Everyone Has Baggage
There are certain universal principles in life. This is one: if you are human and breathing you have baggage. Not baggage in the true sense of the word, but baggage in the euphemistic sense of our experiences and expectations, our beliefs in ourselves and others. No matter how much success. No matter how many friends and loved ones. No matter how famous. As human beings we carry “baggage” with us. It may be collapsible, deflatable, old, ragged, packed away in the attic and covered with dust. It may see the light of day only when we are tired or when someone we trusted, loved, or was truly meaningful and important to us leaves us or does something to shake our foundations. We all have it, however We may add to our collection through out our lives. We may also be able to toss out various pieces at various points in our lives. Others we may not only hang onto but pass on like an inheritance to the next generation to add to the baggage collection they have been making all their own.
Steamer Trunks and Travel Stickers
If you have ever seen one of those old travel trunks, maybe in your own attic or a relative’s, or perhaps in an old movie or on an attic’s show on television, you can picture in your mind a well-worn box which is battered and seasoned by all the places it’s been. Whether or not there are remnants of the lives it transported to and fro when you open it, there surely are echoes of them. You can feel the energy from it and imagine all that once was held in that box.
Our minds are like steamer trunks which keep those energies of where we’ve been and the things we’ve done (and not done). When we review the successes we feel that energy, when we focus on the failures we bring ourselves down or use them as a means to drive our efforts to new levels.
If you have a favorite piece of mental baggage, think of it is a carry-on. As the name implies, you get to take it with you. It fits into your overhead compartment. It convinces you to not get out of your seat, or it gives you a kick in your seat. Usually you will roll along with it just fine. You may even be able to pile a lot of other stuff on top and just keep going. You can race along on trip after trip and not have a problem.
Okay, you know that almost inevitably, one day at a most inconvenient time a wheel will come off, the case will spring open spilling some or all of your stuff. This, of course, creates another seeming catastrophe to add to your other baggage. You may even stuff it in your carry-on and continue on your way. On the whole though, the things in your carry-on baggage go along with you and don’t really interfere with life except on the occasional, rough day. You can get by just fine with your well-traveled carry-on.
Briefcases and Totes
When we comes to business, it makes a difference whether we are from Mars, Venus, or some other universe or galaxy entirely. It matters whether we are a “baby boomer”, “generation X, Y, or …”, “three piece suit”, “environmentally friendly”, “conservative”, “liberal”, or you fill-in-the-blank. What we bring to the table in terms of who we are and our expectations impacts every interaction and reaction. As long as there is humanity, there will be prejudice, misunderstanding, and the gamut of communication issues and insecurities. They stem from the very things that make us human.
We compete. We strive. We try. We fail. We succeed. We learn something. We try again. We live. We breathe. We laugh. We cry. We compete. We succeed. We help. We hinder. We are human. We bring our baggage with us.
Checking Your Baggage
It would be nice to be able to check our negative baggage and retain the other experiences of the journey. If we can learn from our mistakes, then check the baggage and keep the lesson, we are getting all that we can from each experience. We don’t have to claim all the baggage that arrives, just the pieces that are ours and that have value and meaning – the ones we want to take on the next trip, not the ones we would rather leave behind.
Other People’s Packages
“Have you been asked to transport a package that is not your own? Have your bags been out of your control at any time? Has anyone attempted to give you anything to carry on for them?” If you think about these questions in the context of emotional baggage and relationships, not from the context of airline travel, your answer is probably a resounding “Yes!” Wherever you are. Whoever you are unless you are a hermit living on top of a mountain!. Every day someone will attempt to share their baggage! (As humans we are just generous this way!) You can say no. You do have that choice!
Lost, Unclaimed and Abandoned Baggage
You see them at airports: the lost, unclaimed, and abandoned bags; things no one wants; things that went one way when their owner went to another destination; baggage separated from its rightful owner. There are also things no one wants or someone managed to avoid claiming…GASP! They abandoned the baggage they no longer wanted! They refused to pick up a package someone else gave them! Or the baggage was lost and the world did not end!
Where is your baggage? Is it unclaimed? Are you carrying other people’s baggage? Do you have a steamer trunk that is well-traveled or a carry-on that you can live with? New or old. Big or small. Unclaimed or well-loved. Baggage, we all have it. We’re human after all.
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