We all have our baggage and it usually does not get less with age… So how do you deal with all that baggage you have collected thoughout your life?
There are several options as to what you can do:
a. You leave it on the baggage carousel hoping that someone will come and take it away and destroy it – good luck!
b. You take it off the carousel and schlepp it around with you, hoping it will somehow take care of itself – spoiler alert, it usually doesn’t!
c. You take it off the carousel and start sorting it out step by step and get rid of as much of it as possible.
Option a. is usually a bad idea. Since when does some knight in shining armour come along to solve all your problems? Ignoring your baggage will only ensure that you are stuck and will not move forward in your life, making yourself feel like a hamster in a wheel – going absolutely nowhere… Sometimes ignorance can be bliss but rarely when it comes to your own life.
Option b. is not much better than option a. – although slightly less naive. When you keep schlepping the same old baggage with you it will at some point weigh you down and make you utterly miserable. You may even carry it as a trophy, justifying failure, self-pity and even bad behavior. You follow a pattern and even make yourself comfortable, snuggling into your access baggage. The trouble is that at a certain point the load of baggage becomes so enormous that it threatens to overwhelm and smother you. Don’t ever let it get that far. I know what I am talking about…
At a certain point I went for Option c. For so many years I carried my sad stories around with me, victimizing and justifying myself. At a certain point I even bored myself to death with it and was ashamed that I had used them as excuses for such a lot of things. I got over it (well most of it), I worked through it (hell yes, it’s painful), I got help where I could not cope alone (it was sometimes humiliating, which in retroperspective was just in my head).
I simply made a decision, the decision to take my baggage off the belt and start looking through it, taking a step back and approaching it without the nagging emotions connected. At first this might be overwhelming but I just took out one piece at a time and definded if I need to work on it or with it or if it can just be filed under “experience”. I made the decision to not use my baggage as an excuse for the things that have gone wrong in my life anymore.
Does this process ever end?
I think not, at least not as long as you actually live a life. You will always have things that stay with you forever but I believe it is important to try and not let them out on others. And if you do, help them understand why you are reacting the way you do. We all have things in our lives that trigger reactions – the good and the ugly ones. It can be a song, a scent, the way something is said that can set you off. If you expect understanding, help others understand you…
The baggage that you are schlepping around with you is usually not all negative and I believe it is important to concentrate on the good and understand and work through the ugly. Understand youself a little better and the most important part is to be (sometimes brutally) honest with yourself.
Just don’t let the ugly define your life and who you are… You do have a choice (even if you cannot always see it right away)!