“Bag Lady, you gon’ hurt your back…dragging all them bags like that.” – Erykah Badu
Relationships (friendship, business-ships, etc.) can be tough. Sometimes, very tough. It’s very easy to point the finger, and so much harder to look in the mirror. As I journey through life and love, more and more I see my own shortcomings. Now, I may look like I have it all together, dressed to impress, smiles on fleek, but…I have baggage. Tons of it. Hurt from my past, opportunities loss, insecurities, doubt. If I am very honest with myself (and now the world), these flaws have, at times, kept me stagnant professionally and personally. After all, it is much easier to push people away than it is to face your own feelings. This is who I am, dammit! You can love it, or leave me alone! So, excuse me while I keep my emotional fortress intact.
Now, that plan would work fine if I could continued this life on a one-woman island, but where’s the growth there? Holding on to the past and self-destructing behavior(s) keeps you safe, but they will also potentially keep you single, sad, and stationary. Know that EVERYONE has baggage…everyone! Stepping out of your comfort zone to manage your baggage enables you to discover the person you want to be and become it! A while ago, I began the work to clean out the physical baggage in my home (read about it here). Now, emotional baggage?!? It’s your turn!
1. Find out what’s in your bags. Take a moment (and a dose of the strongest truth serum) and write down all the things that trouble you. Include every thought or action that stresses you or brings you down. Be open to whatever comes to mind.
2. Find the source. Take each stressor you listed, and think back to where you got the baggage. Were you cheated on in a previous relationship? Have you experienced abandonment from a parent or relative? Recognize the source, and move on!
3. Find the GOOD in the bad. Keeping the source of the baggage in mind, think of a good thing that came from each of those bad experiences. For example, I have been cheated on in a previous relationship. That loss of trust eventually was the demise of the relationship, BUT, in that relationship, I learned to be self-sufficient and independent. The relationship (while painful) literally grew me up! Find the “but” in your baggage. This will empower you to become the victor of your painful past, and not the victim.
4. Create counters for negative thoughts. Now, you know what is in your bags, and you know how they got there. Use the positives you found to create specific and concrete affirmations. I also loooove quotes! Anything that will speak life into your “baggy” moments. Write them down. Post them in places you will see them often. “Be Mary Jane” and post that shit everywhere…at work, in the bathroom, in the car.
5. 21 days. That’s how long it takes to form a habit, and that’s consecutive days. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Your baggage may never leave, but you can develop structures to prevent it from impeding your promising future…with time and patience. So, be consistent and persevere. Find an accountability partner to do self-check-ins with, or track your own progress through journaling.
The relationship you have with yourself is the MOST important relationship you will ever have. Do the work, and lighten your load, bag lady.
How do you handle emotional baggage? Let me know in the comments, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.
Love WITHOUT Fear,