Many people carry emotional baggage. Some of it is small and manageable, while other pieces can be quite large and overwhelming. What is emotional baggage, exactly? And how do you go about dealing with it? This post will explore those questions and offer some tips on how to manage your emotions in a healthy way.

What Is Emotional Baggage?

Emotional baggage refers to the negative emotions that we carry with us from past experiences. These can include things like hurt, anger, sadness, anxiety, and fear. You may not even be consciously aware of the emotional baggage you are carrying around. But it can have a significant impact on your life, affecting the way you relate to others and how you see yourself.

Types Of Emotional Baggage

A woman kicking water upwards

There are different types of emotional baggage. Below are some common examples:

1. The Dysfunctional Family Baggage

Being raised in a chaotic or dysfunctional family is one of the most frequent causes of emotional baggage. Family dynamics are at the heart of who you are, and it is through these early experiences that you learn your emotional behaviors and patterns. The issue, though, is that — as a result of growing up in an anxiety-inducing family environment — you may have developed some unhealthy coping mechanisms.

There’s a reason for that. Traumatic events from childhood have been linked to neuro-developmental problems, which might lead to mental health issues such as anxiety and emotional difficulties. Unless you learn how to examine yourself honestly and put in the effort required to change your life, your family’s issues become your own problems. You may acquire abusive, deceptive, and manipulative behaviors from them. These become your emotional baggage and carry over into your current relationships.

2. The Narcissistic Partner Baggage

When you’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist, it can be difficult to shake off the feeling that you’re not good enough. A narcissist is someone who excessively admires themselves and seeks admiration from others. They are often manipulative and lack empathy. If you’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist, you may find yourself second-guessing your worthiness and beauty. You might doubt your intelligence and abilities. These feelings of insecurity can be difficult to shake off and may lead to anxiety and depression.

3. The Unfulfilled Dreams And Aspirations Baggage

We all have dreams and aspirations. But when these remain unfulfilled, they can turn into a source of emotional pain. It’s not uncommon to feel like you’re not good enough or that you don’t deserve success when your dreams don’t come true. These feelings can lead to depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

4. The Unresolved Trauma Baggage

Trauma is any event that causes physical, emotional, or psychological harm. A traumatic event can be something that happened to you or something you witnessed and it can have a lasting impact on your emotional and mental health. If you’ve experienced trauma, you may feel scared, alone, and helpless.

You may have flashbacks or experience post traumatic stress disorder. You might feel like you’re in danger even when you’re not. These are all normal reactions to trauma. But if they persist and interfere with your everyday life, it’s important to seek professional help.

How Emotional Baggage Limits Us

There are a variety of ways that emotional baggage can limit us. Below, we’ll explore some of the most common ways:

1. Damaged Self-esteem

When you cling to the past, you allow its reverberations to echo again and again across the present — shadowing the horizon in a way that makes it hard to see yourself in a realistic light.

Emotional baggage can weigh you down and make it seem as though you aren’t good enough or aren’t worth love. The longer you cling to these ideas, the more you start to believe them; and once your self-esteem is gone, so are any hopes of a happy and healthy relationship.

2. Lack Of Energy/Motivation

When you dwell on past pain, it can be hard to move on and focus on your current self. You may feel like we’re stuck in a rut, unable to muster up the energy or motivation to pursue your goals.

This is because emotional baggage can take up so much psychological space that there’s little room left for anything else. If you find yourself feeling bogged down and exhausted, it may be time to let go of some of that baggage.

3. Interference In Current Relationships

Do you find yourself constantly comparing your current partner to an ex? Do you find it hard to trust or feel vulnerable around someone new?

This is a common problem when you haven’t completely let go of the hurt from our past. When you’re holding onto pain, it’s difficult to open up and trust someone new. This can lead to problems with finding new romantic partners and building relationships.

4. A General Feeling Of Unhappiness

Sometimes, you may not even be aware of the emotional baggage you’re carrying around. It can be easy to shrug off feelings of sadness or dissatisfaction as just a “bad day.” But if you find yourself constantly unhappy, it may be because you’re holding onto too much pain from your past. Letting go of this pain can be essential to finding happiness again.

How To Let Go Of Emotional Baggage

Three women posing for a photo

The first step is acknowledging that you have emotional baggage. Once you’ve done that, you can start to work on letting it go. Below are some tips for how to let go of emotional baggage:

1. Feel Comfortable In Your Own Skin

Loving yourself is the key to a healthy relationship with someone else. If you don’t feel good about yourself, it’s going to be difficult to let someone else in.

Start by looking in the mirror and appreciating your own physical appearance. Focus on the things you like about yourself. Everyone has flaws, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t beautiful just the way you are.

It’s also important to focus on your personality traits and what makes you unique. You are an amazing person with so much to offer the world. It’s time to start believing that.

2. Be Grateful For What You Have

In order to move on from emotional baggage, it’s important to focus on the positive things in your life. Gratitude has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to boost happiness and decrease stress.

Start by making a list of things you’re grateful for, no matter how small. Maybe you’re grateful for your bed, your dog, or the fact that you had a good day at work. Whatever it is, take a moment to appreciate it.

You can also try keeping a gratitude journal, where you write down 3-5 things you’re grateful for each day. This will help shift your focus from negative emotions to positive ones.

3. Learn How To Be Mindful

Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and accepting things as they are. It sounds simple, but it’s actually quite difficult to do. When you’re holding onto emotional baggage, it’s easy to dwell on the past or worry about the future.

This can prevent you from enjoying the present moment. Learning how to be mindful can help you let go of this baggage and live in the present. There are many ways to become more mindful, such as meditation, yoga, and journaling.

Here’s a helpful exercise:

Find a peaceful place where you can concentrate on who you are right now, in this very moment. Appreciate your history and focus on the talents you currently have.

Remember that you’re not simply your past; someone may have ruled over you once, but only you have power now.

Take charge of your destiny by seizing the reigns and making decisions for yourself from this day forward. Nobody else has the ability to shape your future unless you allow them to do so.

4. Invest In Yourself

One of the best ways to let go of emotional baggage is to invest in yourself. This can mean taking care of your physical health, pursuing your passions, or learning new skills. When you make an effort to improve yourself, it’s a sign that you believe you’re worth it.

Investing in yourself can also help boost your self-esteem and confidence. Pursuing your goals and dreams will make you feel proud of yourself and remind you of how capable you are. These positive feelings can help counteract any negative emotions you’re holding onto.

5. Learn How To Forgive Yourself

Forgiving yourself is one of the most important but also most difficult steps in letting go of emotional baggage. If you’re carrying around guilt or shame from your past, moving forward with life will be very difficult.

Learning how to forgive yourself can be a long and difficult process. It might involve seeking therapy, talking to friends or family members, or reading self-help books. However, it’s worth it to invest the time and energy into forgiving yourself.

The simple act of forgiving yourself, can give you the freedom and the power to break free from toxic emotional chains.

Conclusion

Emotional baggage can be difficult to deal with, but it’s important to try to let it go. Holding onto this negativity will only make you feel worse and prevent you from enjoying your life.

Remember that you are worthy of happiness and love, no matter what your past may be. By taking care of yourself and investing in yourself, you can start to let go of this emotional baggage and move on with your life.

If you’d like to learn more about how emotional baggage impacts your self-love and body image, you can sign up for Lesley’s free class here.

 

weight loss meditation

Download My Free Weight Loss Meditation

You have Successfully Subscribed!