Beliefnet
How Great Thou Part

I just read an article about cleaning your home. They were simple little tips such as, ‘don’t put things down put them away’ and ‘make your bed.’

It struck me how simple it is to take the time to make our home an uncluttered, peaceful respite.

It isn’t rocket science it’s just a few good habits.

Pull the sheets back up as soon as you rise, put the plate in the dishwasher, don’t just fold the laundry put it away – all things we often have time for but we get lazy.

We get lazy in our relationships too.

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Our emotional space gets cluttered. And this keeps us just as unsettled as trying to relax in a home that needs to be cleaned.

The cluttered house is an external distraction. 

The cluttered relationship is an internal distraction.

The visual urgency generally prompts us to clean up the physical space around us. On the flip side, our emotional clutter is out of sight and therefore, can just keep accumulating.

There are many small, daily things we can do to tidy up our emotional space. And doing these can free us in many ways. It can range from repairing angry words to simply checking in on someone we love. Just as we race around our house leaving things scattered, we bolt around life leaving our relationships undone.

Hence, why it is similar to caring for our homes. We spring clean our houses (repair damaged relationships) and do daily maintenance (keeping up with those we love.)

1.  DO IT NOW:

The minute someone you love comes to mind act on it.

For instance, you’re about to make dinner. Your aunt comes to mind. You’ve been meaning to check in on her. Call now and not after dinner when chances are you will forget. Or perhaps you think of someone randomly – your college roommate, an old neighbor – pick up the phone or text ‘I was just thinking of you’ or simply an emoji.

It’s early morning or late night and not the right time to reach out. Simply email yourself a reminder of who you want to call first thing in the morning.

Make sure to capture the person you are thinking of before they escape you.

The minute someone you love comes to mind act on it.

2. BUY THE NECESSARY SUPPLIES:

Keep emotional maintenance tools on hand and use them weekly.

You can’t clean and maintain a home without the necessary supplies.

The same applies for relationships. 

Buy a variety of greeting cards, pens, and stamps and keep them on the counter or on a desk. A place you will be reminded often of the importance to keep up with your relationships.

Start with those basics and add things to this basket of correspondence. Buy gift cards, copy some of your favorite quotes or scripture, or other fun things to occasionally include. Keep a book of quotes or vocabulary words or other reference material in the same spot. Then the next time you think of your niece or nephew you can easily drop a Chipotle or Starbucks gift card in the mail.

We take pride in personalizing our homes so personalize your communication. Use the same color pen or buy a stamp or hot wax seal to stamp the envelope. Think of inventive ways to correspond with the ones you love.

Keep emotional maintenance tools on hand and use them weekly.

3. TO DO LIST:

Make an emotional relationship to do list.

Have you been meaning to take someone to lunch? Swing by their house on the way home from work? Have tea with your elderly neighbor? Go shopping with your sister? Drop a bottle of wine by to a struggling friend?

We make ‘To Do’ lists for pretty much all aspects of our lives except for our relationships.

How satisfying is it when we scratch them off the list especially things we have been meaning or forgetting to do? Nothing brings more joy in our lives than our relationships and therefore, great joy will come from attending to this list.

Make an emotional relationship to do list.

4. WRITE IT DOWN OR THROW IT OUT:

Decide which emotions stay and which must go.

Just as spring cleaning can bring a sense of accomplishment it can also bring hard decisions. Do we part with the nostalgia? Do we get rid of the appliance we only use once a year? Do we? Should we?

It’s just stuff and ridding ourselves of it can be cathartic.

Is there a friend who you are on the outs with? If you are not ready to throw out the relationship then simply reach out to them via text you are thinking of them or a perhaps a heart emoji. If the relationship is strained and not ready to be entirely repaired a gesture like this can be therapeutic for both of you. It can also release some of the negative or painful emotions which are preoccupying you on some level.

There comes a time when we must move on from some relationships while there are others who must just be dormant for a while.

Decide which emotions stay and which must go.

5.  DEVELOP AN EMOTIONAL ROUTINE:

Commit to an emotional routine.

We all want to have a clean house. Who doesn’t? We just get busy or lazy or distracted.

That’s why we devote a certain time each day or week to what needs to be done.

The same holds true for our relationships. 

Make a schedule for daily and weekly emotional uncluttering and attending to. Make Sunday the day you call the ones you love. Make Monday the day you mail your cards along with your bills. Tag team in manners such as this to remind you it’s also the time to mail your ‘thinking of you’s.’

If you don’t establish and dedicate days and times to foster maintaining your loving relationships you will get out of the habit.

Commit to an emotional routine.

It’s ideal to have a clean house.

It’s euphoric to have uncluttered emotions.

The next time you are putting that plate in the dishwasher call the sister who you fought over doing dishes with as a child or the mom who taught you to wash them.

(Photo courtesy of Pexels)

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