If you’re a fan of traveling, you understand the importance of packing light. The goal is to take only what you need and leave the rest at home. Have you ever watched weary folks in airports struggling with a mountain of luggage?
Now, imagine that you’re a hoarder and are surrounded by boxes, bags, and things you’ll never use. One false move could cause an avalanche, and you could be buried alive by stuff in your own home. Your only hope is to declutter by keeping only what you love and need and tossing the rest.
The same principle of the overpacked traveler and overwhelmed hoarder can apply to your emotional life. When you’re bogged down with past hurts or are hoarding resentment and fear, you are stuck and can’t move forward. You feel stagnant, frustrated, and disappointed.
Have you ever had a love interest tell you that you have too many emotional liabilities? Do you find yourself living more in the past than the present? How can you lighten your dynamic load and regain your peace of mind?
Five Simple Steps to Unpack Emotional Baggage
An article published by Psychology Today says emotional burdens are a combination of problems you’ve collected because of inadequate coping skills. Remember the example of the hoarder? These are unresolved feelings that spill over into every aspect of your life.
The good news is that you needn’t remain stuck in a trap of your own making. You have the power to declutter your unresolved emotions. Here are five ways to unburden yourself emotionally and five reasons why it’s necessary to do.
1. Listen To Your Inner Voice
When you silence the negative internal chatter in your mind, you can hear a gentle whisper. It’s your inner voice that’s been with you since you were born. Your intuitive voice is your direct line to the Universe and has your best interests at heart.
Trust this spiritual guidance as you sort through impressions and emotions hurting you. Recognize it as your authentic voice that can reveal the false negativity you’ve come to believe. It’ll help you decide the best ways to unpack emotional baggage.
2. Work Hard to Change Things
It’s not a simple task to let go of all the emotional clutter that you’ve collected over the years. You may have stored these feelings in the recesses of your soul so long that they’ve become part of you. However, accepting outside sources and your inner strength create the change you need.
Don’t be ashamed to admit that you’re overwhelmed and need mental health guidance. While you can’t change every past or present situation in your life, you can change how you feel about it. You can determine that these issues won’t weigh you down anymore and have the courage to make changes.
3. Meditate to Unpack Harmful Emotions
If you need another benefit of meditation, helping to unpack emotional burdens is one. According to an article published by Yoga Journal, meditation can help you recognize past wounds and open your heart for healing. Just fifteen to twenty minutes a day can make a difference in how you feel.
Designate a quiet place in your home as your sacred space. You can also light incense and listen to soft music as you focus on simply “being.” Relax your muscles and try to hear what your inner voice tells you.
4. Process The Events
Unless you have a neurological disorder or brain trauma, you can’t forget the past. As much as you’d like to, you can’t go back and change anything. It’s easy to become so entangled in the past hurts that you can’t enjoy the present.
These events will continue to burden you until you process them. You learn to use empathy to understand possible explanations. It doesn’t excuse the trauma, but it can help bring you closure so you can heal and move past it.
5. Show Yourself Some Compassion
Most of the world’s religious traditions follow a form of the ‘Golden Rule.’ The Higher Power encourages you to treat others the way you want to be treated. Conversely, how many friends would you have if you treated them the way you treat yourself?
You are just as worthy of compassion and forgiveness as the next person. However, you may be beating yourself up over past things that may not have even been your fault. Learn to be compassionate to yourself and use mistakes as a learning tool to unpack needless emotional weights.
Five Reasons You Should Unpack Emotional Burdens
It’s hard to reach your goals when emotional burdens hamper you. Not only do they rob you of joy, but they keep you in a perpetual loop of past hurts. These are five reasons why you should shake loose these emotional shackles and be free.
1. It Can Cause You to Be Emotionally Distant
Have you ever broken off a romantic relationship with someone with too many emotional liabilities? Healthy and lasting relationships are based on a resilient emotional bond. It allows you to share your lives as a couple and enhances your intimacy.
According to an article published by the Wright Foundation, emotional “unfinished business” includes ingrained beliefs, attachments, transferences, and more. These perceptions don’t necessarily reflect reality. They can cause you to be emotionally distant and unattached to your love interest.
2. It Can Lead to Paranoia When You Don’t Unpack Your Baggage
If you’ve experienced toxic relationships in the past, it’s natural that you’d have residual negative energy. So, when a decent love interest comes your way, all these hurtful images might flash in your mind. You’ve built so many walls around your heart that they may be virtually impossible to topple.
Emotional leftovers can make you feel like everyone is out to hurt you. If you’ve had family, friends, or lovers betray you in the past, then you figure everyone eventually will do the same. Such paranoia can be isolating and cause severe anxiety and depression.
3. You’ll Compare Everyone or Everything with This Event or Person
Along with the paranoia that unresolved emotional issues, it brings the tendency to generalize negatively. You can relax and commit to a beautifully new relationship because you keep bringing up the past. Maybe you unfairly compare them to your ex-partners and judge them harshly.
You can’t enjoy a vacation or another fun event because you can’t get a disastrous one out of your mind. Each blessing you have is trumped by past hurt or disappointment. If you don’t deal with this unfinished business, you can forge a chain of bitterness that will destroy your happiness.
4. It Will Give You Commitment Issues
When you commit to a relationship, you’re placing your heart on the line. It’s the way to tell somebody that they are your one-and-only love. Unfortunately, some people don’t take commitments seriously and end up breaking another’s heart.
Maybe you’ve experienced a broken heart and have vowed never to commit to another person again. You may develop attachment insecurity that’s rooted in fear. These are three types of commitment issues, per an article published by PsychAlive:
- Preoccupied: You experience chronic anxiety due to abandonment fears and low self-esteem. You’re too busy trying to deal with unresolved emotions to even think about a relationship.
- Fearful Avoidant: You desperately want a relationship but avoid them because you’re afraid of being betrayed and hurt. Some people may mistakenly think that you’re aloof and unapproachable.
- Dismissive Avoidant: You believe that nobody can care for you like you can help yourself and others aren’t dependable. Regardless of your commitment issues, they may keep your heart safe but leave you lonely and dissatisfied in the long run.
Of course, countless people are content with never finding love. Unless you’re sure you’re one of them, don’t let commitment issues stand in your way of a fulfilling relationship.
5. You’ll Be Fearful if You Fail to Unpack Emotional Baggage
The tragic thing about trauma is that it often stays fresh in the survivor’s mind. The fear generated from unhealed wounds can affect all aspects of your life, personally and socially. It can turn into post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and extreme phobias.
At first, you may avoid situations that may have similarities to your past trauma. For example, you might prevent ever driving again after you’ve survived a near-fatal car accident. Unresolved fear can spread throughout other aspects of your life until you are afraid to leave your home.
Of course, you don’t just “get over” a profound hurt or loss, and time doesn’t heal all wounds. However, faith, courage, and divine strength can help you cope with a new normal. Only then can you finally unpack the emotional burdens and stop living in fear and pain.
Final Thoughts on How to Unpack Emotional Burdens of the Past
It takes work and determination to lift the emotional weights that suffocate your life. Some of the healing steps may be uncomfortable, and you may feel like giving up entirely. Be persistent and take back the peace and joy you deserve.