We all carry “baggage” around—the fears, insecurities, grudges, etc., that have been built up since…well, forever. While some people begrudge the heavy load, others build their identity around it, allowing the baggage to represent who they are.

While it is true that who you are right now, in this moment, reflects the sum total of all the experiences and impressions you have gathered since the creation of your pure soul, that reflection, that baggage, is not you anymore than your shirt is.

One metaphor that I use is that when we go to the gym to work out, the goal is to build a beautiful, sound body. When we leave the gym, we leave the dumb bells behind. Similarly, the challenges of everyday life are what shape our character. Yet, when we have completed a life-altering event, we forget that we are to complete and set aside the trauma and emotion, and proceed with our improved character.
Identifying the Baggage

We all have emotional baggage. And we are all works in progress. Our emotions and our bodies are fine-tuned communication devices that can clue us in to issues that need addressing.
Pay attention to your feelings. Examine them. Learn what they are trying to communicate to you. Avoid blaming others for the way that you feel. No one can make you feel anything. Instead, take those feelings deeper asking yourself what it is inside of you that would lead you to feel this way.
If I feel badly when someone criticizes my beliefs, for instance, I am the one who is conditioned or choosing to feel badly. Other choices would be to discount their opinion, find it humorous, stay in curiosity about their opinions, or examine whether there are corrections in my beliefs that would benefit me on my path.

Why choose to feel badly? That would question leads us to the next step. What secondary gains do I have in feeling badly?
Secondary Gains

Awareness Engineering™ is a process for developing sustained alignment between the self and reality. It is an inner adventure in self-discovery, resulting in a deep shift in perspective which adds substance, meaning and purpose to everyday life. The process combines personal philosophical reconstruction with specific proven strategies and techniques for achieving clarity, wellness and fulfillment. The ultimate goal of the process is to provide conscious access to the full spectrum of human potential.

The structure of Awareness Engineering includes some of the more useful tools of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) such as Secondary Gains. This is a proven strategy that consists of four questions that help you get to the roots of your motivations.

The questions are:
1. What is the benefit of _____________(feeling bad)?
2. What is the detriment of __________________(feeling bad)?
3. What would be the benefit of not __________________(feeling bad)?
4. What would be the detriment of not ___________________(feeling bad)?

This technique can easily be applied during a therapy session, and perhaps more importantly, it can be self-administered nearly any time, anywhere. To obtain the benefits of this technique, you can follow these simple steps. Choose any topic that is giving you trouble or think of a decision that you need to make. Be as honest with yourself as you possibly can be while answering the above four questions, as you are the primary beneficiary of the knowledge and understanding this can lead to.

This exercise works for nearly a multitude of issues. You can apply Secondary Gains when you feel stubborn, angry, sad, offended, prejudice, phobic, fearful, resentful, revengeful, anxious or nervous. You can also turn to Secondary Gains with issues of overeating, smoking, fibromyalgia, headaches, chronic fatigue, addictions, alcohol abuse, sexual promiscuity, financial destitution, acne, and skin problems. The list is truly endless, so feel free to use Secondary Gains whenever you wish to deal with your baggage.

Awareness of the answers to the four questions will provide you with the opportunity to seek other ways of satisfying the needs revealed. In doing so, it will be easier to leave behind all that emotional baggage.

For more information, please visit on the website: http://www.maryleelabay.com

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Mary Lee LaBay, Ph.D., serves the community through her innovative work as a psychologist and hypnotherapist, facilitating gentle, yet effective solutions to physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual crisis and evolution. Named among the Top 100 Thought Leaders by Personal Excellence Magazine, she maintains a private practice in Bellevue, WA. She may be reached at 866.440.4242.