Time to Unpack – Letting go of emotional baggage
Emotional baggage is something we all carry around. Sometimes the baggage is so heavy and bulky that it takes up more room in our life than it should. We get used to that heavy feeling. It becomes part of us. But when you realise you are governed by your past and your emotional baggage is sabotaging your relationships and your life, stopping you from moving on, you need to take steps to break free and dump that heavy burden once and for all. Here’s how:
Feel the emotion
In order to let go, you will first need to allow the feeling to run its course. It’s okay to feel upset, hurt, betrayed – whatever the emotion – as long as you allow yourself to truly feel it. The longer you deny the truth, the longer you will drag this around with you. Give yourself permission and acknowledge what has happened to you. This is often the hardest step and most upsetting, but it needs to happen so you can start to heal.
When trust has been betrayed and feelings hurt, it’s hard to forgive and forget. By holding onto these memories and emotions however, you are also hindering yourself from moving on. The only person you are hurting by not letting go of the past is you. Someone once said, “Holding onto a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
To start to forgive, try this exercise: Call the person who hurt you into your mind’s eye, tell them how you feel, why and how they hurt you. Then tell them you are now okay, you have moved on and that you forgive them. Be sincere and then let them go. Now stand in front of a mirror and then forgive yourself. Yes, that’s right. You are very likely feeling feelings of guilt, shame, stupidity for allowing this to happen, for trusting the other person. Allow yourself to be okay with that. You didn’t do anything wrong. Forgive yourself and be kind to you, then let go.
Give yourself some time for reflection. Pretend you are a good friend who observes the painful situation to gain an understanding from an unbiased perspective. In doing this you will gain clarity of any destructive patterns and behaviours you may hold on to, which may have contributed to this scenario. By gaining awareness of negative cycles you regain control, freeing you from reliving them again in the future.
Focus on the good
Focus on what you would like your life to be. It takes practice but knowing that you can now move forward, safe in the knowledge you have overcome such a painful experience, will give you the strength to live a more confident and happier life. Now go and get it!
Have you ever been weighed down by emotional baggage? How did you manage to get over it? Please share your experiences, we’d love to hear them.