What Is Emotional Baggage?
If you're carrying negative emotional memories from your past then you have emotional baggage.
Everyone has emotional baggage.
It’s not a matter of if you have it but rather what you do with it and how you overcome it.
Negative emotions from your past don't have to control your life.
And they don't have to hold power over you anymore.
How Do You Let Go of Emotional Baggage?
Releasing emotional baggage is the process of resolving past emotional memories that still bother you today.
When you clear your emotional baggage you're free to live your life without the weight of your past weighing you down.
1. Identify the Root of Your Emotional Baggage
Why are you still carrying emotional baggage from the past?
Did you let yourself or other people down?
Have you treated people harshly that deserved better?
Did you make a series of poor decisions that left you with a bag of failures and not much else?
Do you look back at your life and realize you haven’t got much to show for it other than regret and disappointment?
Maybe you were mistreated as a child for no apparent reason and you still can’t understand why.
You might not be directly responsible for what happened back then.
But if you’re still carrying your emotional baggage with you, you’re contributing to the problem.
You have to get to the root cause of your problem (emotional baggage) before you can fix it.
2. Take Full Responsibility
What happened back then might not have been your fault.
Most of the time we have no control over what happens to us.
But what you can control is how you respond. As an adult, you’re responsible for your life.
If you plan on releasing your emotional baggage and moving on with your life, it's up to you.
No one's coming to save you.
Accepting responsibility for the solution doesn’t mean you’re forgiving anyone or accepting that what happened is ok.
It means that you’re taking your life into your own hands and making a conscious decision to sort yourself out.
3. Be Kind to Yourself
It’s easy to criticise yourself for past mistakes.
We often look back at things in our past and think “What was I thinking? How could I have been so stupid?”.
But that way of thinking won't release your baggage, it only makes it heavier.
If you made mistakes in your past or you did things you now regret, it doesn’t mean you're a total failure.
Remember you’re so much more than your past mistakes.
Stop beating yourself up and focus instead on who you are now and the life you want for the future.
Being kind to yourself is a sign of self-respect.
Without it you’ll find it very difficult, if not impossible, to release your emotional baggage and move on with your life.
4. Use Affirmations and Visualisation
Visualization and affirmations are powerful tools for releasing emotional baggage.
You can’t change what actually happened but you can change the meaning you give to what happened.
When you visualize and reaffirm new thoughts you make synaptic connections in your brain.
When those connections become strong enough they wire together.
Your brain is your command center.
When it receives reinforcement of an idea or an image, your brain accepts them as fact.
You start to manifest them in the physical world because your brain is focused on your goals and deletes everything else.
Sounds a bit "woo-woo" but it's not. It's how your mind influences your reality.
You're doing it every day whether you know it or not.
See yourself as you want to be.
Picture in your mind a situation where before your emotional baggage might have held you back.
Now change that image to one of you overcoming that baggage and going on to live an amazing life.
Who you were in the past is irrelevant.
Who you’re becoming now is what counts.
Bombard your mind with images, ideas, and statements confirming who you are NOW.
5. Live as the Person You Want to Be
If there's something you don't like about yourself you can change it.
There’s nothing to say you can’t completely reinvent yourself into a better version of who you are now.
You don’t have to keep playing the same character.
You can change your script, your movie, and even the character you choose to play.
How do you do it? By living it.
You visualized who you want to be, the ideal you, now go about making that your reality.
Change your dress and appearance, the places you go, and how you spend your time.
Take up new interests and read different types of books.
Live like the person you want to be until you become that person.
6. Make Amends Where You Can
Most of our emotional baggage involves other people.
While you can’t change the past you can make amends for it.
Making amends doesn’t have to mean making amends with that particular person, though you can do that too.
Deciding to become a better person and improve your own life is a way of making amends.
If you hurt or mistreated someone in the past, apologize. It’s the right thing to do.
Whether they hug you or slap you in the face is irrelevant.
You’ve accepted responsibility and acknowledged your wrongdoing.
If no one else was directly involved and you simply let yourself down, make amends by improving yourself and contributing to a better world.
Smile, be helpful and be kind.
7. Give Yourself Time to Heal
If you’re reading this article today, don’t expect to wake up tomorrow and find all your problems have disappeared.
Releasing emotional baggage is a process, not a one-time event.
It only takes a second to decide to change.
But that change takes time to implement, and assimilate into the rest of your life.
Time lets you get distance and perspective on your problems, and to heal emotionally.
Looking back, you'll be surprised at how much progress you've made over time.
8. Commit to Being Better Than You Used to Be
Whatever emotional baggage you’ve been carrying around from the past, you’re not that person anymore.
Make a personal commitment to overcome your weaknesses and become a better person.
When you make a commitment to personal excellence, you're facing the future, not the past.
When you change yourself the way you see the world changes as well.
From your new perspective, you can lighten your emotional baggage and get on with making an awesome life for yourself.
9. Use Emotional Baggage to Your Advantage
Whatever happened to you there’s always something of value you can take from it.
It might take years to realise it, but somewhere in that experience is a gold nugget you can use to your advantage.
If you can learn from it and use it to be better in any way, you're ahead of the game.
Only you know the details of your past, but as you think of it now, what positive learnings can you take from it?What positive learnings could you take from your experience, if you really wanted to?
10. Don't Let Your Past Determine Your Future
You can’t change what happened in the past. It is what it is.
Your power lies in your ability to use your past as a springboard to a more positive and fulfilling life.
Use your past to make better decisions, and produce better outcomes for yourself now and into the future.
You’re not the same person now as you were back when you accumulated your emotional baggage.
Leave your emotional baggage in the past where it belongs. You don’t need to carry it with you anymore.
Quotes About Releasing Emotional Baggage
"You can’t possibly embrace that new relationship, that new companion, that new career, that new friendship, or that new life you want, while you’re still holding on to the baggage of the last one. Let go… and allow yourself to embrace what is waiting for you right at your feet" – Steve Maraboli
"It’s hard to be clear about who you are when you are carrying around a bunch of baggage from the past. I’ve learned to let go and move more quickly into the next place" – Angelina Jolie
"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be" – Lao Tzu
"Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it" – Ann Landers
"I demolish my bridges behind me…then there is no choice but to move forward" – Fridtjof Nansen