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The emotional baggage we hold on to


I'm very quick at throwing away (un)needed items. Sometimes too fast. When I say stuff, I mean my stuff and not just my stuff - my kids' stuff, my husband's stuff, my sister's stuff. I'm also quick at "cleaning the table" before people have even eaten. If you're lucky enough to leave toys on the floor for too long (a relative term!), the chances of them ending up in the trash increase very quickly. I often hear "You are so damn fast!" from my husband, who remembers that he left some receipts on the table two seconds ago and when he turns around, they're gone. Remember how Terminator used to scan the objects he sees in front of him? Well, that's how I scan, too. Very quickly I make the (sometimes) (in)correct decision as to what is rubbish.

I'm a fan of minimalism - throwing things away, tearing things apart, crushing things. I find it easy when I throw away material things. At the end of the year, I like to give myself that kind of therapy. But I'm realizing that it's easier for me to fill a bucket with unnecessary (in my opinion) items than to remove the emotional baggage that weighs me down, too. What do I mean? This article is about just that!

We focus on what we see


Am I aware of what I want to throw out of my life? What is pulling me down? Do I want to make mental space for the important aspects of life? Do we become the keepers of emotions, of memories, of buried negative associations that we pull out as an excuse when it gets to us? What makes clearing our psyche and emotional world difficult is identifying the "unnecessary". I can clean the house, remove everything I don't like along the way (and more) and still not feel ok, feel burdened, tense. Until we come face to face with our emotional baggage, we might not feel real change.

Until we come face to face with our emotional baggage, we might not feel real change.

3 types of emotional baggage to process Imagine a purification plant for human emotions. I would guess that the smell around this waste would not be pleasant. And since we're eco-friendly, we'll dispose of it separately.


Guilt/Pity


A frequent source of emotional overwhelm is precisely guilt and its cousin, regret. Thoughts of things we've done wrong or events that should have come to fruition stand in the shadow of our future decisions and weigh at their core. These emotions pull us down or back. We would have a hard time moving forward in the direction we really want. Each of us carries guilt and regrets. What could we forgive ourselves for? Even if we received forgiveness from the person we hurt, have we forgiven ourselves?


Toxic people/relationships


We have all experienced toxic relationships. The boyfriend who makes you feel bad, the friend who doesn't care about your experiences but uses you as a bucket for... "emotional waste", the co-worker who is always grumpy and always unhappy. It's not easy, but we can try to close the door on people with whom we not only don't enjoy communicating, but it even harms us. If we can't close the door, then at least distance ourselves. And why not try to set boundaries? One conversation might not get the job done, but it's a start.


Fear/worry


I want to embark on another professional adventure (for example), but I'm worried if I'll be able to make it? What if not? What if my family doesn't support me? There are always a few "ifs". Big decisions are surrounded with a lot of fears, but if worry paralyzes us in our daily lives, we're likely to feel stuck. Talk out your fears with your loved ones. You may be surprised by their perspective, their support, their mature judgment. You don't have to be alone. Very often our inner voices are actually coded messages from our parents or important figures in our lives - not always supportive.


We hold emotions inside long after the events that provoked them have passed. The feeling of overwhelm comes precisely from the lack of courage to confront them, make sense of them, chew them up and spit them out. The analogy of a closed wardrobe, out of which a whole pile of clothes spills after opening, is not my favorite, but it is real. And often, what we don't see is actually that pile that is begging to come out.

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