I am many things. A wife, mother, administrator, daughter, sister, and student of life. Of all these things, I am a woman that was once a girl. I have baggage for sure and some bags are heavier than others. I put a bag down, and someone hands me another one. I used to take hold of this luggage without a second thought.
Guys and gals called me ugly, and made fun of my clothes, I hold the bag.
My father wasn’t around for me growing up, I hold the bag.
My mother has five children that she struggled to raise and made me the de facto help mate in the absence of a husband, I hold the bag.
Boyfriend cheats on me with another woman, and gets her pregnant…you get it.
It took me a long time to learn that I am not responsible for other people’s opinions of me, nor am I responsible for their problems with me. Especially if they don’t communicate with me openly and fairly before the bottom falls out. Their shortcomings and misfortunes do not have to become my own. That surely set me up for a heart full of anger.
I became short, testy, impatient, and held impossible expectations up to people like a tailored garment, in hopes that they would get it. That by simple osmosis and brain power, they would understand that they upset me with the way that they behaved, because I would never do that to them. Hoping to a fault that they would realize that I was wounded too, and because I loved them, they would love me just the same, despite our flaws. SIKE!! It almost never turned out that way, and I set myself up for a myriad of disappointments which almost lead to me ending my own life.
I had to take a step back, and stop trying to be the bandage for everyone’s issue with me, themselves, or anyone else.
One day, I was talking to a friend, and she expressed that she is always disappointed or let down by something her boyfriend did or didn’t do, and how he grew up with a foul-mouthed father, that put he and his brothers down whenever he had a chance. It was almost a competition. She said, “It’s strange, but I feel like he is competing with me, or putting down my accomplishments, but always talking about his own. He never asks me about my day, or rubs my shoulders, and I do it for him all the time. We both work. It’s not fair.”
I laughed a little because being the highly empathic, intuitive and critical person that I am, I picked apart her complaint quickly because it mirrored my own, and I have stuck to this advice for the past two years: “People are gonna people.”
Besides being grammatically incorrect, it is true. People are going to do, what they are so inclined to do, based on their beliefs and baggage. Something does not come from nothing, and I had to learn that if a person chooses to mistreat me, it is a choice that they make due to beliefs and baggage. That has absolutely nothing to do with you. It is simply a reflection of what they are inside. When we were kids, i remember saying “I’m rubber, you’re glue, whatever you say, bounces off me, and sticks to you!” That is literally what happens with baggage. If a person has a problem with me that they choose not to express directly to me, especially if we can be candid, then I DO NOT HOLD THE BAG. It belongs to them. Anyone who chooses to impose their rights and opinions on you, does so, only because they are tired of carrying all of those heavy bags, and they see something in you that looks light and free-handed.
Claim your own baggage by taking responsibility for your part in the matter. It’s so easy to come from an emotional place when your arms are tired. Stop the cycle. Don’t let people put their bags in your hands. Instead, show them the cart that gives them the leverage to carry them with dignity and ownership. Perhaps then people won’t people so darn much.