I’m fascinated by the power of emotions. They can move you to action and freeze you into inaction.
Just think about that for a moment. Think about how prior experiences affect your current actions. Can you think of any examples? What about some of your fears? Where did they come from? My guess is you can trace your fears back to some event in your life which caused you emotional pain.
Apparently, based on fMRI studies of the brain, when we think about and concentrate on the physical pain caused by a previous physical trauma the pain of remembering that physical trauma doesn’t come anywhere near (in terms of magnitude as shown on the fMRI) the emotional (and physical) pain caused by remembering a previous emotional trauma. So, is it possible that the impact of that pain could affect our subsequent behaviour?
Now, let’s continue with this line of thinking. Is it possible that we humans could deflect or deny that pain as a survival tactic ‘in the moment’ and then have it negatively affect our behaviour without our conscious awareness? I think it is not only possible, but I think many of us can think of examples from our own lives.
So, it’s safe to assume that we carry around with us these suitcases filled with emotions from past experiences. And this baggage affects our behaviour. What do we do about this? I think we stop, open up the suitcases and see what’s there. I think many people would rather carry on than stop and look in the suitcases. Too bad, because the benefits of doing so are to bring into conscious awareness how past experiences affect the present day to better understand our own behaviour, so we can deal with our baggage, and the burden becomes lighter.
What do you think? How do you feel about this issue? Do you carry around some unacknowledged baggage?