I had a coaching session recently. I am trying to get a client past a roadblock of self-belief. We had a conversation about work-life balance, and he broke down and mentioned that he had been worried lately about his dad due to different situations that occurred. He explained that his dad is a workaholic, that work gives him purpose.

Growing up, his dad worked all the time, and my client knew he didn’t want to be that. He wants to have a life with his family and not be working all the time. Through this process, I got to a take a peek into a layer of his inner world that he was experiencing that affects him and his belief about how he would like his life with his family to be different based on his past experiences.

This makes me ask some questions: Are we all living the best life that we ever dreamed of? Are you a happy or bitter person? Are you forgiving or resentful most of the time.? Are you content with your life or is nothing ever good enough for you? Do you know that our perception creates our reality — good or bad?

But how is our perception created in the first place?

The reality is that our worldview is made up of all of our experiences during our childhood. The experiences we went through shape our perception of the world. Thus, life experiences create baggage. Events, people, feelings and situations trigger feelings, and feelings cause a reaction, positive or negative. Those experiences stay with us and create lenses through which we view the world, and thus create our reality.

The negative baggage we accumulated in life creates fear, anxiety, stress, judgment and emotional trauma, and this creates mindset and our perception of life. The lenses in which we see the world are taken into every context in our life and that’s what makes you YOU. Negative baggage in our life affects our ability to live our best life because of the way we see the world, but the reality that we believe is true might not be the real truth, because our ego is blinding us from having an open mind to a different truth, a different reality.

Do you know that a cluttered mind is a result of cluttered emotions, or vice versa? The most important work you must do to clear mental and emotional baggage is to be open to the possibility that there is another way to see the world. Then, begin to add mindfulness in every aspect of your life. Be aware of the emotions that you are feeling. Instead of reacting to them, slow yourself down to begin to be in the moment with your feelings. Take a look at your feelings from the outside and open your mind to understanding the true meaning of why you are feeling the way you are feeling and what traumatic event in the past might have created and triggered the emotion.

The next important work you must do for yourself is to know who you are. What is your expectation of yourself and what are your core values and what makes you you? Not what others tell you that you are or what you think you are but who you know you are at your very core — and let that guide you. That requires you to be still and to listen to yourself. Ask yourself if the emotions you are feeling are a reflection of who you really are inside. If it is not, then go back and resolve those feelings that were triggered by the event, person or situation, understand it and make peace with it.

Now that you are aware of the feeling and understand it, rewire yourself with a new positive emotion. Do this work with every area of your life and you will notice that you feel lighter and happier by doing the work of getting to know yourself. The emotional baggage that you come with requires you to do some inner work of understanding where those feelings stem from and what triggers the feelings.

Once you recognize your triggers, now it is time to take action and live your truth. Living your truth and being your best self might mean making tough, mindful decisions by possibly removing toxic and negative people who are in your life. It might mean avoiding situations that trigger your emotions. It might mean being proactive versus reactive about your feelings by creating a new mindset.

Most importantly, to live your best life and to remove baggage requires you to take time to know yourself, to be still, be kind and to forgive yourself. Take time to meditate to find your inner peace in the chaotic world. Put yourself first, take care of yourself and then take care of others.

Understand that your world is your perception and that perception is an illusion that causes us to carry unnecessary baggage that doesn’t add to our being. Have the courage to look past your perception. Have an open mind to the possibility of a different way of living and begin to understand the role you play in the bigger picture. Then mental clarity and emotional freedom will come to you. Happiness from within will emerge and you will then be living your best life, free from mental and emotional baggage.

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