Change your Mindset, Change your life!

Emotional Baggage – What are You Carrying Around?

In Coaching, Inspiration, motivation, Personal Development, perspective, women's issues on December 21, 2011 at 11:33 pm

We all come with baggage; credit scores, financial responsibilities, bad decisions, and memories and experiences we hold on to.  But what creates emotional baggage? 

You and I have had experiences in our past, some of them not so good, some may even have been traumatic.  It is the decision to carry that experience into our future, and how we allow it to impact our actions, behaviors and future that determines whether it becomes baggage, or not.

Did you notice that I said “It is the DECISION…” and “… how we ALLOW IT to impact….”?  Yes, you have a choice.  So many times we hold on to feelings, emotions, memories and experiences that do not serve us, yet years, even decades later we still pull it out and run it up a flag pole, as if it were our guiding light. 

You do have a choice, but sometimes discovering how to let go can be difficult.  Depending on how long you have carried this baggage, how emotionally scarring it was, your continued exposure to the other’s involved or other triggers, you may have to work on letting this go for a while.  Here are some tips on how you can look your baggage in the eye and show it to the door.

1.  Think about a lesser experience in your past when someone hurt your feelings.  It hurt.  It made you mad, or sad, or angry.  You thought about that hurt for several days.  You stayed mad for a while.  But today, you are not carrying that hurt or anger with you any more.  Why?  What made you forget or let it go?  When this experience is brought to mind, do you get emotional or relive it? 

2.  Now, revisit the experience that surrounds your baggage, and think about it in its entirety.  Sometimes talking it out with someone you trust, a counselor or a coach can help.  Journaling can be helpful as well.  Find a method that works for you.  This should be a clinical examination of the experience, not an opportunity to get lost and consumed by the emotion.  Some emotion, perhaps anger or tears may be expected as you review this situation.

2.  Now, look at your experience in current terms.  By carrying this baggage around with you today, what impact on your life does it present?  What are you unable to do?  What does it make you do?  What happens that creates problems in your life, because of it?  Using your method of “revisiting” tell your friend/coach/counselor or Journal in detail how this impacts your life, and potentially the lives of others.

3.  Now imagine how it would be different if you no longer had the baggage.  Imagine your experiences in GREAT detail, really think about what you could now do that you couldn’t before, how would your life be different?  How would your future be different?  Really feel how it would be different.  Feelings are very powerful and can actually help make a transition.

4.  Now, look at how this baggage protects you.  What are you protected from, how does this baggage keep you safe?  No matter how silly it sounds, think about how it comforts you to hold on to it.  How is this feeling different from the feeling in the previous step?  Which one feels better (not more comfortable)?

5.  Now that you have the facts, and all the windows are opened and the darkness and secrets are cleared away, do you feel like you CAN let it go?  Think about the experience you recalled in step 1.  Do you think you can treat this experience in the same way? 

Good for you!  You may not be able to do all this in a day, it might actually take a while.  That is usually why coaching packages range from 6 – 24 weeks, giving you time to work through this or other processes with focus and accountability. 

This is not a fool-proof or perfect method, however, it might get you started or on the right track.  If you are looking for more help, please feel free to email me, or check out my website at

  1. I like your post. I am working on something similar on my blog. Moving forward is about making the choice and deciding how you’re going to view some event from your past. I think that while this is simple it isn’t always easy.

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