Old stuff. Old buildings. Old people. All old things have character. Past emotional baggage is an old thing too and it definitely has a character like none other.
Old things like slides, bicycles, hot water heaters, tubs, roofing material, lumber and abandoned farm houses that have become physical debris are very similar to past emotional baggage.
What Is Emotional Baggage?
Emotional baggage is a common term used to describe unresolved emotional issues. The term “emotional baggage” brings to mind a visual of a load that is heavy laden with trauma, disappointments, sadness, pain, heartbreak and all the things done wrong to and by you.
Results Of Emotional Baggage
If it were possible to have lost luggage at the airport, the best one to lose would be the emotional baggage. Unfortunately, getting rid of past unresolved issues is quite a bit more complicated albeit very necessary. Being human means making mistakes. Although lessons are learned and wisdom gained from mistakes, the emotions tied to the incidents are often unpleasant. It is healthy to work through the full range of emotions after a mistake because burying them causes many unpleasant side effects such as:
- Loss of self-confidence
- Loss of creativity
- Sabotaging relationships or attempts at goals
- A constant miserable feeling
- Loss of self-respect
- Fear to try something new
- Lack of trust
- Overwhelming regret
Ugh! That’s a whole bunch of pain!
Outward Appearance Of Emotional Baggage
Since emotional baggage is actually not something you can see like you do when you look at a cloud or bird, it is impossible to just look at someone and see their past unresolved issues. However, there are some characteristics of a person that could be the red flag that unresolved emotional baggage is lurking beneath the surface.
When emotional baggage remains a constant in a personality, it often makes the person hard to get along with because they are:
- Extremely jealous
- Very needy of attention
- A control freak
- Flagrantly bossy
- A whiner
- Often acting like a jerk
Unresolved emotional issues have a tendency to be like an alien that takes over our own personality. The emotional baggage sucks the life out of us and replaces our personality with an obnoxious and unhappy one. Often people can keep unresolved issues hidden for extended periods of time and even fake themselves out to believe that everything is under control, but eventually the overwhelming unhappiness explodes hurling vile emotional and sometimes physical debris everywhere.
The fight or flight responses kick in when we are thrust into uncomfortable situations reminiscent of past pain. That is the whole basis of why control freaks are control freaks – they feel that if they can control a situation, they won’t ever be hurt again. So their emotional baggage keeps them safe while they try to avoid all the painful experiences touching their life. Everyone with emotional baggage is at least a tad bit of a control freak in at least one area.
How To Fix Or Eliminate Emotional Baggage
A false sense of “I can completely control my world,” is a sure sign of emotional baggage, but how can we rid ourselves of these debilitating issues? I think it takes three large steps to eliminate emotional baggage in order to live a successful life.
- Admit it – You can fool everyone else, but you can’t ever truly fool yourself that you don’t have emotional baggage. The first step is the same as with any addiction – admittance. Yeah, I did say “addiction” as if emotional baggage was an addiction. Maybe not to the scientific world, but you know as well as I do that the feelings obtained by hanging onto unresolved issues may not be pleasant, but they provide a comfortable miserableness. It’s like that saying, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”
- See the facts – Although it is easier to blame the entire world for every problem, eventually you need to start acknowledging that you make mistakes AND that it is okay to make mistakes. Other people are to blame for many things that contribute to emotional baggage, but hanging onto all the unresolved issues is solely your choice. If you’re hanging onto them and not seeking help, then you can only blame yourself for your unhappiness.
- Forgiveness – After recognizing that you have emotional baggage, understanding exactly where it is coming from and that you are choosing to hang onto it, then the next step is to let it go. It is time to stop blaming and holding resentment against yourself and everyone else. Let go of the anger, pain, blame, resentment and all other emotions that are stealing your energy. This can be accomplished by forgiving yourself and forgiving others. You won’t ever forget what got you to this point, but forgiveness will allow you the freedom to leave it in the past, totally powerless, where it belongs.
Past emotional baggage is a huge topic. I could write for hours and hours about the effect of unresolved issues on a marriage relationship, but I’m going to let that one slide for now. But let me say one thing about it…Emotional baggage can TOTALLY destroy a relationship.
Take to heart the three steps to eliminating emotional baggage in your life. This is truly a journey to happiness for yourself and only you can do it. Don’t you want to be totally happy? Do you believe you can attain that happiness? Go ahead and take the steps you need to put the past into the past…
Let go, love, laugh and live a life filled with inner peace void of past emotional baggage.