The past has no power to stop you from being present now. Only your grievance about the past can do that. What is grievance? The baggage of old thought and emotion.
- Lao Tzu
- Lao Tzu
It's extremely difficult to let go of hard feelings when we are hurting, but problems arise when we internalize the agonizing memories from our past and project them into our present relationships. Lugging around emotional baggage certainly affects our ability to think clearly. We start judging people harshly, without making a sincere effort to know them properly. Unpleasant memories from previous relationships cause anger, regrets, fear, insecurity, and a host of negative emotions, that begin to shape our perception about people. The fear that the past will repeat itself often ruins our chances of finding inner peace.
Saying Goodbye to Your Emotional Baggage
Emotional baggage can manifest in a variety of ways. When things go awry in a relationship, and someone's heart breaks, negative emotions are bound to surface. If you don't face the reality or vent out your feelings, these emotions will stay buried in the heart. Under such circumstances, your past is bound to haunt you every now and then. It may change your response to situations, and sabotage your future relationships. Often, people who have been betrayed may begin to look at every little gesture of those they interact with in a suspicious manner. At times, failure in relationships causes people to create walls around themselves. Emotional baggage might be the reason why some people show reluctance in forming emotional bonds. Here are some tips that you could follow for saying goodbye to your emotional baggage.
Acknowledge That You Have Emotional Baggage
At times, all you need to do is reflect on your life. Admitting to having emotional baggage is the first step you need to take. You need to introspect, so as to understand your own behavior. It is normal to feel hurt if someone has wronged you or broken your heart, but is it right to drag the past into the future? Do you often play the blame game out of habit? If yes, you need to stop yourself. Stop yourself from analyzing every situation critically. Don't obsess over small issues and blow them out of proportion.
Resolve to Move On
Don't get stuck in a vicious cycle, thinking about unhappy experiences from your past, and what you could have done to change things. This will cause your emotional baggage to grow. Take charge of your life. Let bygones be bygones, and move towards the future with an open mind. Analyze the relationships you have had, and take an unbiased view of your current situation. Don't ever compare your partner with your ex. Stop questioning your partner's motives just because your ex was unfaithful. If the person you are with is faithful to you, your actions may push him/her away.
Stop Talking About Your Past
It's alright to be upfront with your partner about your past experiences, but don't overburden him/her with your past, as that can be a big turn-off. Telling your partner about your past will help him/her understand your emotional responses, but bringing in your past every time you have a fight or disagreement is sure to cause problems. Think about what pushes your buttons, and also the alternative behavior. Try to break the thought patterns or the situations that make you think or react in a certain way. If there are some actions from the past that you are not exactly proud of, ensure that you don't repeat them in your future relationships.
Give Yourself Time to Heal
When someone you have loved deeply breaks your heart, it can leave you feeling shattered and vulnerable. There's so much that you would be feeling after a relationship ends. It's alright to vent your emotions at this time. Talking it out with your family and friends can help you feel lighter. Don't jump into another relationship, as rebound relationships are never the right solution. At times, you may even be attracted to another person who is carrying the same kind of emotional baggage. This is again not a good idea. Relationships should be based on love, not on past happenings. If there are people who have wronged you on several occasions and never cease to push your buttons, it would be best to cut ties. Get rid of anything that reminds you of those who have caused you emotional hurt.
Give Yourself a Chance at Happiness
Sometimes, people who have been in a series of bad relationships lose faith in love, or become skeptical. Under such circumstances, they may look at every man or woman who shows an interest in them, with suspicion. Unresolved issues can cause us to act out in a manner that affects our present relationships adversely. Unfortunately, such people may unknowingly hurt the other person, in an attempt to prevent themselves from getting hurt again. People with emotional baggage may become averse to the idea of being emotionally intimate, out of their fear of being hurt again. Due to this, they lose out on a chance of being in a healthy relationship again. Forgiveness will go a long way in giving you closure, and allow you to find happiness. It's not easy to forgive and forget, but it's not impossible either.
At times, people who have been in bad relationships start blaming themselves for making the wrong choices, and lose faith in themselves. Don't let such thoughts affect your self-esteem. Do not let your self-confidence nosedive just because a relationship didn't work out. Don't doubt yourself. Self-loathing will not get you anywhere, but loving yourself will certainly open several doors to happiness. Be stronger, so that people can't hurt you. Give yourself a chance to trust again. Don't live in the constant fear that something will go wrong, as that will eventually drive the other person away.
Bad experiences can shake your confidence, and leave you feeling dejected. However, you can get your confidence back if you work through your emotions. Don't get tied down by hurtful experiences. Give yourself a chance to live a happy life, by learning from the mistakes you have made in the past, and resolving not to make them again. Take a shot at happiness by bidding goodbye to your emotional baggage.