I attended a meeting a few months ago that mentioned emotional baggage. She spoke about how many people do not realize they carry all this baggage that is hindering their own happiness. While emotional baggage is obvious when it comes to current issues, you forget about the ones that you have forgiven.
This struck me hard because my high school/college best friend and I parted ways last fall.
While I think it was a case of us growing apart and not necessarily anyone’s fault, we left on bad terms. We stayed connected on Facebook because I had hopes for a reconciliation in the future. After so many months of her being unresponsive, I grew more and more resentful – and I did not realize it. Until one day, I looked at her page and noticed that I had inexplicable anxiety. I finally connected it with residual feelings from our past and current situation. I was mourning our old connection; I was angry at how easy it was to drop; and at the same time, I felt relief for the end. While I truly wish her the best, I still felt a sting with how things ended. Finally, I up and decided to delete her off my feed.
While it may seem like a small gesture, I felt tremendous release the very next day. I felt like I closed that chapter out of my life and laid it down to rest.
Identify baggage. Recognize anxiety the moment it hits. At first, it might just be a ‘funny feeling’. After multiple exposure to the culprit – whether it be live, online, or spoken – you will start noticing a pattern.
Accept the baggage. For the longest, I wanted to be that strong one, the one that doesn’t get hung up on stuff like this. As a result, I couldn’t identify my baggage – out of denial. Because of this, accepting my emotional baggage was the toughest step for me. I had to let go of my own ego and admit that I am still bothered by it.
Wallow in the baggage. This sounds counterintuitive, but I think it’s very important to feel this connection before you close the chapter. The takeaway from this step is to be confident in your decision. After I realized the connection, I had even more anxiety. Did I make the right decision? Is there room for reconciliation? Take a few days (or weeks) to finalize your decision. Never decide while you are feeling anything outside of content. Make sure you are perfectly happy with your life so you can complete this step objectively.
Close the chapter. Delete the individual off social media. Delete them from your phone. Delete past texts and whatever form of break up you used. While it may seem small, it is a very necessary step in getting rid of hidden baggage. Like any other break up, it is hard to see someone that you’ve shared a history with move on. Even if it was amicable, you don’t want to be brought to that place of frustration and sadness.
You’d be surprised how much lighter your mind and heart become when you follow these steps.