We often have lives which feel chaotic and out of control. Hence there is a need to review our life in a controlled or systematic way; to get free of the many instances in our lives which are remembered and with which we are not at peace. An unmanageable life can look like this:
- Resentment of others’ actions or inaction especially family members including parents, siblings, extended family members, friends and co-workers
- the violence in our lives – past or present – mental or physical – perpetrated either at us or by us or both
- the things in our lives which have frightened us or of which we have ongoing fear or excessive worry
- painful sexual abuse we have experienced or perpetrated
- the guilt we feel as a result of hurts and harms we have done others – and ourselves – and not adequately dealt with
- the guilt we feel because of beliefs we have about specific things e.g. sexual conduct acted upon or thought. The beliefs which don’t fit with our lives, or codes of conduct, but have been imposed on us by our family, society or our religion.
Making room for the ups and downs of life
A life full of baggage has no room for the other things that life throws at us. A life full of baggage is a life of reactivity. If our lives are full of anger, fear and/or guilt, we can only ever react to things, we cannot respond with love or kindness unless we want something. My personal experience is that as someone who was full of anger, fear and guilt, and/or always in some form of emotional pain, I could never deal adequately with the good or bad things which happened. I could only react to them and usually in an inappropriate way. There was no room in my life for the new. This kind of living or lifestyle has the potential to create excessive and apparently inescapable loneliness.
So, when I took stock of my life with the help of another, I got free of the baggage. I made room in my psyche. I became able to fit life’s other things in. I am able to have healthy relationships. I also have room to process disasters should they arise, and respond appropriately. I have become someone who responds to life’s challenges rather than reacting to them – most of the time.