I kicked off the new year by watching Netflix’s Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. It got me thinking about our attitudes to processing and letting go of emotional baggage that interferes with our ability to live our life happily and authentically. In this week’s episode of  The Baggage Reclaim Sessions, I explore our reluctance to so much as tidy our emotional baggage. I also share a quick exercise that highlights where we can make space for more of the things we want to be, do and have.

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It’s easy to cling to emotional baggage because we think it’s out of sight. But we start to see the effects of our stories, judgments and criticisms on our ability to live happily and authentically. It takes a toll on our emotional, mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing when we don’t do some tidying up.

Some nuggets from the episode:

  • The emotional baggage is the stories, the beliefs, the judgements, the criticisms, the habits that we’ve held onto as a result of past experiences. These are the feelings that we’re carrying around with us. It’s the unresolved experiences from our past where we’ve made judgements about ourselves, others, life and how it works.
  • We derive a lot of identity from our baggage. Our baggage, in part, represents the journey we’ve travelled through our life. It’s part of our backstory. Sometimes we make the mistake of believing that dealing with our emotional baggage is like doing away with our past. We fear that we’re being disloyal. Addressing some of the ideas, beliefs, attitudes, habits, thinking and behaviour that we’ve taken away from past experiences allows us to grow as a person.
  • Our relationship with money is very much experienced by what we’re carrying around about our past experiences with money.

“Who will I be if I’m not carrying around this [emotional baggage] any more?” The answer: you.

  • Our emotional baggage, particularly anything that we feel intensely about (even if we’re unaware of it), has an emotional charge. That charge shows up when experiences press on our baggage.
  • Instead of creating healthy boundaries, we sometimes opt to stay angry and build a wall. It’s our defence mechanism against getting hurt in the future.
  • Clear up emotional baggage by creating healthy boundaries.
  • Relationships help us to heal, grow and learn. Our experiences bring up pain, fear and guilt from the past so that we can move forward by offloading, decluttering and organising our emotional baggage.
  • The way in which we respond to things in the present has a lot to do with unresolved experiences from the past.

I’m really grateful to tinnitus because it’s forced me to go way deeper with myself, to confront pain from my past.

  • When I people-please or engage in perfectionism, I’m basically saying “I am anxious”. It’s my baggage that triggers these habits in the first place.
  • We can actively choose what we do and don’t want to hold on to.
  • Actively hoarding emotional baggage serves the purpose of allowing us to avoid our purpose and potential.
  • Sometimes, we cling to emotional baggage because if we let go, we can’t suffer any more, and if we can’t suffer, then we can’t hold it over whoever caused us to be in pain.
  • When our baggage comes up, we have an opportunity to pull out whatever is coming up, reevaluate, fold it up and put it back more neatly. And do you know what? That same thing might come up again, and we will have another opportunity to throw another bit of perspective on it, and boom, it gets a bit smaller in there.
  • It’s not as if we can compartmentalise our emotional baggage and stuff it in the equivalent of our attic or basement. It occupies the same space as the good stuff in our life.
  • How we use our time, energy and efforts matters.
    When we tidy up an aspect of our emotional baggage, we don’t lose the experience; we change the way that we feel about it. We change the story we’re telling ourselves, the judgement, the criticism, the habits around that.

Links mentioned

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