My Ten Steps towards Shedding Baggage from the Past
Life has been good for me although I have a few regrets. I guess we both have a list of things we could have done better or wish never happened.
Now we both know these are things we could never undo, and we, therefore, ought to move on. However, it is not easy to free ourselves from them.
A fellow called John Bunyan wrote a story about a spiritual wanderer’s journey through the physical world. His pilgrim carried a heavy bagful of regrets on his back.
Eventually, he had an insightful experience. He leaped in the air, broke the shoulder straps and his bag of regrets rolled away forever. However, the real world is different.
Wouldn’t It Be Nice if Life Was Really That Simple?
I wrote this article to share my ten doable steps towards shaking off a piece of baggage from the past by removing barriers. I’m a bit of a systems thinker and so these stages follow a logical sequence removing obstacles as we go.
My method for shaking off the baggage of the past involves redefining it in a form that makes it possible to deal with it differently. I rely partly on neuro-linguistic programming to achieve this.
This theory – and it is just that – holds that we describe our past experiences and future hopes in a language of words. We have the power to change the descriptions of our experiences so they come to mean something different as we operate in the world. Let me give you an example.
I read a story somewhere – I forget where – about a fellow who lost his wife after 50 years of marriage. “You must feel awful,” a colleague mentioned. “Oh no, not at all,” the old man replied. “My wife would never have managed alone.”
That person reprogrammed his grief into a statement of triumphant love by viewing his loss from a different perspective. This view was he had survived so his wife was spared loneliness.
We are going to follow a similar process as I share my method for shaking off the baggage of the past. I already mentioned this is not going to be a quick fix.
My Ten Steps towards Shedding Baggage from the Past
This is actually just a summary from 10 to 1. You can opt in for an email series where I’ll guide you through the process in more detail.
10. Get started with something specific
Pick one piece of baggage lingering from your past. I can’t recommend choosing something as daunting as the day you ruined your marriage. Choose a memorable occasion like an unkind word someone spoke that cut deep and aches to this day. Now imagine life without it.
9. Imagine life if you were free of the burden
Imagine how good you will feel when you are free of carrying the burden of those harsh words. Visualize never, ever waking in sweat and wrestling with this particular shadow from the past. Gain energy from this future hope, to empower you for what follows. There is good in everything.
8. Look for positives in the experience
Think about how the experience benefited you and what you learned about yourself in the process. You must have done something, surely to have sparked the event. How could you have reshaped things, looking back so it did not happen?
7. Break the bond by sharing the pain
Share your feelings with your mentor. We all should have a personal adviser, perhaps a special friend. You cannot break free from something bottled up inside you. Release your emotions. Own them for they are yours.
6. Stop treating yourself as the victim
Shed the victim mentality. You cannot escape reality by blaming someone else. You will only shed it successfully if you factor out the human element. What happened was surely not an earth-shattering event. Look back on what happened objectively. Could you live without this baggage?
5. Make a conscious decision to move on
Freely cast off the chains of your past. Your journey back into the past is over. How relevant is this baggage really when you view it in the present moment. There is no value in hanging on to it surely if it is fixed in time. The moment has come to release it.
4. Chill out first before you make your move
Freeze the moment with a distraction. Wisdom is always clearer in hindsight. A view from the top of a mountain puts things into perspective. Do something different for a day. In the background your subconscious will be processing, pondering, deciding.
3. Realise your ‘problem’ is not earth-shattering
Place yourself in the broader social environment. Shed the last vestiges of blame and self-pity. Does this baggage really matter at all, in the context of what else is happening in the world? You are a great deal better off than most. Take hold of your future. Grasp your freedom now.
2. Freely cast off the chains of your past
Recover your freedom by forgiving and forgetting. Resentment and hate bind us in chains while unconditional love sets us free to claim our full potential. Your baggage has no weight at all stripped of negative emotion. Cast it to the wind and it will fly beyond your reach.
1. Fill the void that remains, close the door to the past
Replace your baggage with a positive memory. It’s too easy to fill a void in your memory with other garbage. Do something positive you always wanted but never had the time. You know intuitively which path you should walk.
Move Onward and Upward With Your New-Found Freedom
Freedom to be ourselves is a precious gift we received at birth. Since that moment we have been taking on restrictions and limitations in terms of what we think we may and may not do.
Some of these limiters were laid on us by others. The rest are baggage we loaded on ourselves. These barriers limit our freedom to be truly ourselves, and thus we remain a shadow of what we could be.
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