Baggage


Created by
Karen Gray CH, RN

We all have it. Baggage is that emotional stuff that you have stuffed down and haven’t dealt with it. It’s like stuffing memories and feelings in a closet so that you don’t have to look at them.


It is a natural process that we all participate in, and it has many different names. It can be called avoidance, compartmentalizing, repressing, numbing, and others. But it all means the same thing. Something happened and you haven’t processed it yet, so you put it away to come back to later, when you are better able to deal with it.


But what happens when that closet overflows into your life? What happens when all those emotions come rushing back into the room?


Holding On...

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All those things that you have been hiding away don’t just sit there quietly. They are all uncomfortable being stuffed in a closet, and they are all trying to get your attention with intrusive negative thoughts and emotional outbursts. Whenever they see an opportunity to be heard, they take advantage of it and feed you with negative self-talk and a negative attitude.


Have you ever noticed that sometimes you have a difficult time letting go of a negative emotion? We learned earlier that the negative self talk will reinforce any negative ideas you might have about yourself, and lead to more negative thinking.


When we feel upset, we have a tendency to say “I am upset.” To our subconscious mind, that part of us that is in charge of your emotions, you are giving yourself a very powerful suggestion. The subconscious mind follows the instructions that we give it. So, by saying “I am upset” you are giving the subconscious mind an instruction, and it will respond by influencing your emotions and actions to maintain this state.


Some part of you doesn’t want to let go of the meaning of the event that caused the feeling, because it validates and justifies having the feeling.  The meaning you gave to the event justifies and validates your feeling. The feeling feels like a part of who you are, because thinking or saying it gave a clear instruction to your subconscious mind. So some part of you wants to hold on to the meaning, to remain in harmony with what your subconscious believes you are.


Letting Go…

The mind is always doing its best to keep itself from discomfort, which is why it is so much more appealing to hide away from our embarrassment, remorse, grief, stress, anxiety, and anger rather than deal with it.


But putting off the experience of these painful feelings only creates a state of long-term distress, filling up that closet more and more. We end up suffering far longer and far deeper, because we hid those negative emotions, events, and feelings away instead of working through them.


Think of it like this: instead of turning away from the emotions you don’t want to face, just slowly turn towards the experience. You don’t have to look at it head-on, but you shouldn’t avoid it completely, either.


The Role of Hypnosis

One of the most amazing things about using hypnosis s that you don’t have to relive painful or traumatic events in order to allow yourself the process them. The subconscious mind has very effective systems in place for moving through emotions, and we are able to use those systems more efficiently in the hypnotic state.


For example, when working with clients with suppressed emotions that are causing their current problems, we create a space in the mind where the client is protected and relaxed. From there, we can begin to look at past events from new perspectives, from different angles, until they become less threatening, less negative, and less scary.


You may have been afraid of the dark when you were young. For me, it was a fear of whatever was in the closet. I’ll bet that you aren’t as afraid of the dark anymore. That is because your perspective and understanding changed. The dark didn’t change. Closets haven’t changed, but the way we think about them has.


We can create those same changes in hypnosis, without having to use the conscious mind to go through the trauma again. This works with your average everyday negative thinking, with self-defeating behaviors and attitudes, and even with PTSD.


Like I tell my clients, you have far more control over how you think and feel than you ever thought possible!∎


Karen Gray is a Certified Hypnotist, a Registered Nurse, and the Director of Green Mountain Hypnosis. For more information on how you can use hypnosis to change your life, contact Karen at karengray@greenmountainhypnosis.com, or call (802) 566-0464.

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