We all bring baggage with us wherever we go. Whether knowingly or not, we lug it into every room and every relationship we enter into. It can be heavy, bulging with unresolved anger and unforgiven pain. Perhaps you know you have it, and it's breaking your back as you drag it alongside you. I have baggage too, but I hadn't wanted to admit it.
My first and only real relationship did not end very well, and it broke my fragile high school heart. It's a silly thing, and I cannot compare it to things some of you may have gone through, but nonetheless, it was one of my heartaches. And it meant enough to me to have lasting ramifications into my present. Perhaps because it was the first. Now, perhaps some of you can nod in agreement as a hefty carry-on comes crashing down from the hidden place you tried to store it. I know mine wouldn't stay put.
It took six years before I let myself accept the fact that I had never actually laid to rest that relationship and that pain. I had tried to bury it, hoping I wouldn't have to face it again. But, like a zombie, it clawed its way back out (sorry if the imagery disturbs you), and it found its unwelcome self into how I now related to others. I realize because of that pain, I let myself be afraid of being hurt again. I figured the relationship would get messed up anyways, so I might as well cut to the chase and sabotage things early. Plus, if I ended it, I felt like I wouldn't be the one getting hurt. That's where I was wrong. Although the pain may be disproportional, there is generally some degree of pain to both parties. I thought I was protecting myself, but I was just amplifying the heartache I already had.
So, I realized I had this pain, now what? Serendipitously, I was reading for my Relationships class, and the section was on healing your hurts. A portion read, "When you open the Pandora's box within you, you may find painful parts you'd rather ignore, but as you work through them, you will find hope at the bottom of the box..." I didn't want to address the pain, who does really, but in order to move on from this place, I had to. So I did.
I ended up reaching out to my ex, and being able to finally know what really happened was so incredibly freeing. In a sense, it was painful to dredge up those memories, but it was also a relief to be able to have clarity over them. I felt like I could now finally let go of that relationship and realize it should not hold sway over my present ones. It was finished. I could let that part of me flutter off into the breeze.
I don't know your hurts, and perhaps you don't even want to know them, but I do know neither of us will ever be able to be whole if we don't accept their presence and work to heal them. Whatever that may mean for you, I would encourage you to work through the hurts. "Healing your hurts is a process of painful self-exploration," but "the place to begin your journey toward wholeness is where it hurts."
*Quotes from Relationships by Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott