How Is Emotional Baggage Affecting Your Life? Past You Vs. Future You

Sometimes, I find myself worrying about certain things before they’ve even happened. For example, when going to a party on my own, I worry about not finding anyone to talk to and looking like a complete loser. Luckily, this never seems to happen and I am able to have a great time. But why do I worry so much? Drilling down to it, I remember a party I went to when I was a very young child and feeling left out because I barely knew anyone and was too shy to make friends. Clearly, I’m still holding on to this past trauma as emotional baggage, even though I’m now confident in my abilities to join in, make friends and enjoy myself.

Emotional baggage is the idea that the feelings you have about your past and the things that have happened to you have a negative effect on your behaviour and attitudes


Past Causing Issues For Future You…

It’s not just worrying about making friends. I have seen a lot of my friends make the same mistakes over and over with different partners, because they are carrying emotional baggage from a past relationship into a new one. For example, one of my friends was cheated on and was treated extremely badly, through no fault of her own. Because of this though, she enters new relationships with an air of suspicion, catastrophising a situation before it’s even happened and is so jealous that the poor new guy can’t relax! By the same token, she is so picky and worried about finding someone similar to her ex that she doesn’t give anyone a chance. She is now learning to understand that her behaviour is because of the emotional baggage she is carrying, and is trying to take steps to become a little more relaxed in her new romantic endeavors.

The same can happen in your professional life too. Have you ever been told you’re rubbish at your job, or worse, been fired? I have. I completely lost all of my confidence and when I found a new job, I was hyper-aware of making mistakes to the point that I stressed myself out and began making even more mistakes. The trauma of losing my job was enough to make me think I would never be able to work effectively again. Luckily, I was able to have a chat with a great manager, and with the support of a good team I was able to rebuild my confidence and slide that emotional baggage into the lost and found for good. 


Check Your Luggage At The Door

Of course, all of our experiences shape our future, but when it’s affecting your daily life, it may be worth digging deep to find the root cause. Finding out what’s really weighing you down can free you of so many misplaced feelings and barriers to your next move.

If you feel like you can’t do something, think back and pick out the memory that is uncomfortable for you. For instance, I don’t like to think of myself as a poor little girl standing all alone at a party, especially when I am able to enjoy myself so much now. But it happened, and it still causes me stress. Once you’ve found the root cause, address it and give yourself permission to heal. It’s hard but worth it!

Acceptance is the most important thing for moving on from emotional baggage. None of us like to experience negative feelings, but really exploring them and trying to let go is not easy, but a necessary step. You cannot change the past, but you can learn from it. 

Also be aware that acceptance is not a quick fix! Like anything that helps you to heal from the inside out, moving on from emotional baggage is a journey, and hopefully one you will enjoy being on and be thankful for in the end. 

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