Nowadays, we have gotten used to packing light to avoid the high-priced check-in luggage when traveling. However, in personal lives, we tend to bring us loads of emotional luggage anywhere we go, without realizing what fees we are paying for this. What price do we pay for carrying the weight of the “emotional check-in” luggage? What if there is a way to make it into a carry-on?
We can try a small thought experiment together. Imagine trying to pack a suitcase that should hold all your necessities for a journey called “the rest of your life.” What treasured memories would you take with you? What pain would you like to leave behind, which people and responsibilities would not make the cut? What would your life be like if you could leave behind all that is holding you back and weighing you down? Think of the lightness of life with only a carry-on of memories, people’s needs, and expectations from you.
When you look back to your life what memories make you sad, disappointed or angry? Amongst those which do you identify as responsible for the things, you dislike about your life today? How would you and your life be like today if those events played out differently? Good news is that even though we can’t alter the past we can change how we perceive it and therefore how it defines us.
Who would you be today if you didn’t experience the challenges in the past? What did you discover about your strengths and capabilities by enduring them? What friendships grew on the road to overcoming them? Even though it is problematic to see at times, even the most difficult of memories can have something useful for your life. Most would rather if they could choose, avoid the pain they experienced. Don’t be fooled, this is possible!
Even though you can’t alter the past, you can transform your perception of it. You survived and it made you stronger! Sometimes seeing the positive that came from the frustration helps leave the negative emotions about it behind. Think of those events through this metaphor – a calm sea never made a skillful sailor. We don’t have to be prisoners of our past, but rather grow through what we go through.
Fears and negative anticipations
Robin Sharma said: “The fears we don’t face become our limits.” Once you can leave behind some of the painful memories from the past (read reframe them) you might be able to think more positively about the future too. Who we are and what we do in the present, is partly rooted in the past. However, we determine what to do today based on what we anticipate will happen tomorrow. We choose our actions today depending on where we believe they will take us. Those anticipations become more positive once you can reframe some of the “negative” experiences from the past. When you see that in everything bad there is a bit of good, you might start risking more. Allow your suitcase to contain fewer fears and more hopes.
People and their needs
Often we don’t notice when we become buried under peoples’ expectations and needs. Once they realize just how good of a resource you can be, they will rely on you consistently. These expectations accumulate over time and even though you feel like a good person by providing for others, you also feel drained.
Is there any of their needs that you can leave behind? What don’t you like providing they can find another person for? Before you start thinking this will make you a bad person, remember that by doing this you are in a way helping them. They will learn to widen the social network and become more independent. What people and which of their needs do you want to pack into the carry-on? This will allow you to still feel helpful and good about yourself without feeling drained. Remember, if you lose yourself – you lose it all.
Responsibilities and control
Being in control can give us predictability and help us feel safe. The more safety we need, the more control we are going to try to impose on different things in life. Needless to say, when you try to control everything, you enjoy nothing. Which things are, in fact, controllable? Which of those do you continue trying to rule over? What are the important and controllable things that you want to take with you to the rest of your life?
There is so much on your to-do list, day after day. Do all of them need to be done by you specifically? What can be delegated? Coaching for businesswoman can help you pack only the necessities in your carry-on. What are the essential duties you want to remain committed to? Direct coaching for women in business can help you learn how to delegate and focus on tasks that require you exclusively. Even though you can do anything, doesn’t mean you should do everything.
Make room for the things you want
The fact is you can’t pour into a full glass. When you translate that metaphor onto everyday life, you realize that for something unfamiliar to come in, you need to make room for it. Leaving behind the unnecessary, distressing and burdensome things from life provides the opportunity to add new, desirable ones. If you don’t choose to drag 5 check-in suitcases through airports when traveling, why would you choose to drag your emotional luggage through life?
Carrying only an “emotional backpack” allows you to travel to places where there are no elevators or smooth sidewalks. Imagine what you could experience if you didn’t have to carry so many worries, fears, and responsibilities with you. Pack light to travel far and enjoy the journey!
1 July 2019 Article Submitted byMilica Markovic