Baggage as a partial solution

When we say something is a problem, we get to be right. Our world is at our command when it comes to what things mean. The facts are not tampered with by changing what something means to us. The significance can change without distorting the objective truth. When we change the meaning, we are practicing the art of reframing. We've created a different diagnosis of the symptoms or more constructive definition of the problem. That's what I've been doing when I've characterized our emotional baggage as:
  1. security encryption software to protect our special talents from corruption
  2. the source of helpful urges to seek safety from the herd
  3. one way to cope with others bringing their baggage into our relationship with them
  4. a gripping story that reverses our feeling totally to blame for what happened
  5. an invisible copy machine for getting good things to happen when used as intended
  6. success routines for avoiding another failure
  7. autopilot controls taking an unthinkable flight plan over familiar ground
When we say something is a solution, so be it. If we say our baggage is a solution to a hidden problem, we don't need to get rid of it or get over it. We need to get what problem our baggage is already solving. It's undoubtedly a problem we really want solved. It's for our own benefit that our baggage is doing its thing. If we only saw it as a partial solution, we could create an even better response to dangers, challenges and opportunities. Partial solutions are problematic, but they set us up to do better, not make things worse for ourselves.

In all my years of helping others and myself value our baggage, I uncovered several problems that our baggage partially solves for us:
  • Whenever we experience a devastating loss, our baggage protects us from getting hurt like that again. We acquire some autopilot, avoidance patterns to take flight from the likely reoccurrence of tragic losses.
  • Whenever we encounter an overwhelming experience, our baggage contains it for a time when we're older, wiser and capable of getting some perspective on it. In the meantime, our baggage allows us to chill out, set it aside and regain our composure.
  • Whenever we've been so shaken up by "near miss with death" that we obsesses on the incident relentlessly, our baggage takes that load off our minds because our thinking cannot ever resolve it satisfactorily.
  • Whenever we cannot get over what we did to someone that we cannot forgive ourselves for, our baggage transforms it into something we can live with so we can get on with our lives.
When we reframe our baggage like this, we put ourselves in a different frame of mind. We realize something is going our way and complaining is inappropriate. We see something to be grateful for and avoid putting the same old story on the invisible copier machine to further our misfortune. We see we've got the start of an even better solution, so making progress toward enhancements makes more sense than trying to get rid of our baggage.

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