During a workshop this week the term baggage was brought up and while it was not the prime topic of the workshop it definitely stayed etched in my brain for quite some time afterward and had my mind working overtime on a few things. The main topic of the workshop was restoration and realignment with yourself after facing a challenging situation, such as COVID-19, and trying to regain a sense of self whether personally or professionally. We did some deep work around what restoration looks like and how the process works. When we got to realignment the core component was being able to carry things around that you need not necessarily that you feel like you must.
Think about this for a minute: If you are carrying a suitcase full of your “stuff” and someone asks you to hold something for them, and another person, and another, etc. you begin to take on other people’s baggage without realizing how heavy it is making your current load of your own “stuff.” This happens far too often for so many of us as parents, spouses, children, co-workers. We unknowingly begin to accumulate everyone’s “stuff” in our bag crippling us and leaving us no room to add things to our bag that we need (new ideas, perspectives, activities, etc.). The cartoon in the picture is a great representation of what we start to look like when this happens, and it throws us out of alignment (both physically and mentally). Look at him. He can’t stand up straight, he is sweating, and his shoes are tearing apart; but he just keeps going. Can you imagine what he is “feeling” if this is what we are seeing?
This is your sign to stop carrying everyone else’s bags for once. Yes, you will have moments where you need to hold onto something for someone and that is fine. Make sure you give it back or throw it away if you are left with it too long. Being out of alignment physically can really hurt. Being out of alignment mentally and emotionally can have detrimental effects on you and everyone around you. If you free up space in your bag for the things you will need (strength, humor, critical thinking skills) you will be much better service to yourself, your families, and your profession. Start unloading those bags more frequently. Heck, open it up occasionally and see if there is anything YOU don’t need anymore but are hanging onto because you never bothered to check-in.