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I was taking out the trash today and noticed this luggage tag hanging on a nearby bush. It looks like someone decided to leave their baggage behind. Afterall, it is a brand-new year and a great time for making new decisions. Bold determinations bring brand-new opportunities!

My brief encounter with the luggage tag presented me with some choices of my own. At first, I wanted to take the tag and keep it as a fun souvenir for myself. I then realized that perhaps it was better left hanging in the balance of branches, so others could benefit from the message that hung before them! What if the person who left it there wanted to return and pick it back up again? Isn’t that what most of us do: retrieve emotional baggage we should have left behind?

Instead, I grabbed my phone to take a pic! I could still share the humor, not become the thief who stole someone’s prized emotional baggage tag and besides, I felt a blog coming on….

I want to encourage you to think about these questions:

What does emotional baggage mean to you?

I think of heaviness. I imagine carrying a weight around my neck and shoulders that slows me down and inhibits me from being my loveable self.

What does emotional baggage do for us?

At times I think it makes us feel important, as if we have a contest going with those who will listen and engage. Whoever had the worst childhood, boss, or parent wins! Personally, I feel that there should be a cut off age of 18 years old when we can no longer blame others for our misfortune, sour attitudes, or bad luck streak! For some reason humans like to compare the negatives: Oh yeah? You think you had a bad time, wait til you hear how bad I had it! And the stories commence.

What does emotional baggage steal from us?

When we live in the past, we lose the ability to be authentic, present, and powerful. If your greatest days are behind you, we need to help you get some new days!

Where does emotional baggage come from?

When folks feel wounded and unappreciated, those emotions can fester and settle in the soul with no exit plan! It gets complicated when we neglect to resolve the issues at hand and give it time to evolve into a stronghold.

How have you freed yourself from emotional baggage in life?

The best plan of attack is to avoid repressing feelings the moment they appear. We can quietly acknowledge emotions and choose to observe them without allowing them to take us hostage. Emotions are simply attached to thoughts we have, allow, or entertain! What we think about grows and expands sometimes more than we wish it ever did!

Negativity can take us down a path we did not see, to a destination we did not know existed, for a time much longer than we thought possible!

When negative emotions like fear, offense or pain hit, it is ok to acknowledge their appearance and then decide to detach from their tentacles of slavery. Baggage tends to be heavy and if we can unpack and wash the items with an objective perspective, we would be doing ourselves a favor!

When we resist pain or offense we suffer. Balance can be achieved by allowing it to be there without committing ourselves to be the one to carry it to our next destination in life!

How many times did we think we must hold on to old wounds, broken hearts, misunderstandings, and failed promises? Somehow, we may have felt that it was a form of retaliation and by holding on to toxic emotions we were making sure the person who “caused our pain” was now going to see how it feels! But it doesn’t work that way. When we clutch on to the handles of hurt, we are the ones that suffer.

 We do ourselves and others a great dis-service when we forget that luggage is meant to travel light and baggage is best left behind…