Carrying Emotional Baggage
We often bring along unconscious, unresolved, old emotions from previous relationships into new ones. This is called Carrying Emotional Baggage and like tortoises carrying their shells, we carry it every place we go. We all have a few emotional knapsacks. Small stuff is sweated out with some authentic communication. Don’t be afraid to discuss your sensitivities with your partner. It is not up to them to control our emotional proclivities but honest dialog helps others to know how not to inadvertently trigger us. Give them a chance to be tactful and sensitive.
However, we may find we are bringing steamer trucks and moving trucks of unresolved emotions into our relationships that no amount of tact or sensitivity can tame. Then it’s in our best interests to learn some emotional self-mastery so we are not unconsciously sabotaging ourselves and others. Emotional Baggage means we are not responding to current relationship challenges but reacting to troubled emotions from past conflicts. Old pain causes us to act like unreasonable, accusing persecutors.
What Is Your Emotional Baggage?
In our effort to hold on to people, our Emotional Baggage does exactly what we don’t want: It drives loved ones away. Relationships are how we relate to each other. When there is a lot of hurt feelings and fraught communication in our relationships we need to pause and ask ourselves, “Do I have Emotional Baggage?” Carrying Emotional Baggage always produces a symptom and that is unnecessary drama and conflict. Another clue that we may be carrying Emotional Baggage is feeling bewildered after a conflict, and we wonder how such a tempest could brew in the teapot when reason returns.
Fooled by Emotions
When anxious feelings grip you, instead of lashing out start a dialog with yourself: “What is really happening here?” Emotions have an uncanny way of making us feel like something is happening when it’s not. Learn how to know the difference. If an anvil is about to fall on your head, like in the old cartoons, you have a perfectly valid reason to feel anxious. If you only feel as if an anvil is about to drop but it’s not, then nothing is really happening.
Bite your lip so you don’t react but don’t stuff old emotions down so they can flare up to cause trouble later. ‘Fear and pain’ are a signal something within needs attention. Later, when you are alone, self-reflect and find out the source of your nagging emotional burden. When we have some clarity and understanding about old fears and tensions, we move away from the reactive state which causes unnecessary conflict and we begin to set our Emotional Baggage down.