Losing the Weight: Letting Go of Emotional Baggage
The pathway to spiritual growth is a process of letting go -letting go of our egos, attachments and judgments; but most importantly it is about letting go of the burdens of the past.
Often in life pain is inevitable. We all experience it to some degree in one way or the other – the pain from past hurts, losses, rejections, and disappointments. And even though most of the time we survive the pain and life goes on, we often tend to hold on to the hurts and the wounds of the past, and as a result we accumulate emotional baggage and carry a heavy burden on our shoulders. We all carry emotional pain to some extend. Even the most “perfect” upbringing has its baggage. It doesn’t require a traumatic event or abuse to have emotional baggage.
Emotional baggage leads us to feeling heavy regardless of our actual body weight. We feel heavy mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Many of us unconsciously hold on to the pain and are unaware of the toll it takes on our daily lives. We hold on to fear, anger, resentment, guilt, shame, judgments, beliefs, assumptions, and all negative emotions that weigh us down. The effects of carrying emotional baggage is usually evident in our life experiences, especially in our relationships and the ways we project our pain onto others. Emotional baggage drags us down and prevents us from moving on and living in the moment.
Freeing ourselves from emotional baggage is essential for our healing and spiritual growth because dwelling on the past hinders us from living in the present which is the only place in which we can experience joy, peace and happiness. Healing doesn’t mean that the damage never existed; it means that it no longer controls our lives. Releasing emotional baggage leads to emotional maturity which is essential for our awakening. We cannot grow in any way if we continue to hold on to the past. There comes a time in our lives when we have to make the choice to either continue to carry the burden or unpack, release the baggage, free ourselves and finally move forward. The events of our lives that we couldn’t control can no longer be allowed to control us.
Here are 6 ways to let go of emotional baggage to feel lighter, happier and more at peace:
Holding resentments against others is like swallowing poison and expecting the other person to get sick. We are only hurting ourselves. Often we hold resentments because we don’t think the other person “deserves” to be forgiven. But by holding the resentment we are only hurting ourselves. Forgiveness does not mean we condone the other person’s behavior, it just means we are releasing ourselves from the bondage that keeps us tied to them.
Out of the forgiveness of others comes self- forgiveness and the relief of guilt which leads to self- love and self- acceptance, and this is the true payoff and benefit of forgiveness. It is a gift to ourselves as it frees us from the chains of the past and allows us to live fully in the present moment. In the presence we realize that nothing is lacking and that nothing is broken. So therefore, oftentimes forgiveness is the simple realization that there is nothing that actually needs to be forgiven.
Our source of suffering is always related to our resistance to what is as the ego likes to control life. Surrendering requires giving up control and our ideas of perfection, which can be terrifying to many of us because we want to be in charge of everything in our lives. But the need to control often leads us to feeling empty and exhausted. Spiritual surrender is admitting that we are not in control. It’s getting ourselves out of the way and trusting our Higher Power, the Universe, to guide us. When we surrender the need to be in control, we allow ourselves to be in the flow, to be spontaneous and to live in the moment. We all fear the unknown and want have certainty about everything. However, embracing uncertainty is an essential part of spiritual growth. It takes courage to surrender and to put it all in God’s hands. And, when we surrender and get out of the way of the Divine, we make room for miracles.
In order to let go of the past and everything that no longer serves us, we must learn to be aware of our thoughts and feelings in the present moment. Mindfulness is a powerful way to let go of negative thinking. With mindfulness we notice how we automatically drift into negative thinking and are able to consciously redirect our attention back to the present, to the here and now. The basic method for practicing mindfulness is to focus on the breath. Whenever we feel negative feelings arise within us, we can shift our awareness back to our breath. And this gentle shift of awareness serves as a practice of letting go. Meditation is a great way to practice this. When we meditate, we become mindful of our thoughts as we observe them but detach ourselves from them. We practice letting go, rather than getting caught up in our minds. Life is always easier in the present moment because it is effortless. That’s where consciousness resides, where the soul is at home; where we feel the safest.
“If you let go a little, you will have a little happiness. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of happiness. And if you let go completely, you will be free.” Achaan Chah
Gratitude is a powerful way to shift negative energy and release emotional pain because it connects us to life on a deeper level as we are reminded of all of our blessings and the things we appreciate in our lives. Gratitude is a state of mind that moves us from fear and limitation to love and expansion. And as we mature emotionally and spiritually we even become grateful for the hardships in our lives for they teach us very important lessons, necessary for our soul’s evolution. The more grateful we are the closer we get to the spiritual core of our being and therefore live a more authentic and joyful life. The vibration of gratitude attracts more positivity in our lives and negativity slowly fades away. Gratitude brings our attention into the present which is the only place where miracles can unfold.
Keeping a gratitude journal is probably the most effective strategy for increasing our level of gratitude. It is important to set aside time daily to record several things that we are grateful for.
As we let go of our baggage, of pain and suffering, self-love becomes crucial. On the path towards healing and growth, it is important that we are patient and gracious with ourselves as we are facing our own demons and taking full responsibility for our lives. Self-love and self-compassion open the door to self-healing. When we release emotional pain and let go of emotional baggage, we move closer toward our own truth, our Divine essence which is pure, infinite, eternal wholeness. By embracing this truth we learn to love and accept ourselves unconditionally. Self-love is the ability to see and treat ourselves with kindness and compassion. It includes empathy, tenderness and acceptance for ourselves. It gives us the strength and courage to let go of what no longer makes us happy or what we no longer grow from.
6. EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)
Many scientific studies suggest that everything we experience in the course of our lifetimes is stored in the form of emotional energy in the cells of our body. This is known as cellular memory. When emotional pain is not released it is stored in our cells and our energy body.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is one of the most effective and efficient methods for clearing blockages from the energy body. EFT is a psychological acupressure technique that supports our emotional and physical health. By tapping on specific energy meridians on our body, we can unblock fears, limiting beliefs, negative patterns, and even physical pain. It is an energetic form of acupuncture that relies on tapping with the fingertips instead of needles to release old, stagnant energy.
More information on EFT can be found here:
Letting go of emotional baggage is an act of strength and courage and requires emotional maturity. When we let go of emotional pain and negative thought patterns intentionally and with awareness, we remove distractions, distortions and blockages, raise our vibrational frequency and allow the higher energies of love and joy flow freely through us. Once we rid ourselves of emotional baggage, we begin to feel lighter, in tune with our Divine Higher Selves and free to flow through life with ease.
Love and Light,