Take a moment and pull out your keys and take a good long look at each key on the ring. Chances are there are a few that don’t need to be there anymore or perhaps there are one or two keys you don’t even know what they are for. It’s time to take them off your key ring and let them go! You have no need to be carrying around the extra bulky weight in your pocket or purse. They are just taking up space and slowing you down!
Now, take a moment and think about your life: what useless emotional baggage are you hanging on to and is taking up valuable space in your brain?
For the most part, this emotional baggage you have been hanging on to and is taking up valuable space in your head will serve no good to anyone? This emotional baggage may have been with you only a few months or has been hanging around for years, perhaps even from childhood. It could be something that was said or done to you or a missed opportunity, or failed attempt. Either way, it has stuck with you all this time and periodically jumps to the front of your thoughts, causing stress and negative feelings. In most cases, this baggage will never be resolved to satisfy your emotions.
Some emotional baggage I have had to learn to let go over the years was the feeling of humiliation from being wronged. The feeling came once when at 23, I became involved with a jewelry scam while traveling in Thailand, almost costing me thousands of dollars. A similar feeling but completely different situation came when I felt I received an inaccurate evaluation from an instructor on a career-impacting course. The emotional thoughts that run through my head when I would think of these events were raw and extremely negative. Both events are long done and will never be altered. All I can do is learn from them and let them go!
How to let go!
I too have struggled to let go of this emotional baggage over the years but what I have found most helpful in letting go is writing about the experience (sometimes for others to read and sometimes not), sharing the story with friends and family, trying to understand that person who caused the hurt in me by putting myself in their shoes, and ultimately forgiving them. In an articled titled Emotional Baggage: How to Let Go, from the Breakthrough Psychology Program, Melissa Lavery, M.S. shares highlights of the Sedona Method that will help you unpack your emotional baggage.
The Sedona Method
- Step 1: Envision the problem you want to let go. Embrace any emotion (even a lack of emotion).
- Step 2: Ask yourself 1) Could I let it go?2) Could I allow this feeling to be here? 3) Could I welcome this feeling? Respond instinctually and instantly. It’s okay to say “no”.
- Step 3: Regardless of your answers, ask yourself Am I willing to let it go?If “no”, ask yourself if you would rather be free of the feeling or continue on with it.
- Step 4: Again, regardless of your answers, ask yourself When?If the answer is “now”, let go of what you can. If you are still unable, at least recognition and acceptance has occurred.
- Step 5: You can repeat this method as often as you would like, about the same problems, if you would like. Letting go of one issue may take months or an hour. Just remember that once you have started the process, you have already made an improvement.
“Never let anything live rent-free in your head”
I often share this quote in my speaking engagements and workshops. We only have so much space in our brain and we need to fill it with positive, useful emotions. If there is negative emotional baggage sitting in our brain, it will continue to take up valuable space and play havoc with you until you deal with it and find a way to let it go. For some, the steps covered above may be enough to let it go, or you may require professional help to deal with these emotions. The key is to stand up to these emotions and take action to eventually let it go!
Are you ready to lighten your keychain, your head and your heart and LET IT GO?