We have all heard the saying emotional baggage, life is not always easy, but it shouldn’t always be hard either. The one thing that we can put money on is every day we will have an experience of some description; it is then up to us whether we put it in our suitcase of emotion that we carry with us on a day-to-day basis or whether we tie a helium balloon to it and let it float away.
From the day we make our appearance into this world we start collecting emotions, some are key memories and life lessons learned that are important, that we pack away in our emotional suitcase, but what about everything that Mr Negativity and Mr Anxiety have packed in there as well? The problem with these two is they really do not like to travel lightly, they love to hoard every negative feeling, experience and emotion you have ever had, ready to whip it out with a flourishing shout of TA-DAH whenever they want to take centre stage.
Looking back at past experiences is a huge part of your transformation process, it allows you to begin to sift through them and work out which ones you are ready to tie a helium balloon to instead of letting Mr Negativity and Mr Anxiety use them as the script for their latest stage play.
Let us picture the suitcase for a moment, is yours bursting at the seams? The stereotypical need to sit on it to do it up image. How much would a suitcase that full weigh if you were to carry a physical facsimile of it? Negative emotions have a way of taking over and ruling your life.
GRIEF – DEPRESSION – ANXIETY – UNFULFILLED DREAMS – SHAME – REMORSE – LONELINESS – GUILT – FRUSTRATION – UNHAPPY RELATIONSHIPS – BETRYAL – JEALOUSY – HUMILIATION – REGRET – LOW SELF-ESTEEM – FEELING EMOTIONALLY STUCK – ABANDOMENT ISSUES – FEAR – PEER PRESSURE – RAGE – REJECTION – FEELING ASHAMED – FEELING DEFEATED – INADEQUATE – UNLOVED – UNMOTIVATED – UNWORTHY – HURT – LOSS – DRAINED – EMBARRASSED – EMPTY – EXHAUSTED – SCARED – TRAPPED – USED – VICTIMISED – VUNERABLE – WORTHLESS – HEARTBROKEN – HOPLESSNESS.
Wow! There is a list of words that even reading it starts to make you feel negative, without even attaching any of your own personal experiences to them.
Now think about your suitcase again and I am sure you are starting to think it is a lot heavier than you first anticipated. I know mine was, I was going to need more balloons than Carl Fredricksen, the old guy in UP needed to make his house float! Carl, an old widower, goes off on an adventure in his flying house in search of Paradise Falls, his wife’s dream destination, believing in the power of the helium balloon I took my guide from him and thought to myself, I do not care how many balloons it takes, this suitcase is going to get lighter, I just need to find the way to do it!
Emotional baggage can cause all kinds of problems, it can rule us in all kinds of ways, from comfort eating, addictions, depression, lethargy in fact it can be responsible for increased pain or illness. Focusing on the negative gives it momentum, it breathes it to life. It is a virtual picnic of pleasure for Mr Negativity and Mr Anxiety, you can picture them rubbing their hands together in glee, eagerly waiting to stuff even more into this every increasing weighty suitcase.
How do we find our helium balloons and how do we attach them? Here’s an exercise that might help.
- Get into a comfortable position and take three deep breaths, inhale deeply though your nose and exhale through your mouth to help centre yourself and focus your energy.
- Focus your eyes on one spot on the wall until you feel the need to close them.
- Picture yourself sat in a tranquil meadow, leaning against a big old oak tree, the sun is shining, and you can hear a babbling brook, birds are flying lazily through the blue sky, imagine the feel of the grass beneath you, the smell of summer flowers on the breeze.
- In your hand you have three luggage labels, on each label you write a one-word description of something from your suitcase that you want to let go of.
- You look up and walking towards you is a brightly dressed balloon seller, they stand out vividly against the green hues of the grass, a huge bunch of helium balloons in every colour you can imagine bob above their head and as they get closer you see that all the balloons have one word written on them.
HEALING – HOPE – CALM – GOALS – HAPPINESS – LOVE – ACOMPLISHEMENT – CONTENTMENT – ACCEPTANCE – LOYALTY – COURAGE – BRAVE – MOTIVATION – TRUST – FULFILLMENT – FREE – PROTECTED – VALUABLE – COMMITMENT – VALUED – HONOUR – SUCCESS
- The balloon seller gestures to you with a smile to chose three balloons, what words are on them? What colour are they?
- As the balloon seller walks away you sit back down by your tree and tie a luggage label onto each of the balloons.
- One by one you let the balloons go, watch as they soar ever upwards until they disappear, think about how this makes you feel before you let the next one go, happy? Sad? Recognise the emotion before moving onto the next balloon.
- Once you have let the final balloon go, lean back against the tree once more and as you breathe in and out, recognise how much lighter you feel, how much more peaceful.
As you get used to using this method, you will find it much easier to close your eyes for a moment and attach a balloon to an emotion, feeling or situation and let it float away.