HOW MUCH BAGGAGE ARE WE SCHLEPPING AROUND?

We all have our baggage and it usually does not get less with age… So how do we deal with all that baggage we have collected thoughout our life?

There are several options as to what we can do:

  1. We leave it on the baggage carousel hoping that someone will come and take it away and destroy it – good luck!
  2. We take it off the carousel and schlepp it around with us, hoping it will somehow take care of itself – spoiler alert, it usually doesn’t!
  3. We take it off the carousel and start sorting it out step by step and get rid of as much of it as possible.

Option a. is usually a bad idea. Since when does some knight in shining armour come along to solve all our problems? Ignoring our baggage will only ensure that we are stuck and will not move forward in our life, making ourself feel like a hamster in a wheel – going absolutely nowhere… Sometimes ignorance can be bliss but rarely when it comes to our own life.

Option b. is not much better than option a. – although slightly less naive. When we keep schlepping the same old baggage with us it will at some point weigh us down and make us utterly miserable. We may even carry it as a trophy, justifying failure, self-pity and even bad behavior. We follow a pattern and even make ourself comfortable, snuggling into our access baggage. The trouble is that at a certain point the load of baggage becomes so enormous that it threatens to overwhelm and smother us. The worst part though is that we tend to unload this baggage on others as we are so easily triggered. This may result in missed chances or broken relationships. Don’t ever let it get that far. I know what I am talking about…

 

At a certain point I went for Option c. For so many years I carried my sad stories around with me, victimizing and justifying myself. At a certain point I even bored myself to death with it and was ashamed that I had used them as excuses for such a lot of things. I got over it (well most of it), I worked through it (hell yes, it’s painful), I got help where I could not cope alone (it was sometimes humiliating, which in retroperspective was just in my head).

What really helped me make that decision many years ago was actually the discovery of the Enneagram. It enabled me to take action and take my baggage off the belt and start looking through it, taking a step back and approaching it without the nagging emotions connected. At first this might be overwhelming but I just took out one piece at a time and definded if I need to work on it or with it or if it can just be filed under “experience”. I made the decision to not use my baggage as an excuse for the things that have gone wrong in my life anymore.

Does this process ever end?

I think not, at least not as long as we actually live a life. We will always have things that stay with us forever but I believe it is important to try and not let them out on others. And if we do, help them understand why we are reacting the way we do. We all have things in our lives that trigger reactions – the good and the ugly ones. It can be a song, a scent, the way something is said that can set you off. If we expect understanding, help others understand us… Just see it as work in progress.

The baggage that yoweu are schlepping around with us is usually not all negative and I believe it is important to concentrate on the good and understand and work through the ugly. Understand ourself a little better and the most important part is to be (sometimes brutally) honest with ourself.

Just don’t let the ugly define your life and who you are… You do have a choice (even if you cannot always see it right away)!

You

are

much

stronger

than

you

think!

WHAT IS A HEALTHY WAY TO COMMUNICATE?

There is one thing in our everyday lives that is probably the most important. In my practice I speak a lot about the importance of healthy communication. But what on earth does that even mean?

 

Essentially it can mean something very different to everyone, depending on what type you are on the Enneagram and what your preferences in communication are… Frustrating, isn’t it? But it’s true, we all have different ways of communicating and expressing ourselves. I have even started to write about it and hope to finish it sometime…

How to get men to talk

or

How men and women can communicate

People who know me personally know that I really love to talk and I will be the first to admit that no everything coming out of my mouth is gold. But I do have a huge amount of empathy and I am genuinely interested in people – which is a great help in my work as an iEQ9 Enneagram Practitioner.

As I really like things to be as simple as possible I would like to give a short guideline or some ‘rules’ if you like, for a healthy way to communicate. I must state that I did not come up with these but I would like to give you my short and simple interpretation of them. I am talking about the 4 ‘M’s’

Message – what is said

Matter – does it matter

Method – how is the message delivered

Moment – is it the right moment

Let’s begin with the Message: ever so often we get caught up in what we want to say. We sort of know what it is but have no real idea how to verbalise it. So why not either write it down first or even say it out loud – no worries, talking to yourself is alright als long as you don’t expect a reply. Start worrying though when you start hearing replies  – several times.

This brings us to the second ‘M’, Matter. This may actually be the most important one. We are more often than not, stuck in our heads. So when you know what the message is to be then it is great to dive in a bit deeper and check the facts. Is your message of real relevance? How much of what you want to say is happening in the real world and how much is just taking place in your own head. When you have sorted that out and have found that it does matter (does it really, perhaps check again to be sure), then proceed to the next ‘M’.

Method: how a message is delivered has a great influence on the outcome of a conversation. It can be the difference between a constructive conversation or an enormous fight (or anything in between). You most likely know the person you want to talk to and finding the right approach is key. Some people need the full monty, honest and even brutal and others might need some more sugar coating. We usually know quite well how we can trigger people we know well but we should avoid abusing this knowledge to manipulate someone. At the end of the day, whether sugar coated or not, being honest and fair is usually the best way to go.

Only one ‘M’ to go now, the Moment. Timing is everything! I know how hard it is to hold back when you feel you have a pressing matter you want to desperately talk about. But really consider the options. If you say it in the absolute wrong moment it may all be in vain. Is there ever a perfect moment?  No, hardly ever! There are really bad moments though and you should try to avoid those – for example when your partner comes home from work after a really bad day and is in a foul spirit. Chances of a fight are very high. On the other hand, when you find that good (or at least better) moment, you may actually be able to resolve your issue.

I know this all may be nothing new, it may not be fancy or even innovative, but sometimes it helps to be reminded of a possible approach to communicating in a constructive and healthy way…

Be creative…