The Baggage People Carry


We all go through life carrying things. These are things that bother us or have bothered us at some point, things that we grasped hold of a long time ago that we can’t seem to let go, and things that we hold onto because we think they define us somehow or make us cool or popular.

Sometimes the very obviousness of this baggage manifests itself through our words or actions towards others and although we know better we let our baggage show through the things we put our energy into.

The baggage may not be overt at first, we may deflect the appearance of it by presenting a different self to the world than the one that eats at us when we’re laying awake at night. In fact we might be so careful about presenting this manufactured self to the world that we avoid letting other people in for fear of sacrificing that image we’ve worked so hard to construct.

At other times, the baggage will be obvious through our actions. Maybe we’re overcompensating in some way so as to deflect but anyone who takes a moment to wonder will see that there’s something deep that’s bothering us. At that point, what makes or breaks a quality person is what they choose to do with what they see, and inevitably show their own baggage. Purely as an example someone may question your actions and speculate as to what your baggage is, if they are a person worth their salt they will keep that speculation to themselves but if they themselves are holding baggage they may choose to mask their insecurities by making fun of the baggage they see in you.

Recently an acquaintance of mine was involved in a situation where they were very publically ridiculed based on attributes that, although they try to hide through their presentation to the world, are unquestionably there if you’ve spent more than a minute talking to them. It got me thinking about the things we carry and hold throughout our lives in an attempt to either boost our self-esteem or just plainly not go insane.

There comes a point though, when this baggage needs to be let go. When we need to forget everything we’ve brought with us through this long cross-continental trip called life and leave it at the baggage claim.
Some try to leave their baggage in another city by making a move to somewhere a long way from home but, inevitably, that baggage seems to find it’s way right back to us. Maybe it’s in the form of a long lost acquaintance from high school or a situation that triggers anxiety in us that will never go away no matter where you live.

The point is though, if we want to be free of our baggage we have to actually know what it is we’re carrying and learn to accept it.

Inevitably, there comes a point in life when we’ve had enough pretending and we need to get down and dirty and do an intensive shakedown of the luggage we carry with us everyday. We need to go through every little morsel of our lives that cause anxiety or that we can’t seem to get past and say, is this essential for survival?

It’s a lot like a long backpacking trip through the woods. We need to lay everything out in plain sight and pick the things that are essential. The goal being to carry the lightest possible load and ensure, both survival and comfort along the way. If our pack is too heavy it’s going to be a hell of a chore to walk a mile, let alone the twenty or thirty that are required if we want to get to where we want to go. We need to be comfortable along the way if we want to have any hope of reaching the summit at the end of the trail where the views are unlike anything you’ve ever seen. We want to regale our friends with tales of the journey and pictures of the view that we earned by working hard and being conservative about the things we brought with. The point is, you’ll never get to the summit if your pack is too heavy.

The best way to let go of baggage is to lay it out, see what you have, see what bothers you and see what’s essential for your trip. For the things you don’t need, accept that they’re there and move on to the things you do need. If you know and are comfortable with the fact that there are things that you don’t need it’s easy to let them go and pack the things that will make you comfortable and ensure your survival.

Essentially, the point of life (at least my life) is to feel good and be comfortable and it’s impossible to be comfortable if you’re carrying fifty pounds of dead weight around with you wherever you go.

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image – 42andpointless