I spent most of yesterday working on the material that will become a series of animated videos to support anyone seeking to resolve his/her emotional baggage. One facet of yesterday's developments was a framework of ten pitfalls that entice our downfall on the path to resolution. Here's a summary of those foreseeable setbacks in any attempt to get over what happened and get on with one's living a life free of the past.
- Oversimplifying the challenge - Emotional baggage is complex, organic and fully capable of retaliation. When we presume that baggage is either mechanical, straightforward or easily fixed, we've fallen into the pitfall of oversimplification. We'll learn the hard way how defiant the complexity of emotional baggage can be when it gets mistaken for a simple thing.
- Misdiagnosing the symptoms - When we're plagued by unwanted urges, moods, and overreactions, we've got baggage. When we figure out the problem is something wrong with us, we've figured wrongly. We've failed to discover how useful, functional and purposeful those symptoms are to much deeper dynamics.
- Escalating the inner conflict - Baggage sets us up to be at war with ourselves. We're torn between being respectable and urgent. We've fallen into another pitfall when this inner torment goes from bad to worse. Our attempts to stop having the problem can get into sleep disorders, nightmares and chronic anxiety.
- Covering up the deficiency - We make a better impression on people if we don't appear damaged. We assume the baggage might clear up on its own if we act better already. We try to "fake it until we make it" only to find nothing has changed on the inside. We've postponed the resolution of our issues instead of working them through gradually.
- Errors of omission - It's a lot easier to pay attention to what happened than to what didn't happen. Yet, lots of baggage gets formed by unmet dependency needs, a lack of love and other's failure to listen to us, respect us or understand our feelings. We've fallen into another pitfall when we dwell on those tangibles of what people said or did to us.
- Missed opportunities - Baggage closes our minds for safety's sake. We face a new situation with our minds already made up about what this is, what can happen and what never occurs. We fall for our self righteous opinions instead of opening to unforeseen possibilities.
- Conflating facts and meaning - We've fallen into a pitfall when we stick to the facts. We assume incidents can be taken literally, at face value or as they objectively appear. We fail to read into them, see them through several lenses and realize how subjective viewpoints played a part in what happened. We're a poor judge of characters and situations which gets us into more trouble than we bargained for.
- Rotten thinking - Our thinking can get carried away with itself and begin to stink. We're prone to idealizing, awfulizing, catastrophizing and demonizing. We over-generalize sporadic incidents into facts of life that always happen and never happen differently. We rule out reality-checks and get over-ruled by fears when we're in this pitfall.
- Analysis paralysis - The complexity of baggage and the overwhelming nature of its consequences can lead to stagnation. We become immobilized from taking actions, going exploring, making a slight change or getting creative. We become so enthralled with figuring this baggage thing out were left out of vibrant experiences that had our name written on them.
- Designer luggage - We can milk our emotional baggage for all its worth. We use our obvious damage to manipulate others, control situations and take others hostage to our neediness. We identify with being the self-absorbed victim in need of endless sympathy, commiseration and consideration. We've dug a hole deeper than the pitfall we fell into originally.
Each of the pitfalls hit bottom far below our higher ground. There's plenty of room to maneuver within each pitfall that gives us the impression we're not really trapped, stuck or confined. We operating in the dark until we realize we've fallen for some temptation that proved to be our downfall. We'll find our way out once we become disenchanted with the pitfall's lures.