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How to Stop Bargaining with Your Emotional Baggage

By Joanie Marx August 15, 2022 Mindset

Can you relate to bargaining with the contents of your emotional baggage?

Maybe you’ve looked at the contents several times over the course of your life. You may have even convinced yourself the more troubling contents were not all that bad, so you kept them locked away.

Although you may have not been aware of it, all of us have bargained with the contents of our emotional baggage.

In this third article of a four-part series on Unpacking Your Emotional Baggage After 60, we are going to look at why we bargain with the contents of our emotional baggage following a life crisis and how to stop doing this.

The Prompt of a Life Crisis

Despite the acute awareness of its burdensome weight, after you cross the 60 and over threshold, the desire to unpack your emotional baggage becomes even less appealing than it may have been at an earlier stage in life.

So, what prompts you to look in your metaphorical suitcase at this stage of your life? And what is it that keeps you from unpacking your emotional baggage after 60?

The answer to both questions is the same. A life crisis.

Specifically, a life crisis related to unexpected changes in relationships, health, or your finances.

The process of a life crisis prompting you to unpack specific contents of your emotional baggage repeats itself many times throughout your life. Each experience, however, is unique.

Stuffing More Things in Your Suitcase

One of the reasons these experiences are unique is that each time you return to unpack some of the contents, you realize in the interim you had stuffed more items in your metaphorical suitcase.

And by ‘things’ I mean the more unhealed and repressed emotions remain in your emotional baggage, the more things you see in the world that trigger angst, anxiety, fear, and various degrees of unworthiness.

For those of us over 60, this makes it increasingly more difficult to sort through the contents because the root cause of your life’s struggles have now become further buried.

You Are Not Alone

It took me many years to see the evidence of this repetitive cycle in my own life. What helped me was when I began the research for my first two books.

That’s when I came to see that I was not alone in all of this. And neither are you.

I began to recognize in my own life, and in the lives of others, two very specific patterns for why women and men over 60 avoid their emotional baggage and why they bargain with the contents.

  1. Resistance to change
  2. An overly active life

In my next article and video, I will examine what an overly active life means in relation to change and the contents of your emotional baggage.

For now, let us look at resistance to change.

Resistance to Change

With each new stage of life, we have two choices. Embrace the changes occurring in and around us or resist them.

Change is an immutable law of life.

We know this, yet, somehow, we even try to bargain with change as if we can somehow thwart its inevitability.

So, when a life crisis unexpectedly arises, it elicits an inner awareness to specific contents of your emotional baggage. These contents symbolize what you have been resisting in terms of inevitable change in your life.

The context of change, and even the life crisis itself, is different for each of us, but the following is consistent for everyone.

The more you resist the changes in life you fear, the more stressful life becomes.

Finally, a breaking point is reached, where some form of a life crisis occurs. The specific nature of it may appear random on the surface, but it is not.

In these moments, you are forced to look at the contents of your emotional baggage. Whether you unpack the contents is something else altogether.

Get Out Ahead of Life Challenges

How do you get out ahead of future life challenges?

By actively choosing to unpack the contents of your emotional baggage when things are running smoothly. For you do not want unexpected moments of upheaval to be the catalyst that forces you to look in your suitcase.

One specific way to begin doing this is to uplift your emotional state. Tune out what does not make you happy by tuning into what you are appreciative for. Another way is to identify what beliefs and contents in your emotional baggage should go.

Create some time to journal your answers to the following:

  1. What recent life crisis have you gone through that prompted you to look into the contents of your emotional baggage?
  2. Which contents did you identify and begin releasing?
  3. Which contents did you bargain with and have yet to fully unpack?
  4. What areas of your life can you show more appreciation for?

In the companion video for this article, I share additional insights and guide you through three more empowering journal prompts and an inspiring action item to help you integrate what you have learned.

Have you looked through the contents of your emotional baggage? What did you notice there that you weren’t aware of? Have you kept it to deal with at a later point?

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Where is the companion video? Thanks.

Vanya Drumchiyska

Hi Lois! You will find it at the very top of the article. Enjoy watching!

The Author

Joanie Marx is a three-time bestselling author and the creator of the new, groundbreaking Refocus & Renew Your Life® online course series on Udemy. She is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in Psychology, and a leading authority on refocusing and renewing your life.

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