When I first read of the phrase “emotional baggage” many years ago, I thought at first it’s not real. But while going through my own stuff, it’s really true how negative emotions can indeed carry much weight that – if left unchecked – we can get buried by it.
There are many reasons why letting go of your own emotional baggage is so important. This allows more space in your spirit or soul to receive the good and positive things. It allows you to meet more positive people that gives light, love, encouragement, and peace of mind into your life. It gives you more opportunity to achieve whatever it is you’ve longed to do. Best of all, no more drama!
Now here are the ways to release yourself from all negative energies.
1.) Meditation and/or Prayer
Many scientific studies have been proven that not only does meditation and prayer help make you calm and focused on the present moment, but also can help you let go of the things that doesn’t help you anymore and then invite more good things into your life. It helps you get to know yourself and your intuitive guidance. Through regular practice, it helps you move forward, be conscious of your own thoughts including those that unexpectedly pop up. If it’s a positive thought, then you can choose to cultivate it more often. If it’s destructive, making you feel anything heavy and negative, then let it go. Whether you are a member of any religion, philosophy, or don’t subscribe to any one belief at all, this practice still applies. One of the articles even claimed it works as good as medications for tackling depression.
For a regular meditation and prayer practice to work, create a space where you can do this quietly for few minutes a day. Ideally, you should have a morning and evening meditation and prayer time However, if you can only do this once a day, that’s fine. You can simply say your thanks either in the morning or evening before doing anything else.
There are many types of meditation classes in your neighborhood, you just need to try attending a few and see if this works for you. Otherwise if you don’t have a budget for classes, there are so many online meditation classes now available for access. This may not be an exhaustive list, but it’s good to know where to start.
2.) Reading Articles and Books about Personal Growth
Whether or not you are fond of reading, there are many books and articles out there that would help you begin the process. For websites, my favorites are Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Oprah.com, and Psychology Today. Some online newspapers and magazines also have personal growth related articles. It’s just a matter of knowing which writers you like to read and remembering which days of the week their articles are published.
For books, you can start reading any one of these authors. Sonia Choquette’s book “Walking Home” is about her journey to the Camino de Santiago route (known as “The Way of Forgiveness”) to help completely heal her life. Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Eat Pray Love” is about her journey to find herself by traveling to Italy to experience pleasure, to India for devotion, and Indonesia to balance both. Diane von Furstenberg’s book “The Woman I Wanted to Be” is about her views on personal growth and her fashion business. Don Miguel Ruiz’s “The Four Agreements” speaks of the ancient Toltec wisdom that we should do in order to live life happy and fulfilled. There are many others out there, so please feel free to comment at the bottom of this article what other books and articles you’ve read that helped you. There’s also Louise Hay, owner and founder of Hay House Publishing.
3.) Physical Exercise such as Yoga, Going to the Gym, Walking, Running, etc.
It’s always recommended to do any form of physical exercise as it helps release endorphins and energy you need for the day. If you’re not used to exercising at all, start doing something for at least 20 minutes a day. Then gradually increase the number of minutes as you go along. If however you don’t like it, find something else that hopefully you will like doing every day. The key is not giving up until you find something you’re more likely to stick to the rest of your life. You can even mix it up with other forms of exercise so you’ll enjoy it more.
4.) Practicing Gratitude Every Day
Being grateful is a choice. The moment you wake up is the moment you decide whether to be grateful for what you have even at that moment or choose to complain about something. Jack Canfield, in an interview done by Carl Harvey on his The Big Life weekly online show, recommended that as soon as you wake up, start looking around and thank the Universe for the person who made the pillows, the bed, the sheets, the candles, anything that you have in your bedroom for a start. Once you get in the habit, it’s easier to be grateful even when things do not go your way. You can do this in writing or just out loud every day. You can start a Happiness/Gratefulness Jar or journal and write your entries every day.
5.) Going on a Pilgrimage with a Group or by Yourself
Just like what Sonia Choquette did in her book “Walking Home,” you too can go on a pilgrimage to help heal yourself. Emotionally, spiritually. It’s just a matter of searching which is the best place to do a pilgrimage, planning your finances on food and accommodations. For other possible places, read the 2012 article and 2014 article on other religious pilgrimages, all from Huffington Post.
6.) In the Company of Good Friends
Having a good cry with a friend would help a lot in alleviating your pain. Make sure that friend you choose to reveal yourself is the one whom you share most of your interests with, brings love and light into your life and who would keep the conversation between you both and no one else. It’s also a matter of planning when and where you’d meet because your friends also have their own lives to face with.
Talking things through with a counselor or therapist can help start unloading everything to the surface. This is dependent on an individual’s circumstances though and so checking with your doctor first is essential. A word about medications: it’s best to check the possible side effects and if you are willing to cope with those.
8.) Love and Appreciate Yourself Unconditionally
Part of having emotional baggage is because you haven’t fully recognized yourself yet as someone worthy. Worthy of receiving all the good things in life. Worthy of all goodness from the Universe. Even worthy of having the kind of life you are meant to live. It can be because you haven’t forgiven yourself, that you still felt guilty about what happened either moments ago or even years ago. Or that your family or tribe doesn’t approve of your career and love choices. You may even still harbor blame and ill feelings towards other people who’ve hurt you. The truth is no matter what happened during your childhood or school years – or whether your parents, teachers, friends, and relatives treated you right or wrong – you are important to the Universe. You still have something to offer. And it’s your responsibility to bring forth that which you have so that many people can learn and benefit from your experiences and expertise. One of my favorite authors Elizabeth Gilbert has written a Facebook post about tribal shaming and how to release all the negative emotions associated with it. I’ve also tried this myself, and it helps.
You may be wondering how to start recognizing your strengths, your capabilities, even your own flaws and imperfections. Well, start asking yourself or through prayer and meditation “How can I start loving myself unconditionally?” Or you can phrase it another way: “Universe/God, show me the ways to love and accept myself unconditionally.” Then whatever ideas come up, you follow on it. One of them is to know the things and activities you love to do. Consciously make time every day to do those things, even for just 30 minutes a day. I’m sure there are activities you can do for free, but if you need money to do the others, then set aside a budget every payday for doing fun activities. Label it in your online account or money jar if you have to. Start enjoying your own company first so you cultivate love for yourself. If you wait for someone to love you, you’re asking for trouble. When you completely love yourself, however, the Universe loves you in return and many people who share the same positive energy as you will come into your life.
You can also start the journey of forgiveness towards yourself and other people. I understand it’s not easy to forgive people and also forgive yourself, but remember you are doing this to let go of your negative emotions tied with the situation and the person that hurt you. It’s time to stop berating yourself and start realizing we are not perfect. We each have our own strengths and weaknesses, so why should we force ourselves to be perfect? Only God and the Universe are perfect. As Don Miguel Ruiz said in his book “The Four Agreements,” we just need to do the best each day. Whatever we can manage for the day, do it to the best of your ability. This prevents you from berating yourself. And even if you commit mistakes along the way, you won’t have negative thoughts about them anymore. You won’t dwell on it. When you do that, that’s when you know you are on the right track to unconditionally loving and accepting yourself.
9.) Stop Watching TV Programs, Listening to Songs, or Reading Articles that Create or Inspire Too Much Drama and Fear in You
I used to watch soap operas and reality TV programs all the time. Even at night. Also those 80s super emotional songs I grew up with and listened for many years. But when I started doing work on my own personal growth and still watch those dramas on TV, I realized my self work will not progress until I give up watching these programs. Anyone heard of people setting up meth labs because they were inspired by the characters of “Breaking Bad”? There are other programs too like “Revenge,” “How to Get Away with Murder.” And so gradually I eased myself off them. I have to admit, there are still times I watch those programs, but only a few times now, and I’ve started asking myself if what I’m watching would help in my personal growth journey. TV programs these days inspire negative actions in people, especially those who are not mentally stable.If you still like music, focus on those that have positive messages and the tunes are of a more positive vibe and feel. For more info, read my own article about breaking the bad from TV watching. Also, this very interesting article on why Jon Stewart left The Daily Show helps confirm my views about watching programs that promote negative thinking and negative emotions.
Feel free to combine any of the above tips that would work with your personality and preferences. If there’s anything else I missed mentioning here, please share by commenting below. Would love to hear your thoughts.
Until then, Namaste! 🙂