You know how when you go on vacation and end up coming back with way more stuff than you did when you left your house?
You bring home random souvenirs that turn into junk that you drag around from house to house for no other reason than the fact that they've been in your closet for years.
And as time goes by, it becomes automatic to just pack them up without even thinking whether you actually want to keep them.
Well, life is kind of like that too.
We tend to pick up all kinds of baggage as we go through life and end up with a bunch of junk if we don't sort through it and get rid of what we don't really need.
This behavior isn't that problematic when it comes to material stuff unless you are a compulsive hoarder, but when it comes to emotional baggage, dragging around what you don't need could not only weigh you down but prevent you from achieving your goals.
Suitcases of inner burdens could make your path more difficult to travel.
And just like the mementos you keep in your closet, it gets harder and harder to sort through as it accumulates.
So today, I want to talk about four kinds of emotional baggage you may be carrying around so you can be aware of it and figure out what you can do to sort it through.
1. Your Past
There is value in remembering what's happened in the past. You can learn from it. But clinging to the past and holding on and reliving it over and over again in your mind doesn't serve much purpose.
Dragging it around causes a sense of restriction, and it prevents you from moving forward.
So what I want you to do first is to acknowledge the past. Learn what you can from it and mindfully let it go.
Having a hard time letting go of the past? The email which I talk about the quote that helped me break free from the pain of the past might help you.
The concept of guilt is closely tied to the past, but it's not quite the same.
Even if you've done your best to let the past go, you might still cling to guilt, feeling as if you are responsible for carrying the blame for something that's happened, even when you know it can't be undone.
And what makes it harder to let go of guilt is a feeling of unworthiness.
When you're challenged by feelings of unworthiness, you tend to think you don't deserve better, so it becomes normal for you to carry inner burdens.
If you feel guilty about one particular incident or mistake you've made, I encourage you to try looking at it as a lesson for you to learn to do things differently next time. And do what you can to make the most of the time you've been given.
And if you feel guilty because of feelings of unworthiness, you can try these practices to release it.
- Journal about the feelings of unworthiness every time they come up. You could ask yourself, "What is causing me to feel unworthy?" "What are the feelings of self-doubt that I have?" "Am I willing to let these unworthy feelings block me from my best life?" Notice your answers and the patterns that arise.
- Adopt an "I am worthy" affirmation. Write it on your mirror. Put it in your phone. Post it up on your wall. Have reminders wherever you can place them.
- Forgive yourself for harboring these feelings. Be gentle with yourself when releasing them. By saying goodbye to your feelings of unworthiness, you are opening yourself up to brand-new possibilities in life.
Expectations, especially ones of ourselves, often lead to stress.
They may seem beneficial (and they can be), but quite frequently, they are heavy and can really weigh you down.
They also cause emotional paralysis because you focus too much on "shoulds."
If you are struggling with the weight of expectations, you can try these practices.
- Change Your Mindset & Cultivate Your Inner Voice. Try to think positively about the situation – see a setback with optimism and ask what the lesson was. Also, focus on what you are doing and the good, not what you may miss out on.
- Focus on Your Journey. Look at the now. The present. The journey. Focus on the progress and process. Enjoy every small success and every failure, too, as it ginves you an opportunity to learn and reflect.
- Define Your Goals and Wants. You want to replace your expectations with realistic and achievable goals. When you set a goal, consider where you want to be (not should be) and what you want to accomplish.
4. Someone Else's Baggage
This is the baggage we likely carry without realizing it.
Whether it's parents, siblings, friends, or children, many of us drag around the weight of what others have done because we feel partly responsible for it or we've been hurt by it.
But just as with our own pasts, the pasts of others can't be undone.
So I want to encourage you to try setting that extra weight down.
If you are not sure how to separate yourself from the baggage of others, you can watch one of my videos about cutting emotional cords. I think you will find it helpful.
I know that setting down one or all of these things is not an easy task.
But lugging around extra weight only makes your journey more difficult.
I hope what I share with you today helps you realize how much baggage you've been carrying around and inspires you to take action to let it go.
These four types of baggage are the first that came to mind, but what else would you like to set down?