To be honest, I don’t like when people have too much access to me because humans have a natural habit of dumping their baggage on each other. You know what kind of baggage I’m talking about. The emotions and problems that you didn’t ask for.
Personally, that’s why boundaries are one of the most important aspects in any relationship I have because my happiness comes first. Like I said in this Instagram post, having boundaries doesn’t mean you don’t trust that person or want them around. It means that you’re trusting yourself to do what’s best for you by having them.
I’m an introvert in all ways possible. I love to be in my own company physically, emotionally and mentally. Unintentionally, that has translated into how I deal with the problems that show up in my life. Being an introverted Libra, I like to think things out, do my own research, and weighing out the pros and cons of every solution. Then I choose one, commit to it and then the problem is solved. That’s how I deal with my personal drama and it has worked for me. It isn’t until my plan a and b both fall through that I reach out to someone else about what I’m going through. I know that my way has its own pros and cons but it works for me.
However, that may not work with you when you are facing your own problems, obstacles, trauma. You may be an extrovert or just work better communicating in a way that differs from an introvert and that’s okay. The key is to deal with your baggage before you drop it on someone else or pick up other baggage that isn’t yours. This is a make-or-break situation if you aren’t careful.
I’m not saying that you should keep everything to yourself. That’s a recipe for self sabotage. I’m saying that everyone needs to be mindful about how they approach this. No matter how many friends you have or how big your family is or who is in your circle, there will come a time where the only person you have to rely on is yourself. I’m not saying that it’s inevitable that everyone you know will cut you off and you’ll be alone. I’m saying that everyone is going through their own version of life and we can’t just pick up our baggage, pack it up in a car, drive it to their house and dump it on their front lawn. That’s irresponsible and selfish.
Before you dump your baggage on someone, ask yourself “Have I done everything I can to deal with this baggage on my own?”
- Have I taken the time out to really think about the situation and self-reflect?
- Did I consider all perspectives?
- Have I spoken to the person(s) involved?
- What process works best for me to overcome this trauma?
- Am I really trying to seek help or just vent?
Same as if someone is dumping their baggage on you. Before you take it on, ask yourself “Am I in the right headspace mentally and emotionally to deal with someone else’s baggage?” You might be going through your own chapter of your version of life and just don’t have the capacity to entertain anything else. That’s okay. Don’t feel guilty for putting yourself first.
Or maybe you’re an empath. I’m not an expert on that but I know that it’s when a person is inclined to absorb other energies that aren’t their own. Being an empath is definitely have you picking up other people’s baggage. According to this Healthline article, the life of an empath seems to always depend on the actions of others. I can only imagine how uncomfortable and draining that can be to have no say as to people throwing their emotional baggage onto you constantly. You have to protect yourself so you’ll get so busy trying to help others that you neglect being there for yourself.
If you still plan on helping, please remember that:
- You can’t pour from an empty cup. Like I said earlier, it’s okay if you can’t help them. It’s better for you to let them know and step back than you pushing yourself and making things worse. You know what’s worse than one person with unpacked baggage? Two people with unpacked baggage trying to help each other!
- Baggage is personal. There’s only so much you can do. You can’t save everyone. I know you have the best intentions when trying to help a loved one. Unfortunately, when it comes to baggage, self work is usually the answer. It’s called “self-work” for a reason sis. I’ve seen so many people sacrifice their own happiness in hopes that they can use it to make someone else happy. It rarely works.
- Don’t take it home with you. It’s theirs and theirs alone. Have you ever been having a good day and in good spirits and someone comes by with negativity? Remember how quickly it takes to ruin your mood. Also, how long it stays with you even after your interaction with them has ended. Energy is too strong to ignore. It’s important to know what ways work best for you when you are in a situation like that so you can still help and be in a positive, light mindset without feeling heavy and negative.
If you feel like your baggage is so heavy that you don’t even start to unpack it yourself, I would always recommend that you speak to someone you trust or even go to therapy. In my post about why everyone should go to therapy, I talk about the benefits of talking to a therapist.
In my unqualified (but good intention opinion), going to see a therapist significantly outweighs the help you may get talking to someone you know personally. For one, a therapist doesn’t know you personally so they can look at your situation with a different perspective and give you insight that you probably wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Secondly, they are qualified to give you the right help you need. They literally paid a lot of money to go to school. They took classes, studied, took tests. Also wrote papers and did internships. Then graduated and got certified so that they can be there for you to feel your best so trust them.
Everyone has their own baggage and it can be dealt with if you are intentional about it. You can’t avoid it or have bad communication skills. Or throw it on people. You gotta face it head on so you can conquer it and move on being a better person. Support is important but there’s a difference between someone supporting you and someone taking advantage. I hope this post encouraged you to take a look at your own habits. Make sure that you are doing your best to be your best you.