“If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace.” – Ajahn Chah
Emotional baggage is devious and deceptive. You think you have control and it weighs you down. You know to be relieved you simply have to let it go, but that decision and action are enormous and challenging tasks. We hold on to emotional baggage because it is comfortable despite its extra weight. Change is difficult even for the better. However, letting go is easy when you begin with the simple step of honesty.
There is a certain emotional power we derive when we say things out loud. One of the tips I offer my clients is truth and honesty even when it hurts. With a simple admitting of the problem, the vent opens. When the vent is opened, more honesty is released. I explain to my clients that stating out loud the most relevant negative feeling is the pathway to better mental health.
How to Quickly Identify the Things you Need to Let Go of
Think about what is troubling you most and ask yourself to go deeper. Aim for the most basic explanation in a word or two. For example, you are constantly anxious at work or simply exhausted every day. Ask yourself what is causing your anxiety at work. When you have that answer, keep asking what until you no longer have questions and are left with a statement. This is your relevant and current dilemma. In the office, I have guided clients to start on the surface, and soon enough they yell the words “I have no passion!” This is one example of a myriad of possibilities.
Being honest opens up worlds of explanations that will help you cope and heal. It is vital that we keep asking ourselves, almost to the point of pestering, “what is it that is truly bothering me?” That is the difference between, “so and so at work frustrates me” and “I am unhappy!” Honesty and basic questioning offer a deeper perspective because it peels back the layers that are covering our most sincere concerns or desires. Once you find that basic statement, it’s time to reverse course and go back to the shallow end.
“I am unhappy” is a perfect example of when it is time to turn things around. Now that you know you are unhappy start asking the same question that brought you to the deeper clues. Only this time, use them to go back to the shallow. “What is it that will make me happy?” This will give you a depth-based answer. Some may say, “Feeling like I make a difference will increase my happiness.” Then continue to ask what until you find an action plan to your happiness. “What will make me feel like I am making a difference? What do I like to do for fun that can be parlayed into bettering my community or the world around me? What can I do to initiate my plan?” By simply sticking to the “what’ dialogue, you traveled down to the depths to find the true nature of your emotional baggage and returned to the surface with an answer on fixing the problem.
We hang on to our emotional baggage due to comfort. Despite the toxicity of our most relevant concern, we don’t want to give up our package without a fight. But when we obsessively detain our emotional baggage we suffer.
We can’t hope to truly move on without releasing the ties and anchors that hold us down. It can be hurtful to find out that we are the holders of the key to release our leg, but I can promise that once you open the lock and release your emotional baggage, you will see happiness manifest and know that you empowered yourself to take the step. You are stronger than you can ever imagine. Begin today with basic honesty.