A U-Haul truck worth of baggage vs. the overhead bin

I frequently hear, “I don’t want to date anyone who has baggage.” This could include emotional, children, financial, physical, and/or spiritual. I understand the sentiment behind this request. I just have to say, “That’s impossible.”

For this post I’m going to talk about “emotional baggage.”

If you’re more than, oh say, 10 years old, you’ve probably started accumulating at least some emotional baggage. And the more years you’re past 10, the more baggage you accumulate. Things that happened to you in your family, school, relationships, career – the possibilities are endless.

Here’s what I’ve found for me personally and for my coaching clients – when we experience an unpleasant or uncomfortable situation in our lives we stuff it down (to deal with later or because we say to ourselves it really doesn’t matter that much or it’s too big right now) and it becomes “emotional baggage.”

When I got my divorce and started dating, I definitely saw all the baggage “everyone else” had. In past posts I’ve talked about how I eventually discovered that because of my inside beliefs (for example, “this is how all men are and this is all I deserve”), I was the reason the men who were showing up on the other side of the table from me didn’t have any money.

The discovery I haven’t mentioned is – the eye-opening visual of how much baggage I’d truly stored up over the years… the amount could have filled a large U-Haul truck. This was startling to discover. A large U-Haul truck can hold the contents of a 3 bedroom house!!!

So, what I did (because I love visuals) is I “figuratively” opened the truck, took out one box, and opened it. I pictured inside this box old clothes that I had stored away. When I was ready (when I was having a particularly good day or a particularly bad day or I was tired of the same thing happening over and over or I really wanted to do something differently) I would “figuratively” try on one piece of clothing from the box. I knew I needed to decide which ones I’d keep, which ones I’d alter, and which ones I’d give away.

I would sit with the feeling. For example, the first dress represented my belief that no one would ever want to date me. I had left my marriage believing this. So, I would sit and ask, “Does this fit my life now?” And because I’d been dating for about six months, with plenty of men interested in taking me out, I realized this belief didn’t “fit” me any longer. So, I put it in the “charity box.”

The second “dress” I tried on was the belief that I didn’t know how to flirt. However, it turned out that I was a very good flirt and had been able to do it all along, just didn’t know it. So, I had this dress “altered”. I didn’t want to give this part of me away and certainly could alter my belief.

You can imagine with a large U-Haul truck it took awhile to go through all the boxes. Some therapy, some classes, some reading, some crying (well maybe a lot) to my friends and I got my personal baggage to a size that would “fit in an overhead bin on an airplane.” I figured this was a reasonable amount and I’d certainly be open to accepting the same amount from a man.

So, what size is your “baggage?”

~ Christine
Dating and Relationship Expert

Goal Setting + Purposeful Dating = Satisfying Relationships


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