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Dealing with Emotional Baggage

Let’s face it:  All of us have emotional “baggage.”  Each of our “bags” differs from other people’s, but whether or not we like to admit it…we all have it.  “Baggage” makes us who we are.  Without it, many of us wouldn’t have our “quirks,” our endearing qualities or our unique perspectives.  At the same time, however, “baggage” can cause us to have “issues” that we have to grapple with for the long-haul.

Why do we call distasteful past experiences “baggage?”  Because most of us carry it around…everywhere we go.  And, even though we attempt to pack it up neatly, inevitably it gets carried around so much, that the wear and tear it takes makes it especially distasteful.  Yet, it is still a part of us that somehow, we can’t get rid of.

Although most of our “baggage” is far from humorous, it is easy to find the humor in the analogy.  Granted, the order in which we experience the following during travel may not be accurate, but the concepts sure do ring true!

1. Check Your Bags: Do you want to carry your “baggage” with you wherever you go?  Or, would you rather check it, so that you can be free from it until you need it?

  • Real Life Takeaway: If you know or accept that you have “baggage,” decide what you’d like to do about it.  Some of our “baggage” will stay with us for the rest of our lives, but, more likely than not, we can work through a lot of it so that we only have to deal with it when we need to.

2. Baggage Claim: Leaving your “baggage” at baggage claim makes travel difficult.   After all, you can’t travel without your bags!

  • Real Life Takeaway: Sure, we may not like our less-than-perfect past.  But denying that it exists or pretending it isn’t part of our make-up, only causes it to resurface in very distasteful ways.  Instead, acknowledge that the “baggage” in your life exists and accept that it has a role in making you who you are.  Embrace how it has molded you and come to terms with the fact that, whether you like it or not, it is part of you.

3. Baggage Carousel: If you don’t pick your baggage up from the carousel, it will continue to go round and round…and you will never leave the airport.

  • Real Life Takeaway: If you ignore your “baggage,” it will always be there and you will be going in circles throughout life.  Further, you will never progress into new terrain!  Take your “baggage” off the carousel so that you can move onto better things.

4. Baggage Handlers: When your “baggage” is too big and cumbersome, it is especially helpful to have a professional “baggage” handler help you.

  • Real Life Takeaway: Consider counseling for especially difficult to handle situations or personal history.  Psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists and social workers are all professionals who can help you work through the hardships and unhealthy aspects of your past.

5. Baggage Screening: Although your “baggage” may be sealed up tight, people will still be able to see that there is stuff inside.

  • Real Life Takeaway: Although people may not always know what your “baggage” is, they still can tell it is there.  Being self-aware and acknowledging your issues will make it much easier to help others understand you and where you are coming from.

6. Lost Baggage: When you lose “baggage,” inevitably you will get it back.

  • Real Life Takeaway: Unfortunately, as you go through life, you may find people who have a knack for helping old habits resurface.  This can lead to toxic relationships or worse, history repeating itself.  If possible, don’t let old “baggage,” even disguised as new, come back over and over again.

6. Keep Your Baggage Unique: If you choose “baggage” that looks like everyone else’s, you will find it difficult to find your own.

  • Real Life Takeaway: It is really easy to find other people who suffer from the same “baggage.”  After all, you can relate to one another.  However, it can also keep you stuck in the same ruts and behaviors, never breaking free from your past.  Look for people who can help you cultivate healthier habits while letting go of those that aren’t.

Are you handling your “baggage?”

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Posted in Brett's Blog, Mind-Body Tagged with: , , ,