What is in Your Emotional Suitcase?
I always visualized anger, resentment and pain as a heavy suitcase.
As we grow up and go through life, we all acquire a suitcase. Some of us have heavier bag than others – but everyone has a suitcase because everyone has pain.
Just like a real suitcase, carrying a heavy emotional suitcase is hard. You have to lug it around everywhere and you can’t have much else in your hands because one hand is extremely occupied holding on. Many of us keep carrying that heavy suitcase because for one, the ego loooooves conflict, drama and pain. Your higher self only wants love.
Another reason we carry a heavy suitcase is because we don’t know how to let it go.
The day I learned the power of the suitcase.
When I visited my parents a few summers ago I remember sitting outside on their swing and suddenly launching into a story and reminiscing about how my dad made my sister and I blacktop our huge driveway one summer when I was 15, “You made us blacktop the driveway!! And it was like the size of two driveways! And I had to mow the lawn! And you made us wash the car one Christmas!”
I’ve re-told the same story probably thirty times over the years but this was the first time I saw a look of sadness on my dad’s face. The look that says, “I was just doing the best I could” look.
Then in my mind I replayed what I just said. “You made us blacktop the driveway!!” Right then I decided to let it go and once and for all stop complaining to my parents about the wrongs they did.
I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings anymore, and I wanted to lighten my suitcase. I decided to feel grateful I had to do manual labor as a child because it taught me to work hard and be independent.
Dealing with heavy issues.
Fortunately, we can apply the same concept to heavier issues.
A client once came to me for help getting through a nasty divorce. Her husband cheated on her and she felt betrayed and definitely not good enough.
Her divorce was getting messing and dragging on for years because she wanted him “to pay for what he did.”
We can all understand being immensely hurt by infidelity. But hanging on the pain was keeping her from growing.
Session after session she would repeat the story of what he did to her, almost using it as an excuse to keep her from being free from pain. This is sometimes done unconsciously – most of us don’t consciously seek out to keep ourselves in pain.
Eventually, she got tired and said, “I don’t want to feel bad anymore.” She made a conscious and consorted effort to put down her heavy suitcase.
She practiced forgiveness. This was not done overnight, although it can be.
For her, she practiced forgiving him over a course of weeks. Let’s be clear, forgiveness does not mean you’re saying “I’m okay with what you did”. Instead, it means you’re saying “I accept what you did was wrong, and I forgive you because I don’t want to carry this around with me anymore.”
When she was able to do that – her whole world changed. She felt lighter and happier. She opened herself up to receiving love from others because she wasn’t bogged down anymore.
So, lighten your load.
And put down the suitcase.
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