beliefs are stripped away. But the reality is that those negative thoughts and beliefs were never really “part” of our soul to begin with. It’s just dirt, hardened over time, clinging to our pure form underneath.
Like physical dirt, emotional dirt will always come back. Setbacks happen, people do or say things we wish they wouldn’t, plans go awry. Dirt clings to us whether we like it or not. Occasionally we even expose ourselves to extra dirt on purpose—sometimes taking an emotional risk can be a lot like running an obstacle course through a rain soaked fallow field. Even if we win bin big, we’re still guaranteed to come home covered in mud.
However, as long as we remember to clean ourselves off after every risk, and take time to scrub away those deep-set insecurities, our soul will continue to shine bright.