Do you remember the old question that they used to ask at the airport when you were checking in for your flight? Pre-9/11 the question was always; did you pack your own bags? Has anyone, but you handled your bags prior to arrival here? The correct answer to this question that they were looking for was yes; you packed your own bags. So let me ask you this, did you pack your emotional bags? Has anyone, but you handled your bags prior to getting to where you are right now in life?
If you can’t answer yes to these questions, then it’s time to pull open those emotional bags and sort them out. It could be that some resentments, fears and self-loathing have crept in when you weren’t looking and for your emotional well being as well as the emotional well being of your relationship, it’s time to unpack the bad from the good.
How to Unpack Emotional Baggage
How you unpack your emotional baggage is going to be very individual to the person you are and the person you were. After all, our relationships often affect us in more ways than we can tabulate. If you had a relationship with someone that constantly competed with you, but it wasn’t healthy competition – it was a competition that your partner had to win. Your partner had to be the best, they demanded it and in the process they made you question your own self-worth – chances are that’s packed in your emotional baggage as well.
Maybe you had a relationship with someone that constantly compared your qualities to others and found you lacking. Male or female, this kind of constant comparison can damage your self-esteem and self-image and leave you feeling unattractive. Considering that many of us act the way we feel, we hoard this poor self-image in the bottom of our emotional baggage and sometimes, we forget that it’s there.
So how do you unpack all of this emotional baggage and overcome the bad stuff? Take a lesson from childhood and play pretend. Seriously. We are how we feel. If we think we aren’t beautiful or attractive, we stop acting that way. If we think we’re not good at anything, we stop putting forth effort. So when you begin cleaning out your baggage, pack in there what you want to be in there – attractiveness – act attractive, believe you are attractive. Pack in confidence and self-worth – believe you can do anything if you just put forth the effort.
Pack your own bags – your past relationships should not discolor your present. There is a truism in the idea that we cannot change our mates, but we can change ourselves. Effect a positive change on yourself and you and your marriage will both benefit from it.
So – did you pack your own emotional bags?
Update: This blog is featured as the forward of a new book by Charles Rivers. Married Without Baggage is now available from Amazon.