Emotional baggage weighs you down, making life more stressful and less joyful. You remember the past for reference; it helps you judge where to go next and how to do things better. However, painful histories, past failures and sad memories that you hold on to, come back to haunt you, making you ill. When you learn to let go, you feel lighter physically, emotionally and mentally.
Identify your thought patterns
Going over challenges is useful, to a point; but if done a lot, somewhere along the journey, you can get stuck, never discovering the answers, learning the lessons or gaining insights. Such contemplation turns memories into emotional angst. Sometimes, you might get attached to the pain you lug around; you're so used to it that the idea of dropping it doesn't occur to you. It is part of your identity. There's also a sense of comfort, however strange, in hanging on to difficulties you know inside and out. They become part of you and your story. Nonetheless, they stop you from moving on and being happy.
To identify a pattern of thought, examine those worries that often pop into your head. You repeat them regularly, perhaps several times a week or on and off each day. Such thoughts serve as negative affirmations; you constantly affirm the sad tales you tell yourself by layering them in your psyche. You carry all that load with you all the time. Isn’t that tiring?
Start letting go
Once you've identified the baggage, you need to slowly let it go. Just recognizing that painful memories you carry are in the past and no longer serve you in the present, is a good start. Also, understanding why you've dragged them with you into the present might be helpful. Did you hang on to them hoping to figure out why events happened or because you felt justified in carrying pain to show what you endured?
Realize that you can't change the past, but you can learn from it and release discomfort. The past negative experiences are to be used and left behind, not carried forever. Consider the lessons that the difficulties you've faced delivered. Maybe, you're stronger, wiser, or more discerning now. You want to keep the teachable aspects of your experiences, your insights and wisdom; apart from these, there's nothing worthwhile in your emotional baggage.
Go over the lessons painful memories have taught you. Make them larger in your mind than events that hurt you. Focus your thoughts on the wisdom you've picked up and how it aids you now and in the future. As you do so, the pain will take second place and begin to weaken and eventually fade. You might picture any remaining discomfort whooshing away as though a strong wind blasts through your mind.
Later, if unwanted thoughts arise, repeat the exercise, focusing on wisdom and seeing pain weaken and leave. Nonetheless, your baggage will take a while to put down. You may need the help of a professional at times. But, repeatedly thinking about the insights and wisdom you gained; every time old memories resurface, will transform those negative memories into constructive ones until they dominate your mind.
Unwanted memories can be transformed and eventually released. Much insight can be squeezed from them. Identify them, and recognize why you've lugged them around and that they aren't useful anymore. Consider the wisdom and strength stressful events that have plagued you provide, and make that your point of focus. Picture discomfort leaving your mind, and replace old unwanted thoughts with positivity, confidence and understanding. One day, you'll notice you feel lighter, happier and more courageous, and your emotional baggage will have gone. Then, you will once again be free.
“When you remove all the past emotional baggage that you’ve buried yourself under, you will find your true self again.” -Rafael Tomik
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