It’s ironic that baggage is a synonym for luggage for, to me, the words have vastly different meanings. Luggage is something quite useful to us for travel while baggage generally refers to some negative emotion that we continue to carry. My friend, Bryan Dodge once wrote, “If your focus is on the past, your future will be your past.” So why do we hang on to destructive old feelings?

I’m reminded of an old Zig Ziglar quote, “Learn from the past without living there, live and grow in the present, and look to the future with hope and optimism.” Dwelling on the past certainly detracts from the joy of “today,” but so does focusing on an imagined future. As difficult as it sometimes is, life is more fulfilling if we live each day to the fullest, and live in the moment.

Losing a loved one, a cherished pet, or a dear friend understandably takes an enormous toll on us, but we can, in time, overcome our grief by cherishing the memories we shared and appreciating our time together. It’s entirely appropriate to honor those we’ve lost, but we should not allow our loss to become a focal point of our daily lives.

Similarly, anger and guilt are frequent components of the baggage we carry but should be addressed so that we might leave those bags behind. Harboring ill will against someone is destructive and shortens one’s life. Better to find forgiveness and move on. And guilt? Sometimes a simple apology or a candid conversation is all that’s necessary to leave that unwelcome bag at the loading dock.

I can’t even begin to tell you the number of things from my past that I’d like to change, but I can’t. Those events are history. Failing to let go of things we can no longer change only creates angst in our minds and pain in our hearts. For your sake and the sake of those who love you, please learn to get past those things you can no longer change or control. Life is simply too short. Love the present, live in the moment, and be kind to yourself. We’re not perfect. Dump that baggage and move on.

Mountaintop Moments(3) resized“Let go of the stuff that doesn’t make you better.
Judy Kay Mausolf

Dr. Kerr

Author Dr. Kerr

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