The term head trash is a bit polarising – some people just get it, while others struggle. So, I thought I’d explain it from a different perspective for those who are still struggling with it.
A good way of thinking about it is this: head trash is anything that prevents you from acting with freedom, choice and flexibility in your life.
If you’re avoiding someone or (doing) something because of how you may react or feel, then you’re not acting with freedom, choice and flexibility in your life. Like the woman who missed out on her daughter’s wedding in the Caribbean because of her fear of flying.
Now, if you want to clear your head trash, you first need to know what it is. It’s one thing knowing you have it, but articulating it is something else.
The thing to bear in mind with head trash is that it’s more than likely that you have a motley crew of stuff going on that’s all entangled like a ball of old shoelaces. With each strand being affected by another, the trick here is to work out which strand needs to be pulled out first.
I like to think of head trash as falling into 3 broad groups (that’s my “I must be organised” head trash!);
We all experience emotions all the time and being able to display our emotions appropriately is healthy. What we don’t want to do is to banish them but the real problems arise when we lose balance. Emotions that are out of balance are notable for one of two reasons;
You might not display this emotion often, but when you do, it’s noticeable and everyone knows about it. So, maybe you get angry, but when you do, it’s scary; angry voices, angry actions and pulsating veins. Not good. Phobias fit in this one, after all, they’re an extreme form of fear.
These are emotions that you just can’t shake. You take them everywhere; it’s like a permanent state for you. Maybe you worry or stress about stuff. But you worry or stress about EVERYTHING! Even things that, on reflection, aren’t that stressful. Or, maybe you’re always angry and your anger seeps out all over the place; in a queue (impatience), in the car (road rage) or in conversation (critical/sarcastic/patronising/rude).
This conflict is usually in relation to our values. Our values are the unwritten rules that we live by. They are the things in life that are really important to us and they drive our thoughts, behaviours and actions. But sometimes, we have values that are in conflict with each other. The problem is that this happens so deep under the surface that we don’t necessarily know what’s going on and we only experience the symptoms. Some people describe this feeling as being pulled in two directions, going round in circles, or self-sabotage.
Imagine someone who values freedom and independence very highly and who hates the idea of being trapped (emotionally or geographically). They’re constantly travelling in their plight for freedom and independence, but in doing so they become trapped in this cycle of seeking freedom. This leads to a struggle in forming relationships, as they are not around long enough. The result is that they are trapped in loneliness. So here we have a conflict between trapped and freedom.
Or, how about someone who considers themselves to be spiritual? This person is launching a business, but it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. This person also believes that a good spiritual person is not driven by money and that the ultimate in spirituality is to live a very simple life as money is not important. So for them, earning money will take them away from being a good spiritual person and so they self sabotage sub-consciously.
Life has a habit of throwing us curveballs that floor us for a bit. We all get it. There might be things gong on right now that are stressing you out. Things like relationship conflicts or breakdown, maybe with families or partners. Or it could be your work. Maybe you’re facing redundancy, or feeling the pressure too much. Sometimes life just gets too much and we need help just coping with it.