Move Forward by Looking Back

Let’s get real. Actually let’s get realer than real. Doing life on your own terms is hard work. And a big part of the hard work is acknowledging your baggage.

Baggage isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

It’s the byproduct of our life experiences, both bad and good. These experiences have shaped who we are, formed our impressions of people, and perceptions of the world we live in. Baggage usually shows up in the form of repeated behavioral patterns, or subtle and not-so-subtle expectations that we have for ourselves and the people we deal with day-to-day. It’s important to acknowledge baggage as it arises so that we can continue to make progress.

We're often stuck without even realizing it.

Many of us are stuck in some sort of pattern or cycle without even realizing it. Maybe we always date the same type of person even though we know it will end badly. Or maybe we are constantly crash dieting to lose weight fast. Deep, deep down at the root of these patterns is a story we’re telling ourselves. What do you believe about yourself? That is the million-dollar question that will lead you to your baggage, whether it’s money, relationships, or your career. Ask what you believe about yourself and the answer is the mindset you operate from.

We can’t change our life experiences.

We can’t change our life experiences. These experiences make us who we are, shape and mold our views of the world, and give us a foundation for all future interactions. But acknowledging how these experiences have shaped our views will give us a clear idea of what our baseline is. You’d be amazed at what outdated modes of thinking we carry with us into adulthood. So ask yourself, what experiences have shaped your views?

Acknowledging our baggage is a practice in self-awareness.

Acknowledging our baggage is a practice in self-awareness. Recognize our own patterns and beliefs and we can see what’s holding us back from moving closer to achieving our goals. It help us target our efforts by identifying where to make changes, or where to accept our limitations. Knowing our own limits can then help us set realistic goals for ourselves, rather than shooting for the moon when in reality, we’re still working on the first step. We all come to the pursuit of personal growth for different reasons. And whether you’ve been at it for one week or one year, baggage is going to come up along the way and beg to be dealt with head-on. You can sweep it under the rug, but you better believe it’ll rear its ugly head again down the road. Just look at the baggage Ross brought to his relationship with Rachel and how that ended up. No bueno. 

It’s not the easiest process, but You're not alone.

It’s certainly not the easiest process. In fact, this part of personal growth can be downright painful. But the more real you get about your baggage, the more it will pay off. If you find yourself opening Pandora’s box, you’re not the only one. Don’t hesitate to enlist the help of your best friends or the pros (like a therapist or life/spiritual coach).


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