Apparently, according to research, over 88% of all New Year’s Resolutions fail. What about if we replace the whole tradition of New Year’s Resolutions with an internal stock take. Instead of making goals (which are often the same failed goals of previous years), we could sit down and get to know ourselves better. We could do an inventory check of our existing beliefs, values, assumptions and emotional baggage, review their condition and where they originated from and lastly decide what needs to be shed, in our very own stock take sale.
This idea of an internal yearly stock take sounds great but I think like achieving New Year’s Resolutions, it could have a big failure rate. Even though we all know it is not healthy to hold onto emotional baggage of past hurt feelings and unresolved issues, we often can’t let the baggage go. It seems to be wrapped up in our identity, the story we tell about ourselves, a bad habit which we are getting some kind of reward from. We don’t like to forgive. We don’t want to forget. Maybe, holding onto emotional baggage tight is really a shield from the scary thought that our life when it comes to it, is largely the sum of the choices we make and how we respond to the circumstances that happen to us. Whilst we are holding onto the baggage we can continue to blame others for how our life is turning out and not look within.
Recently I’ve been doing my own internal stock take, particularly around the origin of my core values and it has been pretty enlightening. I like to think I’m well adjusted and don’t have much emotional baggage. I want to be that character on the left who is carrying only a small bin on her back but honestly I think I’m more like the middle character pulling the wheelie bin. I’ve been ruminating over whether to address the past unresolved issues or whether it is enough that I’ve made the connection now as to why under certain circumstances my buttons are pushed and emotions fire off out of proportion to what they should be. I don’t know, I will keep pondering over what to do… and that’s probably why it’s called emotional baggage.