Guest Author - Kristina de la Cal
The key to sorting through emotional baggage is to take an earnest look at the contents of your suitcase and weigh each item carefully. Keep in mind that because the emotions belong to you and you alone, it is your responsibility to manage them in a way that will be most effective to you and your needs. The first step is to acknowledge that no matter how wronged you may have been in the past, it is up to you to extract the lessons packaged in those painful experiences. The reality of it is that you are weighed down by emotional baggage not because of someone else's actions but most often because of your own inaction and reluctance to process uncomfortable feelings. Only by stepping outside of your comfort zone can you truly achieve a sense of personal development and begin to unpack the emotional baggage that has been dragging you down for so long.
Letís say, for example, that you were cheated on by several different lovers in the past and because of that, you have accumulated a great deal of bitterness and distrust. Those feelings will probably lead to a slew of issues in future relationships wherein you might be inclined to hold a new love accountable for the mistakes of an old one. Negative emotions such as these, though understandable to a degree, will put a considerable strain on your shoulders as you lug them from one relationship to another. It may be tempting to hang onto these negative energies under the guise that they will protect you from having to experience the sting of infidelity again but this is simply a false sense of security by which you should not be fooled. In a situation such as this, it would be best to take a long, hard look at those relationships in which you have been betrayed and try to identify patterns that you have a tendency to fall into or red flags that you may have overlooked and then use your newfound understanding to avoid repeating those same mistakes.
If you are struggling under the weight of your own emotional baggage, take some time out to get a handle on it. Recognize it for what it is and then dissect it to see if you can identify what purpose itís serving in your life or how it could possibly be resolved. Make sure to be up front with potential partners about your baggage and let him/her know what you are doing to lighten the load.
If it is your partnerís emotional baggage that is weighing you down, take some time to think about whether or not this person is worth the extra patience and understanding that it will take to help him/her sort things out. If so, talk it over with your partner in a mature and open way. Try to avoid being too needy or demanding, especially early on in the relationship and just take it one step at a time.
For the most part, emotional baggage is really nothing more than life lessons waiting to be learned. Every hurt, betrayal and disappointment is just another opportunity for growth but most of us would rather sulk or point fingers than take advantage of these opportunities as they present themselves. If we could somehow manage to stop the pity party long enough to see the hidden value within painful experiences, our emotional suitcases would be a whole lot less of a burden.