Illustration by Aamnah Arshad
Illustration by Aamnah Arshad

Indeed, what a lovely feeling we get after we have tidied up our dishevelled room, cleaned up our workspace and organised our closet. After hours and hours of exhaustive hard work, when we have made every nook and corner of our room spick and span, don’t we beam with pride at our effort?

Now think, if just clearing up the room makes us feel so gleeful, what level of contentment we will derive by de-cluttering our hearts?

Sounds confusing? Let me explain. Our heart is a very special place. It should be a keeper of all the feelings that are filled with love, care, hope, sympathy, happiness and empathy. In short, a storage of everything positive.

But, unfortunately, this does not happen all the time. The harsh experiences that life throws at us cause feelings of hopelessness, sadness, resentment, malice, jealousy and hatred to reside inside our hearts. All these negative thoughts and sentiments fill up our hearts, cloud our thoughts and make it impossible for us to move ahead in our lives.

But to live a peaceful and successful life, it is important to liberate ourselves from all these unproductive thoughts. And for that, I have come up with simple, yet practical, steps for decluttering our heart.

Extract out all the negativity

When young, like most of you readers must be, it is difficult to understand what kind of negative emotions are overwhelming us, such as regret, failure, hopelessness, resentment or hatred. For instance, if we are jealous of our friend, or envy our friend’s possessions, we should accept that it is a negative feeling, and must stop ourselves from going deep into it.

This is not an easy thing to do, as anger, regret and other such negative feelings are also natural. But we need to push them aside, or taken out of our system. To do this, we can speak to someone close to us, maybe our cousin, sibling, or parents, slowly yet surely, we will become calm and be at peace.

Speaking out, or venting pent up negative emotions, whether about feelings or something we have done, good or bad, gives a satisfying feeling. We need to understand that to live a peaceful life, we must release our emotions from inside us, otherwise they will trouble us, like built-up steam in a pressure cooker.

But these feelings must be expressed not with those we are upset with or someone who will get offended and react badly to our confession. Instead, find someone you trust and who can help you stay grounded and positive.

Know the whys

With time, we all go through different life experiences, which can be both good and bad. Good experiences instil in us positivity, enthusiasm and happiness, while bad ones demotivate us, thereby making us grim. Yet, if we ponder, we will realise that they teach us a lot.

For instance, if we don’t win a sports competition, we are likely to feel upset and be disheartened. But to prevent from failing again, we need to probe into the reasons that we failed. Was it due to a lack of preparation? Or was it because we were too nervous and the fear of failure ruined our chances of winning? Whatever the causes might be, it is important to find them out so that such a situation is prevented from happening again in the future.

Unburden your heart

It is certainly not wise at all to carry emotional baggage that contains feelings of regret, animosity, negativity and pessimism. If in the past we failed at performing a certain task, it does not mean that we will not be able to do it again. So, it is pointless to let our past experience cloud our future success. By allowing negative feelings stay inside our heart, we will not only hurt ourselves, but will also lose focus of the opportunities that will be knocking at our door.

Dear children, we should remember that decluttering is not a onetime effort, it is a continuous process — a practice that we must stick with throughout our lives to live a meaningful and blissful life.

Published in Dawn, Young World, April 20th, 2024

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