In the first article I talked about Tone of Voice as an important part of clear communication and when used sensitively plays a major role in relationship health.
This article continues with the issue of baggage, or better, emotional baggage when considering why arguments can arise in any relationship.
The term emotional baggage is all the negative stuff, you know the stuff I mean, the bad experiences and trauma, that we have collected from the past and internalized. It can be experiences that have had an adverse effect on our self-esteem, or things that we see in movies and hear in songs, and also those things that we experience ourselves in any earlier relationships that we may have had.
The term Relationship Baggage is when we bring our emotional baggage into the relationship like a third party playing ‘gooseberry’. This baggage, if unaddressed, can become a source of communication problems and arguments.
It can be the cause of defensiveness, or hurt pride, lack of trust, over-reaction, over-sensitivity, just to name but a few.
It’s not easy figuring out how to deal with relationship baggage, especially if you’re still in the honeymoon phase. After all, it’s so much more comfortable believing that your partner is this perfect person who’s never been bitter about life or made any mistakes. But that’s not reality.
Don’t be ashamed of your baggage.
Everyone has baggage – what matters is how you deal with it. The best thing any couple can do in terms of personal growth and for the health of your relationship is to discuss baggage openly with each other, and maybe to refer to baggage using different terminology, such as lessons or experiences, or even opportunities for growth.
No-one is perfect, and neither is any relationship. You must remember this whenever you get the feeling that oh-oh, maybe this is not my ideal partner after all. The beauty of the best relationships is the fact that they have weathered the storms together and grown together. You often hear of failed marriages which were never given the chance to really get to know each other, to work through issues and baggage as a way to help each other heal.
So, the following are points should be taken on board and form a natural part of your relationship together…
It’s important to share your past experiences that could affect your current behaviour.
Listen attentively and compassionately.
Everyone has baggage – what matters is how you deal with it. Be open about any issues you may be working on, and that could trigger you in a negative way. Be patient and understanding. Try to remember that all of us are doing the best we can to become a better version of ourselves.
If it ever feels like things can’t get any worse, remind each other of all the reasons why you decided to get together in the first place. Those reasons are hopefully still there and worth fighting for — you just have to keep things in perspective.
At the end of the day, it takes both of you to make things work. More than anything, being able to unpack those bags will make your relationship so much stronger in the end.
To your success…
PS. Get your free copy of ’10 Ways To Create A Positive, Intimate Relationship’ here.