Saturday, May 28, 2011

Unpacking Baggage

I seem to be on my way out of the lonley place already.  Thanks to all of you who were patient with me and all who prayed for me.  I'm sure that helped to minimize my stay.  :-) 

The latest subject of my overactive mind:  How does one deal with baggage from a past relationship?  Is it best to open it all at once and dump it in a big pile on the floor to be sorted through as quickly as possible?  Or is it better to slowly, thoughtfully unpack it, one memory at a time, as each one needs to be dealt with? 

Maybe it's a function of personality.  Maybe there is no one "right way" to deal with baggage.

I tend to be pretty oblivious.  I may or may not be aware that I still have bags that I haven't unpacked, until I stub my toe or trip over one of my bags.  Then I need to deal with my baggage.

Sometimes I want to just dump the whole jumble of memories at once and dig through them, tossing those that seem irrelevant to my current situation off to one side, and dealing quickly with the ones that seem to matter at that moment.

Other times, I want to pull out one memory at a time and examine each one carefully, asking myself a dozen questions about each memory I pull out.

One thing that seems to be pretty consistent about my baggage, though, is that I deal with it best in the context of a relationship.  Being in a relationship often causes me to go in a new direction, and it is then that I run into unpacked bags.

But being in a relationship helps me to do more than just identify my baggage.  It also gives me motivation to deal with it.  For example, if I am not involved in any but the most casual of relationships with men, I don't need to deal with the baggage involving asking men for help.  But if I am building a real friendship with a man, I must open that bag and figure out why it's such an issue, then I must decide if I am going to let it remain an issue, or how I will deal with it, because if I don't, I may end up with a very lopsided, and also very frustrating, friendship.

Being in a relationship also helps me to deal with my baggage in another way.  It gives me someone who cares enough to listen to me as I work it out (I tend to think aloud a lot), and to give me feedback.  I am blessed to have many friends, including several male friends, who function in this capacity for me.  My best male friend has a knack for telling me what I need to know in a way that doesn't offend, but reveals things I may have overlooked. 

I guess the most important thing is that at some point, baggage must be dealt with. Quite frankly, I prefer not to deal with mine alone.  How about you?  How do you deal with your baggage?

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