Have you heard the saying: “Travel light, travel far”? The phrase paints quite a picture, don’t you think? One zooms along with a smile on one’s face, the lightness of luggage literally making it quicker for you to move. The opposite, of course, is the physical energy-sapping effort it takes to shift along a heavyweight of baggage – most of which you know you won’t need or use. OK. You can probably guess where I’m going with this … Now think about emotional baggage. What’s your speed of movement with that in tow? Does it slow you down? Or can you hop along, with lightness of step? I’m guessing that, for most of us these days, emotional baggage is a burden we would like to lessen. So what exactly is it and how can we lighten our load – especially at this time of year when so many of us can feel weighed down by organising the perfect festive break?
- Emotional baggage might be perceived as twofold: the weight of responsibilities in life that you carry around with you (for example, organising the perfect Christmas), PLUS the interference of past memories enforcing, perhaps, that your life is hard, you’re exhausted, things never get any better, you never have time for things, there’s just too much … of everything!
- We can perhaps lighten the weight of responsibilities by writing a list of what we think they are, then categorising them according to whether they are genuine non-negotiable responsibilities, or whether they are things we do because of an expectation, out of loyalty, or even things we don’t know WHY we do! Once you have that list, is there anything you can strike off? Is there anything you can delegate? Is there anything you can negotiate to make your load lighter?
- Learn to recognise when an old thought pattern or memory creeps in to sabotage you. Notice if a thought pattern begins with something like: “The last time I didn’t do this, that happened, and then that person got cross, and there was a terrible argument …” Learn to jettison those thought patterns (not easy, I know), and deal just with the current issue.
We can’t please all of the people all of the time – especially as we gather together in an atmosphere of expectation. And trying just ensures that your emotional suitcase gets heavier and heavier. You CAN travel light. It might take a few attempts to unpack, but do try, bit by bit, to leave behind what you truly don’t need. Good luck.
text © wellbeingpractitioner 2017