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We all know that I am currently in a constant state of reflection and that my mind often moves into deep thought over the simplest of elements. Today it is the idea of baggage. Baggage, in the context of relationships, is viewed as a negative element from the past that tends to cause turmoil and frustration in present circumstances. We are often warned to stay away from a man or woman who has a lot of baggage.

Well, as I was on my way to spend some time with my loved one (self) this past weekend, with my new commitment to stay off of the phone while driving, I got caught up in the thought that we all have baggage. And, if you have lived and loved even once, you have a lot of baggage.

If baggage is a representation of our past pains and hurts then you are bound to be carrying the weight of lost love, missed opportunity, an emotionally distant mother, an absent father, misrepresentation, infidelity, ignorance, middle child syndrome, school struggles, unemployment, etc. (you get the picture)

We are all a product of our pasts. So, to simply say that you don’t want someone with baggage is to say that you don’t want someone that has a past. You don’t want someone that grew up in a family and you don’t want someone who grew up without a family. You don’t want someone that has had a love relationship, a job, friends, gone to school. And you don’t want someone who has not had these experiences. It is in the experience or the lack of experience that our bags are filled. And the ultimate problem is that even the most emotionally in tune and self reflective person has their own bags to tote.

I have lived and have bags and have taken great care to meticulously fill them with all of the necessities to protect me from reliving any painful aspect of my personal history. My bags guide me…giving me direction such that I recognize frequently traveled roads…those that lead to nowhere. The contents of my bags remind me of who I don’t want to be and where I don’t want to go and with whom I would rather not travel.

I do not want someone who does not recognize their baggage and has not done a full evaluation of the contents in an effort to decide what needs to go to goodwill versus what is valuable. I want someone who understands that when I reach into my bag and pull out a need to flee, they don’t need to reach into their bag and find their fear of abandonment.

I understand the notion of baggage being the refusal to let go of past hurts and carrying the grudges or distrust into a current relationship. However, I am challenging that notion. From our past, we have grown (hopefully) and we may have let go of the pain yet, there is always a chance that a new situation sparks a feeling of deja vu.

My baggage is not too heavy for me or you.  I pack light (I have a bad back)  In my view, it is only heavy if time has not been allowed for introspection and growth. Your experiences are always there and can become dreaded negativity if that is what you give it. I don’t see what I have been through, despite possibly being negative at the time, as a continued negative force in my life; it is the spark that has ignited the fire of change, determination, new discovery, new tolerances or discarded tolerances.  It is always with me…in my bags…keeping me in check. I have decided to pack the good times in my bags as well; in order that I can pull from that when I need it.

We all have baggage. The key is to know what kind you carry and what you have packed so that you can recognize your property at the baggage claim.