What personal baggage are you still carrying around? For example, outdated beliefs you picked up from friends because you wanted to belong. Or generational patterns of behavior taught to you by your family. How about the lies your egoic mind told you to keep you safe from what it thought was an unknown risk?
This month the focus was on having a clean slate, and to do that, you need to look at the personal baggage you’ve been carrying around, which is causing you undue stress. For example, unresolved issues from your past, disappointment, missteps, or trauma are a heavy load to carry into your future when you don’t have to. You don’t want this personal baggage to cause you to react from a place of fear. Therefore, it would be best if you dealt with the shadows of the past so they don’t affect your present.
The more difficult emotional baggage to deal with is the rumination of the egoic mind. The brooding or repeating loops of negative thoughts the ego uses are destructive. However, there are ways you cope with this behavior and clear your mind, outlined in last week’s article, which you can read here.
So why do you continue to carry things that aren’t useful and actually harmful to you?
If God meant for us to carry baggage around, he would have made our skin have little pouches like kangaroos. Or maybe he would have just made it so that every one of us was born with huge-ass shoulders to carry the load. Clearly, we weren’t made to carry the weight of the world. It kind of makes you wonder why we do it anyway, huh? ~ Rachel Van Dyken
Not Your Baggage To Carry
Most of the stuff you’ve picked up or was placed upon you by others wasn’t necessary for you to pick up. Keep in mind, as a kid, you were impressionable. You were learning from those around you. Some of these people in your life were excellent teachers, and others weren’t.
But as a child, you cannot discern which lessons you should follow for yourself. Yes, you inherently know right from wrong. Yes, you are connected to Spirit and are willing to follow your heart. But authority and fear for a child are powerful motivators to do as the adult desires, so you aren’t punished or corrected harshly.
So, you are still carrying around some baggage belonging to the adults in your childhood, not you. They have passed some of these behaviors down as traditions, customs, and habits within your family. And as a child, it wasn’t something you questioned. Maybe now you should. Think about why you’re still doing things your parents or grandparents did? Are they beneficial to you? Or are they habits you do out of fear of not being accepted by your family? Are there some aspects you like and others you could change, so you have less stress and more joy in your life?
You are not your parents. You are a completely separate individual with different needs, wants, and desires. Just because your family believed, did, or taught you something, doesn’t mean you are to carry it with you.
Only, in the end, you will realize. Among all the baggage you carried all your life, you didn't own most of them. And the remaining weren't as important as you always thought or expected them to be. ~ Akshay Vasu
Lighten Up On Yourself
Now let’s look at how you view the missteps you’ve taken on your journey through life. First, are you allowing the egoic mind to keep negatively talking to you? If so, you need to stop allowing this to occur. Your self-talk needs to be kind. If you wouldn't say it to a loved one, then you shouldn’t say it to yourself.
How you speak to yourself matters. The inner voice in your head that chatters to you can say things to help you believe in yourself, or it can tear you down. You do it every day. Many of you don’t even realize it's running commentary, but it significantly impacts your life.
Do you recognize the negative self-talk as the egoic voice in your head admonishing you? Telling you what “should haves” and “could haves” you missed out on, making you feel miserable about your life. The ego’s voice keeps you from trying, growing, and living your dreams by holding you in a fearful state.
When you consciously talk positively to yourself, you’re patting yourself on the back. It’s the cheery, soulful voice looking at the bright side of things. The heart’s encouraging voice pushes you to take a bit of a risk to move towards your dreams.
You can’t avoid self-talk, but we can alter what you accept as accurate. Your thoughts are neither good nor bad. They are. You need to accept them as they come, but you don’t have to believe everything you think is true.
The first step towards true enlightenment is to lighten up on yourself. ~ Bashar
Eliminate Baggage Through Forgiveness
One of the fastest ways to lighten the baggage I carried was to forgive not only me for the missteps I’ve taken but also others. Being compassionate to myself means I don’t allow the egoic mind to remind me of past missteps. I instead remind myself I’ve already overcome that obstacle.
For example, I’ve forgiven my mother for passing on to me her destructive behaviors, like not sharing my fears with others. Or the co-dependant behaviors I picked up because of her alcoholism. Likewise, I’ve forgiven family members who told me not to share the truth because it would hurt someone else, which caused me to pick up shame that wasn’t mine to carry.
Have you seen the quote from author Anne Lamott,
“Not forgiving someone is like drinking rat poison and expecting the rats to die?”
When you hold on to the baggage and don’t forgive others, you are the one reliving the past. Your ego is enacting scenarios of others harming you. But is your offender suffering because of your anger and judgment? Are they dying from the rat poison you drank for them? No, they aren’t. They’re living their lives despite your pain and suffering.
Whether or not you forgive, they are responsible for their actions and part in your pain, even if they don’t accept responsibility. So, is the forgiveness you give for them or yourself?
Forgiveness means that you do not carry the baggage of an experience. ~ Gary Zukav
Let Go Of The Past
It's incredible how much power past events have, both happy and devastating. I know I held onto my past trauma for almost a decade before considering letting it go. But, when you hold on to the memories and allow them to keep replaying in your minds as if they just happened yesterday, it deprives you of any happiness in the present.
Our brains handle information received differently based on if it's positive or negative. For example, if the experience was upsetting, it requires more processing than if the event was pleasurable. This additional processing time means you can remember distressing events over fond moments, especially when there is a strong emotional connection.
The other aspect of the ego is to remember the pain you've gone through to avoid repeating it in the future. So it must remember for it to do its job of protecting you. If it can’t recall past events, it stays fearful of the unknown.
Despite not being able to alter how your brains work, you can learn to let go of the negative memories that plague your egoic mind. By releasing the emotional attachments, you have to previous events.
Detachment helps us reframe missteps and helps focus us on the positive characteristics in our lives. It brings our focus to the present moment. Non-attachment allows us to accept what is without angst and eliminates the struggle with our egoic mind about the circumstances.
The past has no power to stop you from being present now. Only your grievance about the past can do that. What is a grievance? The baggage of old thought and emotion. ~ Laozi
The Baggage of Mental Load
When trying to remember things you have to do or add tasks to your roles and responsibilities, it causes emotional labor called mental load. For example, trying to keep up with the parts you play as spouse, parent, employee, social media, your to-do list, and cell phone notifications is taxing. As a result, your focus is interrupted, and you waste energy on things causing you stress.
Check-in with yourself each morning to help free your day-to-day life's mental and emotional loads from becoming baggage. Meditation, prayer, gratitude, or journaling are great ways to set your intention for the day. When you ground yourself each day, you help clear away the baggage from the previous day.
Get clarity on what you plan to focus on today. What do you need to move forward? What needs immediate attention? Put together a to-do list and prioritize the items. Then, see what can be done on another day and add them to your calendar for a particular date. Once you’ve pared down the list, take on the first item and stay focused on it for only 40 minutes before taking a 5-minute break. This is the time your brain can remain attentive without distractions.
Then, remember to unpack any mental clutter you may have picked up during the afternoon in the evening. Remember, you aren’t the roles you play or the tasks you complete. This process allows you to restore balance and reset your mind, enabling you to rest at night.
When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. ~ Lao Tzu
Moving Forward With Less Baggage
Everyone has baggage, but it’s a choice to carry it around. How can you be clear about who you are when carrying around the labels and roles others have given you? Buried under the baggage you’re hauling around is your authenticity.
Do you know the dreams and goals you have for yourself? How can you embrace them when you are still clinging to the baggage from your past? When you lighten your load, you become less stressed and allow joy and serenity into your life.
So open your hands and release the pain and suffering of the baggage you’ve been transporting. Release the what-ifs, the could’ve been, and others’ opinions, the dead-weight holding you back. When you accept what is, you can move faster and embrace what is awaiting you.
The time has come to lay that baggage down and leave behind all the struggling and striving. You can be set free as you journey forward into a balanced, healthy, and rewarding future. ~ Sue Augustine
As you become more conscious of your baggage, you can learn to lighten your load by removing some things, repacking others, and reframing the stories you tell yourself.
Do you need support to help you lighten the load you carry? Do you want a strategy to help you overcome the ego's limiting beliefs and live a successful life? If so, please reach out to me at TerriKozlowski.com, and we can put together an action plan for you to create the life you desire.