Everyone Has Baggage, Including You. How to learn and grow from the things we’ve packed.

Everyone Has Baggage, Including You. How to learn and grow from the things we’ve packed.

I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase about “having baggage”.

This, obviously, isn’t a technical psychological term; but it is something I think we all understand and accept.

It refers to that which has happened to us, and more so, that which we “carry around” in response to the (often) pain and trauma.

In most instances, baggage is negative and distressing; and as such, it can detract from our happiness and wellbeing.

So, the assumption goes, to enjoy more happiness and to live better, we need to find ways to let go of this baggage and learn how to move on …

via Psychology Today by Yvonne Castenada


  • Baggage is accumulated over time.
  • Baggage has purpose and value.
  • Baggage can impact a relationship.

“So,” I said, “what do you think? Are you going to keep seeing him?” I was having coffee with a work colleague, a woman who had re-entered the dating scene after a painful breakup. She’d been excited about one guy in particular, and the night before they’d gone on another date.

She made a face. “I don’t think so.” She paused, and then shook her head. “No, definitely not. Just… no.”

“What happened?” I said. “I thought you liked him. You said there was a good connection, great chemistry.”

“He has too much baggage, you know what I mean?”

Not really, I thought. This was well before I became a therapist, so I pressed on. “What do you mean?”

“You know. Ex-wife. Kids. That kind of stuff. He talked about it last night and he said he feels guilty, and then he got, like, super emotional.” She shuddered. “No way, I don’t need that kind of drama in my life.”

“Oh, I see.”

“Yeah, I just want someone who has no baggage whatsoever. Zilch. Nada. No angry exes, no messed-up childhood, no wounds to heal, no stuff to process. I want a guy who’s got their act together, someone who checks off all the boxes.”

A few months later I moved on to another job, but I still thought of her once in a while. The older I got and the more I experienced my own relationships, the more I doubted she would ever find her unicorn of a person. Not because she had nothing to offer, but because I soon found out that no person is baggage-free.

And that perhaps it’s not a terrible thing.

What is baggage, anyway?

There you are, fresh out of your mother’s womb and reliant on adults for survival. In your hands is a metaphorical suitcase, but you’re too small to carry or pack it, so the people caring for you start to fill it with everything they think you’re going to need. They pack the beliefs that have always worked for them, and the values they consider most important. They throw in whatever religious views they believe to be the gold standard, and tools you’ll need to survive.

Your caregivers aren’t the only ones who throw stuff in there. Teachers, external family members, neighbors, coaches; pretty much anyone with enough influence and consistency in your life can shove something in there when you’re not looking, with or without your permission.

As you get older, you too start packing a few things: feelings of joy, safety, and comfort, happy experiences you want to keep. You pack things you see on a daily basis, like how adults interact with each other. They might be caring and loving, or emotionally co-dependent and/or abusive. You watch how they treat other people: whether they lie or tell the truth, how they gossip or use certain words to describe groups of people who are different. Whatever the behavior, you pack it because you assume it’s normal, especially if nobody’s talking to you about this kind of stuff…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE