In my last few years, I have been working hard at unpacking my baggage, so to speak. I have had a good bit of trauma that has happened throughout my life and up until probably five years ago, I had swept them all under the rug, pretended they did not exist. I have been carrying those bags of trauma for years but I guess got used to the weight. But that really couldn’t have been further from the truth. They weighed on my life and I didn’t even know it. They ruled my life. They dictated how I formed relationships in every aspect of my life, personal AND professional. They clouded my judgment. They even chose which direction I went in life. My past dictated my present and therein, my future.
Those bags weighed on my self-confidence the most. I was sensitive to any criticism, real or imagined. I saw myself as weaker or inferior. As not worthy of good. I saw myself as less than. Compounded with depression that I have lived with almost all of my life, life seemed to be a hard and heavy road carrying all of those bags. It’s all so hard to explain to people who come into my life. And so I have shied away from letting people in. Built walls of my baggage as high as the sky. Again, goes back to me feeling like I was less than. It wasn’t until I went back to therapy a few years ago that I was able to see this is just not true. After working through a lot of the trauma that I have gone through, I was able to see that I am valuable. I am worthy. I am someone who deserves the love she gives out. And that I don’t have to carry all of those bags.
I know that there are things that can and will happen in my life that will trigger the past and past behaviors and I end up pulling out a bag that I thought I had unpacked. What usually happens is the walls of baggage go back up. I also know that I am a Work in Progress. I am working to knock the walls down completely. I know that it comes in time. I also know that I have more insight into myself now than ever before which allows me to see when I am reaching for that old suitcase and change, evolve. Unfortunately, others sometimes can’t see this. Sometimes others don’t understand. And sometimes others don’t stick around to get to understand. I think that is the hardest part for me.
I try my hardest to look at a person’s behavior as I look at my own. Sometimes it’s those defense mechanisms that jump in the way and jumble things all up in relationships. And if I could just take a beat and look at it from that perspective, it would all seem a bit clearer. Just about every single person on this planet is battling some kind of demon and carrying around their own bit of baggage. Recently, I was talking with this guy. I liked him. He seemed to like me. But there were issues that I was having in the whole situation. Issues that were from my past that were clouding the present. This is definitely still a Work in Progress situation for me. He triggered some things from the past and so I built those walls again. And unfortunately, he was not able to see his way past them. No fault to him. I get it. These are my issues. And I know that there will be a person to come along and show a little patience and understanding as well as the evolution of my thoughts and hopefully, I’ll be able to toss those bags into the trash once and for all.
I guess my whole point in writing this is this. That situation with that guy has been weighing on my mind. And for a split second, I started beating myself up for my defenses going up. But then I realized that we all have our baggage. And we all have the opportunity to see our way to unpacking it. It is up to us to recognize this and to want to get healthier in our relationships with ourselves and others. And as we make our way to unpacking that baggage, we need to realize that no one is perfect. And we will all make mistakes. It’s acknowledging those mistakes and growing and evolving from them that makes the difference. And the majority of us are still striving to get to that place of contentment and peace once the hard work is done. We are all a Work in Progress. So next time you come across someone who may have an emotional reaction to something that may seem a little different than you may have, know that it may just be the bag they are unpacking and maybe give them a hand unpacking it.