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Tuesday, 13 March 2012

We Are ALL Hoarders!

We are all Hoarders!

Everytime I watch that Hoarding Reality show on television I cringe.  Here are these helpless, fearful and anxious people being bullied, cajolled and guilted into changing their lives by well-meaning family and professionals.  What the public doesn't understand is not what is obvious. Yes, the hoarding behavior is harmful and can cause health issues to the Hoarder.   That it isn't logical that they live surrounded by garbage and things that are suffocating them.
What they fail to understand is the subconsciously powerful impulse and urge to feel safe.  And the 'things' hoarded represent safety and familiarity.  And we all hoard something in our lives, whether it's a relationship, old clothing, or an attitude.

All of us hold on to outdated crap because we feel it still fits.  Imagine going into your closet and trying to put on what you wore as a 6 year old.  That's what the mind does.  Holds on to childhood beliefs and tries to make it 'fit'.  Or that pair of jeans that fit you once and you hold on with the hope that you'll get into them one day. 

Our thinking mind (logical mind) may justify why we hold on to weight, continue smoking, feel anxiety, etc.  We hoard bad relationships because staying is easier than leaving.  We endure crappy jobs that are unfulfilling because it takes too much effort to look for another and often justify behavior (staying and hating it) because it will offer up the "same crap, different office".  We hoard our angers because it's "their fault".  We refuse to fly in an airplane because it's dangerous.  We wash our hands over and over again because there are germs everywhere, unseen, and it's best to be preventative.  See what I mean about justifying?

But the key to our hoarding is that security really is what's familiar.  Our feeling mind (subconscious) drives our behaviour by our experiences.  It is an automatic, habitual mind.  100% percent of what is in our subconscious closet is based on beliefs that we formed as kids.  A fear of not being loved formed when Mom doesn't give the attention you need in a given moment.  Our beliefs are formed around perceptions of events, coming from a feeling (sad) and a thought (Mom doesn't love me/think I'm important, etc).  It has nothing to do with rationalization because during this innocent time we have no rational mind to logically analyze that logically, Mom loves us. She's just busy, or had a bad day, or has PMS.  From that first moment, that belief affects how we see ourselves in the world, as unlovable.  And if we are unlovable, we can't be worth much.  So it shows up in our relationships, be they of the heart or of the workplace or social.  Thus all the clothing from infancy to about 6 years old is still in our closets today.  The conscious mind may want to revamp that closet.  It may understand that these outfits, labels, and perceptions don't fit.   But this same mind is up against the inner mind, who guards what it believes YOU believe with ruthless efficiency.  And if that logical thought isn't in line with the beliefs we hold subconsciously, it won't let it in.  So the new outfit gets thrown in the trash or given to Sally Ann.

I want to lose weight.  That's the thought.  Logical/thinking mind analyzes it for harmony with existing beliefs.  It finds that the subconscious mind holds a belief that you think you're ugly or not lovable, that to be skinny would attract the opposite sex and then you'd be in a situation where you'd fail anyway because you're not lovable so it keeps the weight on AS A SHIELD on the body.  As long as the weight is on, you don't have to face the unlovable feeling, the sad feeling, etc.

I want to have a clean, uncluttered life.  Again, that's a thought.  And if there is a belief about your not having control, that you are not capable enought, smart enough, confident enough, good enough, then you find control wherever you can.  In the case of hoarders, it's control of your home and what you put in it and keep stored inside it.  The lose of the control is likened to the loss of the self and all that is important to you and what defines you. A hoarder doesn't define himself as a hoarder.  He defines himself as someone who needs to hold on to things.  For emotional safety. 

So, to heal this pattern of behavior one needs to examine the powerful engine behind the actions.  To seek help to heal the past and not just what is happening in the now.  To address the issue directly is like pulling weeds and expecting them to be gone forever.
The root is still below the surface and regrows with any stimulation.  It's like looking at an iceberg and seeing only the tip.  But under the surface exists its vast bulk, below the level of what the eye can see.

Know that each of use has the ability to change our minds.  But we must first arrive at the point where we ask ourselves, "Have I had enough yet?"  We can clear out the debris that surrounds us or drown under the weight of the same debris disguised as protection.  Find help that involves reaching into the inner mind that can and will change.  Know that the process is wrought with emotion but sit in the knowledge that whatever caused the hurts were survived for the proof is that you are here.