Before reading this
article, it’s important to read the previous articles titled “Influence of
emotional baggage on attraction, love, and friendship” and “15 ways to identify
emotional baggage”. This is because the fundamental issues regarding emotional
baggage were discussed in those two articles. This present article is a
continuation of the previous ones. Thus, this article is more relevant after
you have read the previous ones and identified the emotional baggage you want
to deal with.
The 10 points discussed
in this article are all important ways one can deal with emotional baggage. Follow
them one after the other.
up and talk about it: The strength of emotional baggage is
secrecy. You should open up and talk about what happened and how you feel. I
know for some people, depending on the type of emotional baggage they carry, it
may take some years before they can talk about their past unpleasant
experiences while others can easily talk about it. But why wait for some years
when you can talk about it now? Why are you still keeping it secret? Don’t you
know you are not helping yourself by not opening up?
Do not be afraid to talk about it even though emotional
baggage is enveloped in fear to a great extent. God instructed us that we
should not be afraid (Isaiah 43:1). Therefore, anyone that is afraid is
disobeying God. Also, what you fear may come upon you (Job 3:25).
always tell each other the wrong things you have done. Then pray for each
other. Do this so that God can heal you. Anyone who lives the way God wants can
pray, and great things will happen (James
ERV). It is when you open up that you
can know many people have experienced it. You are not alone, so don’t die in
silence or ‘swim’ in darkness.
According to the
scripture above, you are to open up to “Anyone
who lives the way God wants can pray”. The person must not be a counsellor,
a pastor, a prophet or a priest (though that would be an added advantage); but
the person must live the way God wants and can pray. You will know such a person
by the fruits he is bearing, not by his works, signs, or miracles (Matthew 7:20).
and Forget: This is another way to stay free from
emotional baggage. Forgive and forget; don't forget without forgiving.
Forgetting without forgiving creates painful memory once in a while. If you
observe recurring painful memory of something that happened in the past, it is
a sign that you did not forgive before you forgot.
Depending on what happened to you; you may
have to forgive yourself, parents, friends, relations, government, and other
parties. Sometimes, the people you should forgive may not be directly involved
in the incident. But you may have felt bad about what they did or what they did
not do, and as such connected them to the incidence and created negative
emotions towards them. If you don't forgive, what you felt about them may
affect how you relate with them or anyone that plays their role or resemble
them. Bear with each other and forgive
one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord
forgave you (Colossians 3:13).
3. Prayer: The prayer should
follow the confession you have made. That is, if you have identified emotional
baggage such as anger, fear, unforgiveness, shame, guilt, impatience or
whatever, you should talk about it with someone who lives the way God wants and
two of you should pray. Moreover, these are the examples of the prayer you can
pray: “Have mercy on me, O God, because
of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of
my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. “Restore to me the
joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Then I will teach your
ways to rebels, and they will return to you (Psalm 51:1-2, 12-13).”
your mind: The “change of mind process” is described
as repentance. This is not about feeling regret, guilt or shame; it implies deciding
to turn around, to face a new direction, and that new direction is Christ. Thus,
you are to turn from your old ways of life to begin a new way of life by: (1)
believing in your heart that Jesus is Lord and confess with your mouth that God
raised Him from dead (Romans 10:9);
(2) renewing your mind with the word of God daily. This is done by reading, meditating, praying, confessing and
obeying the word of God (Romans 12:2;
Ephesians 4:23; Titus 3:5).
Please note that this is
not a one-time endeavor. It is a continuous activity, which if you stop you can
suffer a relapse of the baggage. Note also that the time that you will be free
from emotional baggage is when your mind is completely renewed and you become a
new creation in Christ and all things become new to you (Read my article titled
“Can a Christian have emotional baggage?”).
and Relearning: Dealing
with emotional baggage is a conscious unlearning and relearning process that involves
thinking, and behaving differently from your previous ways of thinking and
behaving. Since the trapped emotion may not just disappear on its own, you
should consciously watch over your thoughts, behaviour, and reactions to people
The unlearning process
means that you consciously let go of the past feelings, thoughts, attitudes,
and behaviours that relate to the unpleasant events you experienced. On the
other hand, the relearning process means that when you see yourself in
situations similar to that of the past, you should act differently because you
are now aware of the fact that the situation/circumstance is not the problem,
rather, your mind is the problem.
not generalize: To
generalize means to make a broad assumption by inferring from specific unpleasant
experiences you had in the past. Dealing with emotional baggage demands that
you don’t generalize your experiences. For instance, don’t assume that a
similar person/situation that ignited your unpleasant experience will always
ignite such experiences. You may have been raped by a tall man, but you don’t
have to assume that every tall man will rape you. See the experience as an unfortunate
occurrence that will not occur again. If you were maltreated by a short man,
don’t assume that every short man will maltreat you.
expect it to happen again: That
something had happened to you in the past does not mean it will happen again.
Therefore, you don’t have to expect the past unpleasant event to happen to
again. Dispel all thoughts or ideas that inform you about the recurrence of
past experiences. Also, hold unto the opposite of such thoughts by believing
and thinking that the past will not happen again.
trained therapist, psychologist, and counsellor can lead you through
therapeutic processes to enable you to release your trapped emotions. The
processes will be dependent upon the specific emotion that is influencing your
life. At the end of meeting a counsellor or a therapist, you will be able to
identify and deal with your emotional baggage.
the Word of God: Hebrews
4:12-13 (NLT) 12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than
the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint
and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. 13 Nothing in all
creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes,
and he is the one to whom we are accountable.
The word of God is powerful enough to set you free
from every emotional baggage. I, therefore, recommend that you humble yourself
to learn the word of God to be free from emotional baggage. For instance, if
the trapped emotion in your life is anger, find out what the bible talks about
anger and act accordingly; if the emotion is a shame, depression, sadness,
bitterness, or guilt, use an appropriate word that deals with the issue.
10. Understand that nothing can separate
you from God’s Love
What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who
can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him
up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us
whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right
standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus
died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of
honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. 35 Can anything ever separate us
from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or
calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened
with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day;
we are being slaughtered like sheep.”[a]) 37 No, despite all these things,
overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 38 And I am
convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor
life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries
about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
The understanding that
God loves you irrespective of what you have experienced is enough to help you
deal with emotional baggage. Your job is to confess this word, believe,
meditate and think about it all the time until the word becomes real to you and
produce evidence. The evidence of this word is that your life will be
transformed and all the emotional baggage will disappear.