Steps to Deal with Emotional Baggage
Of baggage and the management of that baggage, Angelina Jolie once said, “It's hard to be clear about who you are when you are carrying around a bunch of baggage from the past. I've learned to let go and move more quickly into the next place.” I really love that latter part of her quote about moving quickly to the next place.
The reason, I have found, is that most people have come to both understand and accept that baggage comes is a part of all of our lives. But the area that seems to hang most of us up is how to navigate through the hours, days and years and not allow our baggage to pull us down.
My personal definition of baggage is; The emotional struggles we choose to carry into new areas of our lives like addictions, anger or bitterness. I recently worked with a client who was going through some really tough times with his relationship. And what he shared is that the issues with his mate had less to do with their present and future, and all to do with things from their past.
She was living in frustration with him about shortcomings in her life that she collected way before they had even met. Now he has been sentenced to live a life of frustrations based on standards he could never fix.
What I learned during this session is that no matter how remorseful or angry you are about where you have been and what’s happened, you will never possess the ability to go back and right those wrongs. The best you could hope for is the strength and mental fortitude to walk into your tomorrow’s with the resolve to make better choices with what you have left.
Why is it that we clinch onto the past with a seemingly death grip? I believe there are two primary reasons. First, our environment tends to dictate expectations. And it is our expectations that grow our life’s experiences. Next, we seem to hold the past because we haven’t embraced that interruptions that come to push us out of our comfort zones.
In other words, we get used to the same old stuff. And life knocks us around until we get the guts to step further than we’ve ever been before.
You would think that having baggage in your life would be a disqualifier for your destiny. But it is actually the contrary. It’s our baggage that is the great equalizer. Baggage doesn’t care if you’re white, black, bi-racial, male or female.
Your zip code doesn’t negate the reality of your baggage. It’s one of the few things we ALL encounter. I have seen people of great wealth and means go through some crazy things. Almost as if they were no different from a person with low income, living in public housing. Baggage doesn’t care, it just shows up.
I believe there are some simple remedies to access that make navigating with baggage a lot easier. Trust me, if you are not careful, you’ll end up wandering with a bad back from carrying your load the wrong way. So the first thing you need is a circle of friends who aren’t afraid of your baggage. It is your vibe that’s attracting your tribe.
And when you connect with the right people, they will see past your baggage and identify your potential. Is there anything more freeing than someone who acknowledges your greatness long before it has arrived? These people give you the validation to step beyond limitations and be your best self.
Along with a circle of friends to lift you up, you need to connect with a mentor who’s been where you are trying to go. Mentorship is probably one of the missing links to success. We have been taught that experience is the best teacher. But I beg to differ. Experience can be so expensive you never quite recover afterwards.
So I have learned that gaining access to other people’s experiences can save you both time and money. You shouldn’t have to go bankrupt to see what it’s like when you have a mentor who’s fought their way back from the brink of disaster. So mentorship is your treasure map for a better rate of success.
Iconic R & B singer Erykah Badu wrote a song a few years ago called Bag Lady that quickly became a Billboard success. The opening lyrics still blow me away to this day. She writes:
Bag lady you gone hurt your back
Dragging all them bags like that
I guess nobody ever told you
All you must hold onto, is you, is you, is you
Imagine that, the very things we struggle to carry are what’s causing us pain. So there’s this internal contradiction we have to come to grips with. So we must gather the resolve to walk away from our baggage, no matter how comforting it makes us feel. Today our future stands before us. Will we continue in dysfunction? Or will we have the power to walk into our liberation? The choice is completely yours.
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