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Chapter 6. Balance and Emotional Baggage: What's Keeping You Down?

Chapter 6. Balance and Emotional Baggage: What's Keeping You Down?

We all have it. We go through life lugging behind us a giant trunk full of emotional baggage. For some of us, the load is light. For others, the trunk might as well be a moving van—the really big one. Some of the things we lug around with us are from childhood. Other baggage can be from the more recent past. Though you often hear psychologists talk about “family of origin,” “dysfunctional families,” and the like, not all our baggage wounds have to do with Mom and Dad. In fact, wounds from our careers can hurt almost as much: the bullying boss, the back-stabbing coworker, the unceremonious firing. When taking stock of your emotional baggage consider some of these scenarios:

  • One or both of your parents had a drinking problem or, a caustic tongue, or nothing you ever did felt “good enough.” Your father flew off the handle at a moment's notice. Your mother was only concerned about the country club.

  • You have adult siblings who impinge on you emotionally. Maybe you have a brother who's a freeloader or a sister who's on her fifth divorce and you're always the one they call in to pick up the pieces.

  • You have old wounds from your present or former employer. We have all known people who have been unjustly fired, had their hard work unrecognized, or had someone take credit for their brilliant ideas.

  • You have wounds from your marriage or your ex-marriage that you still haven't dealt with yet. You find it hard to be around your spouse or ex-spouse without bitter-sounding comments springing from your mouth, almost without you thinking about it.


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