Camouflaging our baggage

Job Number One for our baggage is to keep us safe amidst certain dangers. We acquired our particular pieces of emotional baggage when our survival was getting jeopardized by others. Baggage is a defensive strategy to avoid a repeat of unfortunate incidents. It aims for us to take flight or put up a fight against dangers that appear decidedly real.

Having baggage is not a sign of strength in the world of first impressions and others who are reading our body language. Baggage cannot intimidate any predators, bullies or abusers. Our baggage makes us appear vulnerable at the same time it is supposedly keeping it safe. This situation calls for a two pronged strategy. We need to maintain our safety maneuvers and pretend were not -- at the same time. We need a clever disguise to camouflage the fact we've got baggage in use.

The disguise of choice for most of us is to become pretentious. We put on airs of being someone we're not. We create a mask that hides our true feelings, intentions and opinions. We meet others expectations of us by appearing compatible, agreeable and nice. We put on a show of being confident while harboring insecurity and inferiority issues. We invest a lot of energy in making good impressions, keeping up appearances and managing our reputation. We forget we've designed a disguise and then fall for our own illusions. We identify with our mask and turn it into a comfort zone of familiar predictions, transactions and manipulations.

We know we are succeeding when no one sees through our disguise or suspects our coverup. If it appears everyone is playing along with our pretenses and taking our stage performance at face value, we feel safe for the moment. If anyone suspects we are being fake, we are in big trouble. When someone exposes our gambit, we instantly panic and look for an escape. As far we can tell, the danger our designer baggage was created to protect us from, has suddenly shown up on our doorstep. We feel trapped, cornered and extremely vulnerable. Any defensive or aggressive action we take will verify the accuser's suspicions. Our cover seems to be blown and there's nowhere to hide from the danger.

The ultimate solution abandons the disguise we've using to get along with others. We get real and transparent. We come to find the dangers we're avoiding are not nearly as troublesome as those we created by disguising ourselves. We learn to trust ourselves and take risks with others. We give up our apprehensions and restore our explorations. We find out more about ourselves as we expose what's inside us to those who see us differently than we see ourselves. We break out of the stereotype we hid behind and blossom into a multi-faceted human being.

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