Emotional baggage

We all carry around emotional baggage, and it’s there for a reason--

It protects us.

It shields us from situations that appear similar to something we have encountered in the past.

Many people, myself included, carry their baggage around as a shield, while others carry it around as a prize, as if to say, “Look what I’ve been through, it’s more than you, and therefore, you will never understand.”

When carried around as a shield, it only serves to keep others out. (In truth, the latter does the same, but I’m hear to focus on the former.)

Our baggage may serve the purpose of protecting us, but it doesn’t serve us at all. I know that mine is overly protective and I’ve been working very hard on taming it.

My past, my story, is not who I am. Instead it is merely what I have been through-- and that goes for you too, reader.

Our story is just that, a story; Moments in time that created emotions which created our reality. Our story is in the past, so why can’t we focus on the present and the future?

Why do many of us dwell on the things that have shaped us? Whether good or bad, everything shapes us into who we are in this exact moment. It’s understandable, then, why we would want to master it; to parse through it to figure out the unanswerable question of WHY. However, sometimes that journey turns into a lifelong quest that will never have closure.

I am learning how much I’ve placed past memories onto whatever situation is in my present. My past has been dictating my present for so long, that unraveling the two interwoven strands has become not only time consuming, but a burden. However, the further down I go, the freer I feel.

For once, I can approach a situation, feel my baggage come to the surface and think through it, not with it. Our baggage need not dictate how we go through life, as mine has been doing for me. I bleed emotion which I turn into a shield; My openness, which is often construed as vulnerability, is not. In fact, it’s quite the antithesis. My transparency is how I protect myself. It’s how my baggage has kept me in such spiraled sadness that getting my head above that water is a magic trick I’m just starting to conquer.

Our past is not who we are, but only part of our story. It has shaped us into this moment, but doesn’t have to shape us forever. We get to choose how much of that enters into new situations.

Isn’t that an amazing thought? We. Get. To. Choose.

Lately, I’ve been enjoying the choice of freedom, of joy, and of love. I struggle with the past edging into my conscious as I make decisions in my life based on the three things I just listed. I can feel it ooze around my mind and my heart like a thick sludge, commanding me to listen to it--

BUT YOU’LL GET HURT AND YOU REMEMBER WHAT HURT FEELS LIKE, RIGHT?!

I do, Baggage. I do. But if one isn’t open to being hurt in life, how can one embrace freedom, joy, and love?

I choose a different choice. Instead of focusing on overcoming fear, I will focus on cultivating more and more courage; Courage enough to last me lifetimes. Courage enough to enjoy the life I have made and continue to make for myself without guilt or shame of past events clouding it. I want to ENJOY.

I look forward to continuing this exploration and allowance of freedom. I am already reaping the benefits of enjoying the NOW; feeling good NOW.

My past no longer has the option to dictate my present, and fuck, that feels like... Joy.

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