Why You Need to Confront the Truth of Your Emotional Junk Drawer

By | October 5, 2018

Tracy Martino

I froze as my heart sank. I rediscovered my dog’s hair clippings, in my junk drawer, from the day they died.

Seeing the clippings brought back the trauma of that sad day. Both of my dogs died together two years ago. I remember clipping their hair, after making a cast of their paw prints, before they died.

As I cleaned out my junk drawer, I proceeded to take out the fur pieces, felt the texture and stroked it like I did when they were alive. Tears ran down my face as I talked to the fur and said, “I miss you.” Awareness struck me as to why I was so triggered and emotional. The obvious, I missed them. But subconsciously I felt guilt. Guilty I didn’t give them enough attention when they were alive because I was sick and busy with the kids.

Continuing my junk drawer cleansing, I found old polaroid pictures of a friend who was no longer in my life. We had a terrible falling out. Anger rose up, hurt and confusion. Questions flooded my mind. Why didn’t she want the friendship work? Why did she stop communicating with me? What did I do to deserve this? As I continued this downward spiral, I stopped and yelled out loud, “Get a hold of yourself!” That friendship no longer served its purpose. It was time for me to purge the photo and the feelings attached to it and move on.

I then noticed an expired Illinois drivers license. Pandora’s Box opened up. Memories of proving myself to the world resurfaced. I became physically sick as I went back to that time in my life. Newly pregnant; working my tail off to keep my job; dealing with a micromanaging boss; and trying to be the perfect wife. I was lost at that time in my life trying to figure out what my identity was or was going to be. That trigger stung. It was profound.

Having a junk drawer is very common.

It develops over time as an accumulation of memories, odds and ends, and frequently used things. It becomes a dumping ground when we are in a rush and unaware. Ironically our minds create an “Emotional Junk” drawer within our subconscious. It is an accumulation of overlooked emotions such as: avoidance, abandonment, procrastination, and self-worth that rob you of your confidence and drains your energy.

Have you ever been tired of being tired? Are you quick to react? Do you walk away when certain subjects come up in conversation? If you answer yes to one or all of these, this is an opportunity for you to explore what is in your Emotional Junk Drawer!

I will warn you.

Going through your Emotional Junk Drawer can be painful and uncomfortable. Revisiting emotional situations and unfinished business is not a walk in the park! Think about it! Your Emotional Junk Drawer was created out of fear. Fear to confront the truth. Fear to be real. Fear to feel. The Emotional Junk Drawer becomes an avoidance safety net. As long as you place your emotional junk in the drawer, you don’t have to deal with it. It never happened. You don’t have to acknowledge it.


Bam! Someone says something and hits one of your triggers, and you lose it! You feel your heart race, blood pressure go up, and it becomes hard to breathe! Soon you end up with chronic fatigue or a mystery illness or anxiety. Your life doesn’t have to continue this way. You can become more resilient and bounce back from stress and other energy drains.

When you are ready, you make the choice.

1. Be real and acknowledge the triggers. Seek to understand the patterns within these triggers. Look to discover how this has served you. Create a design that works for you.


2. You can continue to overlook and dump more unresolved issues, emotions, and deal with the repercussions of staying on your reactionary merry-go-round.

You may not realize this becomes a huge energy drain, and over time affects your overall health. By creating avoidance and choosing not to be aware of emotional triggers, we become less resilient resulting in overreaction, miscommunication, and resentment.

If someone hits one of your triggers, that you stuffed in your Emotional Junk Drawer, your body’s natural reaction is to fight. This may take days for you to recover and you may spend days obsessing over how you reacted! However, if you do the work and go through your Emotional Junk Drawer, you can create a space for healing and not allow these triggers to affect you, therefore, creating a new reality!

For me when I was faced to acknowledge my dog’s death, ending of a friendship and struggle with identity, it was very painful. I didn’t want to deal with confronting those triggers.

I discovered there is so much energy trapped in pain. I realized I created an attachment to the items in my Emotional Junk Drawer. Partially I was afraid of letting them go and part the emotional security created a safety net for me. When I surrendered and went through my Emotional Junk drawer, I was able to purge the feelings that were attached to it and create space for change.

I encourage you to go through your Emotional Junk Drawer and purge. Create a journal of what you discover. Take time to meditate on your findings and find the space for healing. You will find when you let go; you are in charge. You are empowered. You are free.

The post was originally published on Medium.com and is republished with the author’s permission.

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