​​​​​​​The Emotional Karmic Scrap Heap: Minimize Your Emotional Wake


My emotional karmic scrap heap is riddled with many “Angry Tomi” stories. As far back as I can remember I see “Angry Tomi.” The explosion of my dark, evil side was never far from the surface. Often times it spilled over, impacting all dimensions of my life. When I think about what I left in my emotional wake, I cringe.

For someone dedicated to building people up, I sure could use my anger to tear them down. I was angry at my parents for bringing me into this world. I was angry at the forces of the Universe because I arrived on the planet in ill health. I was angry because I wasn’t petite. I was angry because I hurt my knee and couldn’t play collegiate volleyball. I could sit here all day typing one liners about my anger, but that isn’t necessary. You get the picture. I was angry and resentful.

Thus, I picked up Dr. Paul O.’s You Can’t Make Me Angry with interest and trepidation.Most of us either suppress or express our emotions. Neither of those are aligned with being your most powerful self, and they contribute greatly to your Emotional Karmic Scrap Heap. This scrap heap comes from all of the emotions that we feel and don’t know how to process and deal with. Our emotional wake comes from the way we mismanage these emotions with others.

You clear your emotional karmic scrap heap by owning these emotions and sorting through them. You make the karmic scrap heap bigger when you throw these emotions on someone else or stuff them down. When we can transcend this scrap heap, we can be more powerfully ourselves. There is power in the message that can be delivered without emotional interference.

The first step to clearing and overcoming your emotional scrap heap is developing emotional maturity. In You Can’t Make Me Angry, Dr. Paul O. says of emotional maturity, “emotional maturity demands ongoing, total acceptance of people, places, things, and situations as they are, rather than as I might wish them to be.” Emotional maturity requires that we accept things as they are, that we take responsibility for the way that our life looks and that we take ownership of our emotions.

When we are not emotionally mature, we want the people in our life to be responsible for our happiness. We abdicate responsibility for our own lives and for our own happiness to others. Clearing your emotional karmic scrap heap requires that you say, “I am responsible for how I am, who I am, how I live, and what I feel.”

Another important part of clearing the emotional scrap heap is to feel what you feel when you feel it. Most of us try not to feel our emotions. We tend to stuff them back down our throat and deny them. Then, those feelings surface at inopportune times and we trip over them (and usually not in pretty ways).

One of the best ways I found to feel what you need to feel is the 24 hour rule. For 24 hours, you can wallow, cry, drink champagne, take tequila shots, yell, beat your fists on your chest, or dance by the light of the moon. Do whatever you have to do to feel the emotion. Wallow in that righteous anger! Don’t avoid it. Feel it.

However, when the 24 hours are up, you have to leave the hurt or pride here and take the wisdom of the moment forward. Author, marketer, and entrepreneur Ryan Holliday wrote, “Remember that this moment is not your life, it’s just a moment in your life." This is only one moment in a big life so rest in the power of the lesson and leave behind the pain or pride. 

The point of the 24 hour rule is to give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you feel so it doesn’t show up to haunt you later on. Often times, if you lean into those emotions, feel them at a new depth and give yourself permission to sit in them, it is easier to find the lesson and move forward without the pain. When we can find the teachings in the pain or the pride, we open ourselves up to the larger reality waiting for us.

Obviously, we can mourn or celebrate long after the 24 hours. The point isn’t to stop someone’s grief or to cut the joy short. Each of us celebrates and grieves differently. The 24 hour rule invites you to stop. To feel deeply. To stand in the middle of what is breaking our hearts, making us angry, frustrating us, etc. To totally shut down, if that is what is needed. It makes it okay to stop. It also teaches that life goes on and so must you. You don’t have to stop grieving, crying, singing, celebrating or whatever at 24 hours and one second. But you do have to brush yourself off, get up and march forward. Simply put: No stuffing down the emotions. You keep the scrap heap from building back up when you give yourself 24 hours.

We have now worked through the Intellectual Scrap Heap and the Emotional Scrap Heap. Now it’s time for the grand finale - the Energetic Karmic Scrap Heap, also known as everything else! You’re almost there!

May you find yourself soaring higher and higher!

Tomi Llama

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