This week Hayley talks about dealing with your emotional baggage…
Before settling down to a family, people enter and exit an indefinite amount of relationships. Inevitably there are a handful of significant experiences; some positive and unfortunately some negative. Being human we can’t help but carry those experiences with us in the form of memories. When we start new relationships, we lug these memories around like trunks of luggage.
This reminds me of my friend Marie who recently told me some sobering truths. She had broken up with her ex for nearly a year and was just embarking on a new relationship. As she came to my apartment for lunch, I quizzed her. Smitten and smiling, she told me how her new man was everything she wished for in a partner. She then paused and added “not like Mike”. As far as I knew, although Marie had dumped Mike 11 months ago, they seemed to be on good terms. I asked her to explain and she went on to tell me that he was not only jealous and possessive, but he had lied about several important things during their time together. I was shocked, not least of all because Marie was fiercely independent and didn’t seem like “that sort of girl” who would be on the brunt of an unhealthy relationship. She went on to tell me how Mike’s behaviour had trained her to expect similar from men. Despite knowing that Reggie was different, she couldn’t help but feel anxious about their future.
Intelligence and emotions are very different. You can understand something intellectually but what wins out is what you feel emotionally.
And it’s the emotional junk – the “baggage” – that we unconsciously haul around with us.
Her story got me thinking about what I brought from my past. The problem with baggage is that they’re fragments of memories. Memories become expectations and expectations become habit. And those can be some very dangerous habits we bring with us.
I thought about the girls who chronically date unsuitable men or worse the women who end up domestically abused just because that’s what they’re trained to expect. Emotional baggage just travels in circles, around and around on the conveyor belt of our minds. Forever lost, just staying there until we take charge and reclaim it. Then we can do what we need to it, and in most cases that means discarding that trunk of junk forever. But before you are able to do that, first you need to take ownership of it.
Marie reclaimed her baggage by talking to me, acknowledging it and wanting to do something to change. She refused to let it ruin her current relationship. I can’t help but admire her courage.
It really inspired me. So now I’m making my own list of baggage that I need to reclaim. Frankly it’s been quite emotional. And I realize it won’t be easy but once I dispose of it, there will be space in my life for what I actually want.
Until next time,
The Just Singles Team.