We close out another year and usher in a new decade. All of us tend to make resolutions on New Year’s day and yet how many of us follow through? We often give up within a month, why? Change is hard, leaving our comfort zone is not easy, does it mean we do not want to improve our lives? We all have dreams and aspirations, but are we willing to put in the work that it will take to reach them? If we want something bad enough, we will make the time, find the funds, be consistent and throw away the excuses.
Many of us carry around way too much weight. I am not talking about those extra pounds on the midsection. I’m talking about the dead weight of emotional baggage we drag through life.
Most people do not want to face or hear the truth. That is the way society has trained us. It is not our fault…. all of our problems are because of… Insert a cause here. If only I had this thing or went to these places or I had a better family or a better job, or a better spouse. If all that fails, blame it on the government of the only truly free nation in the history of the world.
When our problems surface, others may tell us that we should go see a professional who will give you a prescription for whatever the newest drug is today. Yet, despite the blame and the drugs, at the end of the day, we still have the same baggage.
What we carry around could be very visible, or it could be very well hidden inside of us.
Have you ever watched someone explode in anger? Do you believe that it is a one-time occurrence? On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are others who try way too hard to be a good person or overly helpful. Their emotional baggage is always there, just below the surface.
We have to address what causes anxiety inside us. No matter how far we run from it, it will still be there.
In my old life, I used to live in Newport Beach, California. When things got hot from law enforcement, I would take off to my condo in Palm Springs, California. While there I would relax, head out into the desert, sometimes hang out with other bad guys. Then I would come back to Newport Beach where the problems still existed, but were no longer in my face.
I did this for most of my adult life. I would shuttle between South Florida, Southern California, New York and many other destinations. All I did was stay a step away from my problems. What I needed to do was stay in one place, face my problems and deal with them.
The number one task at this point if we wish to free ourselves from the dead weight that drags us down is to identify it. Make a list. Think of your life like a trip into outer space where you can only take the essentials with you. Your life is the suitcase. You must choose each item carefully, deciding if you can live without it or not.
Once this is finished we must decide what we will do about the baggage you no longer need to carry. Our emotional well being is our own responsibility. There is never a time to place blame elsewhere or ask someone else to do it for us. There will be few things in life we have control over, but the good news is we can control our own emotions.
I have a friend that grew up in the life. He came from a family that I will call Mafia royalty. He had all the perks when he was young and more when he came into adulthood. He never gave life a second thought because he was able to live well.
It all came to an end well over a decade ago and today he is paralyzed by his former life. He never developed the skills to live, to be a normal human. No matter when I speak with him, it is always the same issues. He will remain stuck in emotional quicksand until he steps up and takes responsibility for his own life.
I understand why my friend and others cannot climb out of their pits of despair. I have been there. Admitting to ourselves that our baggage is holding us back gives us power to let it go. It is a constant battle for me. I constantly find old habits creeping up on me.
My blessing was the day I realized that I could let go of my burden by not living for myself, but by God’s will. That was the day my eyes were opened and the emptiness left my soul. The best part of all my soul searching is that I know where my problems stem from and I no longer let them affect my life. It is not easy for me at all, so through trial and error, I have eliminated triggers in my life. I have learned to live in the now, yesterday has passed and tomorrow has not come.
It is time for all of us to live a more fulfilling happy life, by letting go of the extra baggage we carry with us.
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.