Emotions are like waves: you cannot stop them from coming, but you can decide which ones to surf! – Jonatan Martensson
What is your emotional baggage?
For most of my life, I have been dragging suitcases of emotional baggage with me. One suitcase had all my good memories and the other one was stuffed with hurt, pain, rejection, anger, and resentments. I tried to get rid of this ‘bad’ suitcase but in reality, I was busy thinking, feeling and analyzing all of its content. By chewing on past memories in my head, I would feel miserable, sad or depressed. I was not able to appreciate what was really in front of me.
Emotional baggage is all that we carry with us from the past and all that pollutes the preciousness of the moment:
- the sweet memories we miss and want back (the lover, the holidays, the best sex)
- the bad experiences we want to forget but keep thinking about (hurt, jealousy, betrayal)
- the expectations we bring of what should and shouldn’t be
The obvious solution is to simply stop carrying this baggage. To simply put it down or to learn to never pick it up it in the first place. This is mastery and ultimate self-love.
These 5 steps I share with you below have supported me tremendously with dropping my emotional baggage:
Write It All Down.
This way you acknowledge what happened. You write down everything that passes through your mind with no judging, analysing or editing. This takes away the emotional weight that you are carrying. As it is on the paper, you don’t need to keep thinking about it. You can do this for the next 21 days, or longer. Every morning when you wake up.
Forgive What Happened.
To not forgive is to keep carrying a grudge. It is like drinking poison, hoping the other will die. As you are the only one who is busy with what is going on in your mind, it is totally for your own benefit to forgive and let go.
- Can you see that forgiving is not a gift that the other deserves but a freedom that you give to yourself?
- Can you see that forgiveness doesn’t excuse the wrong-doing, it simply hinders that experience from destroying your peace?
Learn To Truly Love Yourself.
If you would totally love yourself, would you carry any emotional baggage? I don’t think so. Think about it this way: you wish your loved ones to:
- be happy and fulfilled.
- be alive and full of energy
- create beautiful relationships
When they are hurting themselves, do you not just want to tell them to ‘stop it’ and be loving to themselves?
Once you truly act as your own best friend, you will no longer carry around baggage (or you will know to put it down once you notice you carry something again).
Be Here and Now.
Use your senses to support you to be in the present moment:
- Look around to all what you see.
- Listen attentively to sounds while you walk outside.
- Eat a cookie as slow as you can savouring the taste and texture with each bite.
You know that past is the past. Yesterday is gone. You are always in the here and now.
Stop Pedaling Your Emotions.
We pedal our emotions similar to how we pedal a bicycle. I’ll explain to you how:
Let’s say you want to have your favorite sweet. In order to buy it, you are willing to jump on your bike. So, you get hold of the handlebars, swing your leg over the frame and sit on the seat. Then you balance, push and pedal. It takes your time, effort, and focus to arrive at your destination. Yippee, you have your sweet!
Well, you do something very similar with your emotions. When something happens, you either feel good or bad. Sounds familiar? But after that initial feeling moment, you decide to either:
The feeling passes through. You are now in the next moment. There is zero emotional baggage.
Jump on the bike:
You hold onto the handlebars clutching a thought or feeling about what happened. You pedal this thought by giving it your attention. You think of: “the why, how could he do this, I wish I hadn’t said that, I don’t feel good enough, it is all her fault, I do everything wrong and so on.”
By pedaling these thoughts, your emotional baggage grows. You feel worse and worse and arrive at the destination of “I feel so miserable.”
To drop your emotional baggage is to cultivate your ability to stop pedaling the emotional bicycle.
With practise and guidance, you can learn to be the master of your mind and emotions and make healthy mental choices!