Unpacking my baggage: 3 strategies that prevent me from throwing in the towel

Have you ever been so frustrated that you were ready to say, “to hell with it all”? You were ready to dump your boo, quit your job, delete your social media pages, or whatever else you thought would make your life easier at the moment. Well, the urge to totally dump some “baggage” came over me a couple of times this week and it really made me give some thought about what the heck was going on with me.

When I was younger and unmarried, I did not have too many of these moments for two reasons. 1. When I was younger I could act on impulse and not think twice about it and 2. I would just unload my issues on my friends, we would laugh after they agreed that I was right, and everything was all better. This quickly changed one day when I was venting to my bestie about my boyfriend and she responded unexpectedly. She started questioning why I was still tolerating this mess and talking crazy about my boo. Whoa! I wasn’t ready. In the end she was totally right but I learned that by unpacking my emotions with my friend(s) I was making her dislike my boyfriend and I wasn’t properly dealing with how I felt and the reasons I felt this way because as I mentioned earlier, my friends always had my back and we usually believed I was right.

But lately, I had to start using some strategies to unpack my emotions so that I could reduce that feeling of wanting to throw it all away:

1. Take some time to myself: It is okay to call your friends to discuss your problems but I think it is important to understand how you actually got to this point. After something happens such as a disagreement with my spouse or something shady happens at work, I take at least 15 minutes to 24 hours to rehash the situation in my head. I know everyone tells you not to go to sleep mad but some issues can’t be solved immediately.

2. Self-talk: During my time I ask myself these questions:

a. Which specific action caused you to feel frustrated?
b. Which memories did that action or those words trigger for you?
c. Do you think that person was coming from a place of love?
d. How do you think that person could have handled the situation differently? If they had handled it differently, would you have reacted differently?
e. What will you do differently if something similar occurs? Even if I thought I handled it well, I believe there is always an opportunity for me to improve my communication skills.
f. Are you disappointed in how you reacted? What do you wish you would have said or done? Would doing or saying those things have helped the situation?
g. What steps are you going to take to repair the relationship?

3. Quick Write: I can’t lie sometimes that self-talk just doesn’t get it done for me so I have to go old school and create a pros and cons table before going back to my self-talk. When I write down what I am gaining from the situation vs. what I would be losing or don’t like about it, I am really able to unpack my feelings. Sometimes it makes me realize how petty I am being and sometimes it makes me realize it is time to move on but I always go back to the self-talk to understand why I came to my decision.

It is not until after I go through these steps above that I decide if I still need to vent to a friend. This has really helped me understand my triggers, the baggage that I am carrying, and how to communicate better at work and at home. Ultimately, my goal is to live a happy life and I know that I cannot do that if I do not understand my own feelings.

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