We are all on a life’s journey. Usually, when you think of travelling, you think of things you must take with you that is needed for your destination. Sometimes, it’s hard to determine what to take or leave so you pack things that are not necessary.
Packing light makes for hassle-free travel. It goes without saying, physically carrying a load would get us to our destinations faster if the load is lighter. Lugging a heavy load along the way can be crippling and can unarguably slow you down.
You’d obviously enjoy the journey better if your load is lighter. Instead of tiring yourself out with the weight of it, you’d feel more compelled to stop and sightsee, while taking your time instead of rushing for relief. Even airlines charge for heavier luggage because it sucks up the fuel source. Recently at the airport, I was shocked to have to pay an extra $100 to check my luggage. However, I admittedly tried to pack everything in that bag and will probably not need most of those items I crammed in there. It was so stuffed I literally had to sit on the suitcase to zip it and pray that the zipper didn’t break.
Metaphorically speaking, we all have emotional baggage, and I’d venture to say some more than others. There are some of us who may not desire to carry the heavy load but have grown accustomed to carrying it for so long that we’re attached to it and would shockingly feel uncomfortable without it. Then there are some who just aren’t aware of the extra baggage they drag around. The effects of carrying this heavy baggage may be unnoticeable at first glance, but then it rears its ugly head in how we handle challenges in relationships, with ourselves and interpersonally.
A popular songwriter, Erykah Badu actually wrote a hit song “Bag Lady” about carrying heavy emotional baggage, which I’ve used as a personal anthem in a past phase of my life for my own growth and to identify others who have become weary travelers due to the extra load because they have yet to sort through and get rid of what no longer serves them. So instead, they just carry it while adding more from each stop they make along the way. Here are a couple of excerpts from the song’s lyrics:
“Bag lady you gone hurt your back
Draggin' all 'em bags like that
I guess nobody ever told you
All you must hold on to
Is you, is you, is you
One day all 'em bags gone get in your way
Another excerpt of the song goes,
“Bag lady, you gone miss your bus
You can't hurry up
'Cause you got too much stuff”
Though the songwriter is specifically referring to romantic relationships, I believe this can be applied to all types of relationships.
What are some negative consequences of carrying heavy emotional baggage?
1. It can make the journey of life more exhausting. You are not meant to carry the excess weight of emotional trauma from past or current experiences and when you do, it will not only tire you out but also those who are close to you that are trying to love you. Hebrews 12:1 says, therefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”
For this reason amongst others, God doesn’t want us bogged down with the cares of this world that can be hindrances in running effectively in this life’s race.
2. It can actually manifest into physical side effects like depression, insomnia, high blood pressure, teeth grinding, and headaches. Studies show that negative feelings affect cells causing a selective and timely orchestrated immune response characterized by an increase in natural killer (NK) cells in the circulation.
3. Without a fresh new outlook from carrying the burden of this invisible mental weight, you can miss opportunities to fulfil personal goals or discover your true potential and who you were created to be which can change the trajectory of your life and those connected to you for the better. In other words, you have a chance to do your part in making a positive impact in the world around you by shedding the excess emotional baggage.
How to pack light by decreasing the weight of our emotional baggage?
1. Awareness is key in taking the first step towards positive change. Check-in with yourself. Do you feel exhausted and unmotivated most days? Are you quick-tempered or moody?
Do you have paranoia about negative outcomes, insecurities and projection, which is the tendency to disown the qualities we don’t like about ourselves and see them in others? Do you have commitment issues or are emotionally distant? These are some of the signs of unchecked emotional trauma.
2. We have to let go of the emotional baggage so we can be open and have a fresh approach to new experiences, resulting in broader perspectives that make the journey exciting, fulfilling and expands our capacity for more transformative encounters!
3. Forgive yourself and others of past disappointments. This is for your own well-being.
4. Allow feelings to run their course but don’t rush the process. This allows us to get in touch with our emotions, address them, then let them go. Time by itself does not heal, but it takes time to heal.
5. Take a mental pause with exercise, journaling, meditation, a hobby, project or whatever you find that can bring you some sense of comfort and peace.
Final thought: It’s high time to be less concerned with carrying the luxury designer brand name bags, and more concerned with the weight of those bags. Pack light!
It has been a great pleasure serving whoever my articles have reached. As I’ve come to the end of this road, I have more hope for the next turn ahead. I am grateful to Brainz Magazine for seeing me and giving me this opportunity. I hope that I’ve sowed seeds to encourage mindset shifts resulting in realized potential. If you already have the seeds, I hope that I’ve watered them so that more of us will be awakened to our true potential and purpose in this life’s journey which is my life’s mission. Blessings!