Letting Go Of The Past Clears The Path To Living In The Now
Nobody likes to be" Baggage" ~ Baggage is heavy~There is no good reason to hang on to it!
Are you one of thousands who need to let go of your old baggage, your emotional baggage? If so, then realize letting go the past will allow you to live and grow in the present.
If You Want To Be Happy, Let Go Of Your Old Baggage
Happy people let go of old emotional baggage.
What is old emotional baggage?
Was it something your parents did or said 20 years ago? Something a customer said last week? Or something a spouse or friend said or did yesterday?
Old baggage is emotional stuff we carry around with us...
For days, months or years. It is usually negative like old hurts, resentments, anger or some kind of pain inflicted by another person. It can also be just carrying around some old guilt, failure or fear that impacts our current relationships and life in general.
Why do people hold on to all of these old feelings? Everyone moves through life with their own very personal agendas, needs and life issues. Old baggage starts to feel very comfortable after a while, so comfortable as a matter of fact many people die never able to let go of these hurts, slights and pain.
There is one very good reason to let go of all of this baggage. One of the major causes of stress today is suppressed emotions that fester in the body taking their eventual toll on some aspect of our physiology. One of the biggest causes of stress today is all of this old baggage. So why let it go? It may kill you if you don’t.
Here is an analogy
They catch monkeys in Africa by spreading large glass jugs with long narrow necks on the jungle floor and then put bunches of bananas in them. The monkeys show up, put their arm in the jug, grab the bananas and then won’t let go. They would rather end up in the Bronx Zoo than let go of their bananas.
Thousands of psychologists and counselors around the country are getting any where from $100 to 300 an hour and what are they trying to do? You guessed it, help people let go of their bananas. By the way have you ever noticed that after a while bananas rot and begin to smell? Catch the meaning of this example?
What do you need to let go of today? What is preventing you from letting it go? What harm is not letting it go have on a current relationship or your career or business?
Life dramas and or scripts
Every person alive was conditioned in an environment they couldn’t control. None of us had the ability when we were 6 years old to determine where we were going to live, what schools we would attend or what religion we would practice or who are parents or caregivers would be.
By an early age most of us had formed a variety of opinions about ourselves, what life was all about, how it would treat us and how our scripts would play out as our life unfolded. Most psychologists agree (and it’s tough to get psychologists to agree on anything) that most of us had formed our self-image or self-concept no later than age 8.
We had decided a great many factors at an early age that would affect our lives.
Why not take a look at the recurring patterns and dramas in your life, whether positive or negative, constructive or destructive and try to determine their root or cause. Over the past several years I have spent a great deal of time attempting to piece together those influences that have had a dramatic impact on the quality of my life, my decisions and yes, my life dramas and outcomes.
I have come to several personal conclusions
Only one of which I will share with you. My past is intricately woven into every action, decision, thought, behavior, feeling and outcome each day of my life. Some I like and some I don’t. Some I am proud of and some I find discouraging and distasteful. Some have helped me achieve any success I have up to this point in life while others have held me back.
So be it. It is time to recognize them, accept them and change the ones that need changing.
How about you? Any patterns, scripts, philosophies, dramas, outlooks that need to be reexamined? I don’t remember who said it, (because I have a hobby of collecting quotes, and I have thousands of them so that I can use them in my popular newsletter Life Balance) but it says, “the unexamined life is not worth living.”
It is one thing to examine and still another to change. Sometimes the examination is easy and the changes difficult while other times the examination is the hard part and changing is a piece of cake.
Spend some regular time each week reflecting on your life
In one of my favorite books, Transitions by William Bridges, he shares a simple yet profound concept, the idea of moving on or past “stuff” in life. He uses the analogy of a caterpillar who wants to become a butterfly.
The caterpillar must go through certain stages or phases in order to have a successful transition. This concept is easily applied to any of life’s transitions: from one relationship to another, from one career to another, from one lifestyle to another etc. The three stages or phases are:
1. You must declare an ending.
You must put closure on the previous relationship, issue or circumstance. When people fail to declare endings before moving on to a new beginning, they tend to repeat the same ending again in the new beginning (relationship, career and so on).
2. You must spend adequate time in the neutral zone.
Bridges compares the neutral zone to the cocoon. If the caterpillar emerges from its cocoon too soon it may not be properly formed and will die or at the least not be able to fly.
If we spend to little time in the neutral zone, discovering what we need to learn – we will again tend to repeat similar mistakes and repeat the earlier ending once again. Oh, it might be a different person, career or circumstance, but nonetheless, the ending will have similar characteristics.
The neutral zone is where we self-discover who we are, how we feel, how we behave, what we believe and who we want to become. It is an active time of introspection and self-evaluation.
3. If you have declared an ending...
I mean really declared it and not just given the idea lip service and you spend enough time in the neutral zone (Several years ago I spent almost two years in the neutral zone after the ending of a relationship) – it is now time to move on to step three – declare and embrace the new beginning.
Much of the stress in life comes from an unwillingness to move from step one to two, or step two to step three even knowing that it is in your best interests or even necessary to do so. You feel emotionally stuck, out of control or just afraid of the future after you have made the decision to move to the next step.
If you are in a transition from one ‘anything’ to another embrace it, enjoy it, learn from it. This transition will introduce you to the new you if you will let it.