Why there are more emotions in your wardrobe than clothes

Why there are more emotions in your wardrobe than clothes blog header picture of a dress neckline with the title wardrobe emotions

The number of thoughts we have every day

We perhaps should not be so surprised that that are more emotions in your wardrobe than clothes.  We have all heard the statistics about the number of thoughts we have everyday (between 12,000 and 60,000).  Our brains are constantly working, processing information and sending us signals in the form of thoughts.

Thought management

I really do think thought management should be taught at school.  There are two thoughts I have had which when I had them I realised I would never go back.  The first is: You don’t have to believe everything you think (which relates to thoughts that I have heard from other people); and the second is: Just because you think a thought doesn’t mean that it’s true (that one relates to thoughts I think myself).

When I thought these thoughts I realised that there is a separation between me and my thoughts.  I am not my thoughts and you are not your thoughts either.  When I learned that there is a separation between me and my brain I started to learn how to manage it.  How to manage it when I am anxious or fearful or sad or angry.

So, back to the title of this blog posts, that there are more emotions in your wardrobe than clothes.  It is only when you deal with the emotions that are lurking in there that you are able to put your relationship with your clothes on an even keel.

What type of emotions are in your wardrobe?

There are both negative and positive emotions in your wardrobe.  Of course I don’t mean that there are physical embodiments of emotions sitting on a shelf or hanging on a coathanger.  What I mean by there being more emotions in your wardrobe than clothes is that the items in your wardrobe: clothes, bags, shoes, hats, accessories, underwear, ball dresses, uniforms, all trigger an emotional response in you when you see them.

Why there are more emotions in your wardrobe than clothes

The reason that I say that there are more emotions in your wardrobe than clothes is that each item in your wardrobe has the potential to trigger more than one emotion.  For example, say you bought a handbag.  It was expensive, more than you would normally pay for a handbag.  When you bought it you didn’t quite have enough money in your bank account, so you put it on your credit card.  And now it is accruing interest each month as you pay it off.  Even though you really love the handbag, you are not using it.  The reason you are not using it is because you feel guilty about the money.  So what emotions are you feeling at this point?  Probably guilt, shame, aswell as love (for the bag) and maybe even pride (that you bought it and you love it) – all at the same time.  This is just from one item in your wardrobe – 4 emotions.

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The unresolved nature of emotions in your wardrobe

So you see how we have these emotions in our wardrobe that are attached to, or relate to the actual physical items that we have in there.

The next problem we have is that these emotions remain unresolved, without being addressed.  So each time you open up your wardrobe and see the handbag, you trigger off the same sequence, or similar, of emotions again.

The same happens with clothes you currently can’t fit into.  So you may look at a pair of jeans that you really love but can’t wear.  So, you may feel: frustration (you can’t wear the jeans), happy nostalgia (because you are reminded of happy times in the past when you could wear them) and maybe shame (because you have put on weight).  Each time you see those jeans you get the same sequence of emotions again: frustration, nostaligia, shame.

Negative emotions are draining and exhausting

These negative emotions can be very draining and sap all the energy and life out of your day.  High-intensity emotions, whether positive or negative, activate our sympathetic (your flight or flight) system.  It is our body’s stress response that taxes the body and depletes and exhausts it.  See the Harvard Business review article on how your feelings may be tiring you out.  These feelings of shame and guilt and love are all high-intensity emotions and they will most probably exhaust you.

How we get stuck in our emotions

So here we have these emotions, the negative ones, which we are attaching to our clothes.  Just to check here, we attach the emotions to our clothes, they are not there all by themselves.

It would be useful at this stage to take action.  If the bag makes you feel guilty then sell it.  If the trousers are too small then give them away and buy another pair.  However, for some reason we often don’t take action at this point.  We experience the negative emotions and we hunker down.  We hide.  We become paralysed with fear or anxiety (or both) and become petrified.  We are not going to address why this is so in this blog post.  But we are going to look a the unequal equation that it creates.

The equation that doesn’t balance

So, on the one side you have all the clothes in your wardrobe.  They may all be neatly stored away, but the neatness is immaterial when compared with the emotional pull that those clothes have on you.  clothes are there to be worn.

So we have the clothes, which don’t fit, or about which we feel shame and guilt which has a double negative aspect.  Firstly that we don’t wear them.  Secondly that we feel bad about them.  So then our wardrobes have less space for clothes that do fit us, that we don’t feel guilty about and that we love.  So there are fewer clothes available to wear.

So this is our equation:

Clothes in our wardrobe (100%) – clothes with negative emotions attached (50%)

= 50% availability for clothes we love

So you are losing 50% of your wardrobe to what?  Clothes that you can’t wear, with negative emotions attached.  Leaving only a potential 50% for all clothes with a positive or neutral emotional attachment.

I think an entirely realistic aim is:

Clothes in our wardrobe (100%) – clothes with negative emotions attached (0%)

= 100% availability for clothes we love

I realised that I was doing it in my life and when I realised it was happening to me, I started to see it in other women too.

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Have a great day.


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