Emotional Baggage

Are You Carrying Baggage or Luggage?

Emotional Baggage
Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

I was in a conversation recently when the words baggage and luggage were used interchangeably and it got me thinking.  They feel quite different, don’t they?  They seem to have a very different connotation.  When thinking in terms of life experiences do you feel as though you are carrying baggage or luggage around with you?  Here is the sense I made of it in terms of how you deal with life:


Baggage could be described as the negative emotional experiences you have had in your life.  Experiences such as times people let you down, hurt you, betrayed you or when events floored you, when things didn’t seem fair, like the world had it in for you.  Crucially, they are experiences which stay with you and that haven’t been dealt with or processed.

We have all been through difficult times.  And, depending on how much baggage you are carrying, any individual experience can be devastating.  A sense of “it’s happening again” adding to the pain of it all.

Such experiences can leave you with baggage full of hurts, sleights and grudges.  They can leave you with a hardened heart which closes you off from others.  This can feel like a protection, but it only serves as a barrier to connection.  It blocks you from a sense of belonging, an openness to support, both practical and emotional.  Then you feel isolated and more sensitised to life’s darker side.  So the baggage gets heavier, you feel lonelier, and you are hurt more easily because there isn’t a buffer to help you in times of need.

And the longer you carry the baggage, the heavier it is and the more it weighs you down.  It affects even the good times.  It serves no positive purpose but to harden you to the world.

So, how much baggage are you carrying?  How long for?  How does it feel?  How does it help?  It may feel as though it is protecting you but really our best protection is to grow from experience - stronger and wiser, not hardened, disheartened and disconnected.   For most people it just drags them down, interferes with the enjoyment of life and being able to be in the present.  It is a heavy burden.


But what if you carried around luggage instead?  I like to think of luggage as being the resources you need in times of difficulty that helps you navigate them with more ease.  Or act as an emotional buffer so the bad things don’t hurt so much or for so long, not because you are pretending it hasn't happened, but because you feel you have enough emotional resilience to see you through.

Luggage could be things like skills such as:

  • The ability to influence in a positive way so conflict doesn’t have to be combative;
  • Perspective so you see things more clearly instead of with your blinkers on,
  • The ability to see the opportunity in every problem; stress management techniques to help you bounce back quickly;
  • The ability to let go of that which no longer serves you;
  • The ability to forgive (not the same as forgetting or condoning and the subject for another article);
  • Supportive people;
  • The ability to set boundaries;
  • The ability to enjoy quiet time in nature; memories of good times and successes.
  • Self-esteem which comes from the inside, not by what people do or don't say

All these can make life easier, lighter, and more enjoyable.

So, ask yourself what do you have in your luggage?  What else do you need?

Do you feel ready to let go of the baggage now?  Ready to enjoy life’s journey?  Want some support to help you navigate with more ease?

If this article resonates with you, why not call for a no obligation chat to discuss how I can help you transform your baggage into life-enhancing luggage?  I can be reached on 0345 130 0854.


© Tricia Wooflrey