What’s in your bag?

“Getting the bag” is a term that is used now-a-days to describe a person attaining financial means by using personal skills or talents to obtain security and stability. However, very few people are interested in ensuring that what is in the bag is safe and secure. The bag in this case symbolizes the heart and mind. Have you ever done a self-assessment to evaluate the matters of your heart? Well, let us take a deeper look into what contents may be inside your bag.


Everyone in this life has experienced emotional trauma and/or an issue that may be unsettling in your mind and heart. These emotional issues, if left unresolved, can be referred to as emotional baggage. Emotional or psychological baggage is a universal terminology most used for any emotional unresolved traumatic experience that can be caused throughout your childhood or adult life.


Examples of emotional trauma may include and are not limited to, a bad breakup, divorce, sexual abuse, physical abuse, abandonment, and neglect. I have found in my career as a mental health clinician that people have difficulty releasing emotional baggage and sometimes choose to hold on to the heaviness due to the lack of knowledge, inaccessibility to available resources, lack of skills to support breaking free, and/or they have become comfortable in their dysfunction. As a result, the baggage is carried to various areas in their lives and has negatively impacted them mentally.


In my clinical opinion, being stuck with heavy baggage causes complacency. However, be encouraged by choosing to lay down every weight that so easily besets you. Life is a journey that we all are traveling, and we must pack lightly. There is absolutely no need to carry old issues into new territory. Many have held on for years, even decades creating patterns of unhealthy experiences. When will you release, I know your arms are growing tired? Yes, on the outside your bag may be decorated so nice and neat, however the inside may be worn and unattractive.


It is simply amazing to me how humans tend to point out the pain or trauma in the next person but ignore and suppress what belongs to them. It is always a best practice to take ownership of your own baggage instead of claiming someone else’s. This pattern of denial is a toxic trait that should be dismissed immediately.


I understand that unpacking your trauma is not an easy task to accomplish, however it is doable. And based on personal experience, the process may be frightening but rewarding. I am reminded of this quote, “Anything in life worth having is worth fighting for.” I declare that you deserve healing and total recovery from those painful experiences. Think of it this way, your emotional baggage is not holding you, you are holding it. Once you release that heaviness, you will be able to move forward with grace and freedom.


Below are healthy ways to release emotional baggage and maintain mental freedom:



- Identify there are unresolved issues that have impeded your physical and emotional growth.


- Create a support system filled with family, friends, and a mental health professional who all are equally as invested in your healing journey as you are.


- Make a commitment to do your healing work by engaging in group or individual therapy.


- Unpack trauma one bag at a time because it is easy to become overwhelmed by taking on too much.


- Be authentic and honest with yourself and others regarding your unresolved emotional trauma, the feelings associated, and where you are in the healing process.


- Be kind and patient with yourself.


- Maintain your healing by making choices that will promote personal growth.


- Always remember that emotional freedom is a gift, do not reject it.



If you feel that you are struggling mentally and physically with releasing emotional baggage, please reach out for help. You do not have to encounter this journey alone. I am a mental health advocate, and I am dedicated to assisting in any manner. I can be reached at (702) 439-9358 or [email protected].




ABOUT THE AUTHOR: LaTonya R. Gaston, Ph.D. is the author of Journey to Wellness “Becoming a Better You”, which is a self-help guide and journal to assist you on the journey to healing and wellness. For additional information about this and other projects, please visit http://latonyagaston.com.