Shannon was raised by a mother who constantly put her down. Growing up, she was told she was stupid, lazy, and worthless. She internalized these words and accepted them as truth. As a result, she dealt with poor self-esteem for most of her adult life.
She dealt with the pain by moving from one romantic relationship to the next. She kept waiting for a man to tell her she was worthy, to give her value. But as each relationship would end, she only felt lower.
It wasn’t until Shannon went on a retreat with her best friend that she had the insight that she’d spent years waiting for others to set her free from her mother’s cruel words. That was the day Shannon decided to free herself.
Everyone carries baggage. Like Shannon, it might be due to an emotionally abusive parent or maybe it has to do with a friend’s betrayal or an addiction that you can’t seem to let go of.
Waiting for someone else to set you free can be exhausting and painful. But you don’t have to wait anymore. You are the person you’ve been waiting for. You are the one that can declare you are free from the pain. Setting yourself free might sound radical but it creates so many positive ripples in your life…
Find Inner Peace
The first thing Shannon noticed when she decided to stop seeking validation from others was that she finally felt free. Before she always made decisions based on what she thought her latest boyfriend wanted her to do. This created a constant state of anxiety since she was worried about pleasing someone else.
But by giving herself the validation she needed, she experienced a rush of peace. Now she could make decisions based on what she wanted and what was best for her personal growth.
Discover More Space for Joy
Releasing your baggage means you create more space for joy in your heart and mind. That’s because of the things you’re holding onto clutter your mental and emotional space, keeping you stuck and miserable.
But when you choose to be set free, you let go of that clutter. You surrender it and embrace true joy and happiness.
Explore Your Dreams
When you’re clinging to your baggage, you aren’t truly free to explore your dreams. That’s because you’re carrying around pain and heartache. These things drain your energy and keep you from showing up as your best self.
But letting go means finding the energy to explore your dreams. Maybe you’ll take up painting again. Perhaps you’ll reconnect with your love of writing. Or maybe you’ll find a new dream you didn’t even realize you had.
Honor Your Inner Strength
Many times, holding onto baggage puts us in a victim mindset. You tell yourself that your life is horrible because this person did something terrible to you or because this awful circumstance happened.
But when you choose to step into freedom and find healing, you experience a powerful shift. You’re no longer a victim but a victor. You dig deep and find the inner strength that you always had within you.
Improve Your Self-Esteem
As you begin to recognize your inner strength, something else wonderful happens: your self-esteem improves, too. That’s because, for the first time, you can begin to see yourself clearly.
Often, heartache blinds us to who we truly are. It makes us into pale versions of our best self, and it takes a willingness to surrender our baggage in order to remember who we truly are—strong, bad ass women capable of taking on the world.
Be Kinder to Yourself
As Shannon dealt with her baggage, she noticed a curious thing. She found it easier to be kind to herself. Even when she fell short of her own expectations, she was able to surround herself with love and grace.
When you’re holding onto something painful, it’s easy to become harsh and judge yourself. You’re quick to remember your mistakes and failings and slow to remember the things that make you so amazing.
But when you practice setting yourself free, something awesome happens—you have the freedom to be perfectly imperfect, to accept yourself where you are. That’s a powerful shift that alters how you see yourself!
Let Others In
Pain often means we shut out the very people that can help us. Maybe that means you haven’t sought the help and support you need. You’ve been determined to walk this path on your own even though you would desperately love a friend to be by your side.
When you determine to set yourself free from the pain, you naturally begin reaching out on your journey toward healing. That’s because you instinctively know that healing happens within loving communities.
Letting others in to see our pain and care for our wounds isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s one of strength. It takes a tremendous amount of courage and trust to allow someone else to walk with you as you heal.
Encounter Radical Forgiveness
The more she healed, the easier Shannon found it to forgive her mother. This wasn’t something she did all at once. Rather, it was a process of choosing to forgive her mother for her hurtful words again and again.
Letting go of baggage often means that we let go of our need to blame and accuse others. Instead, we can look at them through a different lens. We recognize that the person that hurt us was in fact just a hurting, flawed human being.
Getting to this place of radical forgiveness isn’t easy. It can be challenging to pardon someone who created so many wounds upon your heart.
Author and therapist, Steven Stosny, explains, “Genuine forgiveness occurs as a byproduct of healing rather than being a cause of it. Attempts to forgive are more likely to impede healing than help it.”
If you truly desire to forgive someone, then your first goal should be healing yourself. Forgiveness will follow in the weeks or months to come.
Love Others Where They Are
When you’re holding onto grudges and pain from your past, it’s hard to see the potential in others. All you see are the flaws, failures, and sins they’ve committed. That’s because your current view is distorted.
But when you practice letting go of your baggage, you view those around you differently. You’re more compassionate and patient. You find it easier to see not only what people are but what they can become, too.
This is a direct result of experiencing growth yourself. Having gone through growth, you now recognize that those you care about like your family and friends are also capable of incredible growth. Knowing this means you’ll give others the space to step into their best selves. In fact, you’ll be able to boldly cheer them on!
You Can Set Yourself Free
Everyone carries something painful with them. This could be money beliefs that are hurting your financial plans, an addiction that’s holding you back from your life, or a friendship that cut you deeply.
But know this today: you don’t have to stay broken. You can make new choices—better choices—that allow you to take back your life. This process doesn’t start with anyone else. It starts with you. You have to declare over yourself, “I am worthy of healing!”