Have baggage?

2012-07-17 11:20



Have baggage?

Reader question:

Please explain “baggage” in this sentence: We all have baggage. It’s time to heal and let go.

My comments:

Here “baggage” is a figure of speech, referring to some sort of hurtful past experience.

The Chinese used to say that once bitten (by a snake), twice shy (of a rope). That fear of the snake is an emotional baggage which lingers on and is hard to purge.

We all carry a baggage of one sort or another. It is, in fact, part and parcel of our upbringing. As we grow up, we hear people – parents and teachers – tell us what to do (and what not to do) all the time and often times we take it for granted. We do what we are told to do without questioning whether what we are told is correct or whether they even have a right to tell us what to do or not to do in the first place. This is only natural of course. As we become adults, we often are able to tell the difference and learn to discard some of the teachings we have learned. For example, we have always been told that education pays. But once into society, we find it not to be the case at all. The mailman makes more money, for example, than the average post graduate. Therefore, we learn to modify our former blind belief in education by stopping reading any books from now on forwards.

I’m kidding, of course. Education, especially self-education at work, still pays if you ask me – in more ways than one, as a matter of fact. But you have got to be flexible. The traditional book worm, for example, is probably out of fashion everywhere. Therefore, it is important to modify our previous faith in books, especially books that we read in school.

Anyways, blind faith in school education is a baggage a lot of people carry into adult life. If they don’t drop this baggage, they may find it hard to cope with life in the work place.

Some kinds of baggage are tougher to rid off than others, of course. Emotional trauma, for instance, is hard to cure. People with hurtful relationship experiences, for example, find it hard to trust other people, and I don’t even have to give an example, do I?

In other words, it’s really difficult to let go.

Yet, obviously it is important to let go.

The emotional baggage we carry, you see, is likened to the luggage we carry in tow as we travel. And those of you who have travelled carrying six large bags surely know how difficult that is to move about.

Therefore, it is important to discard the luggage whenever necessary. Zen masters used to tell a story of the traveler refusing to let go of his luggage and it runs more or less thus. Once, the said traveler was to cross a river but there were no ships around. So he picked up logs and tree branches and made himself a craft. Using this craft, he was able to make it across the river. Once he was on the other side of the bank, however, he put the craft on the shoulder and walked on.

Sure enough, he would not be able to walk long before finding the craft to be more and more burdensome. Once he crossed the river, you see, the craft had outlived its usefulness. He should have let it go. But he couldn’t, because of what Buddhists call attachment.

Ah, well, here are media examples of our contemporaries who have baggage:

1. Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor’s relationship is worsening day by day. Their romance may have run its race with Kareena finding Saif’s unceasing attention oppressive rather that thrilling.

According to our source, insecure Saif keeps calling Kareena on her mobile to keep tab on her and recently while the two were in a party Saif even didn’t let Kareena chat with her female friends.

This disturbed Kareena so much that she asked Saif to leave the party saying that his attention suffocated her.

Well, it’s really hard to understand this pretty lady since she had gone through a similar kind of problem in her past relationship with Shahid Kapoor. Over there, Kareena was the insecure one while Shahid was a chilled out guy.

We would have to wait and see how this relationship shapes up in the coming future. Meanwhile looking at their past we all know that both Saif and Kareena carry a baggage of failed relationships.

- Saif and Kareena relationship is worsening day by day? Bharatwaves.in, May 28, 2008.

2. As Republicans throughout Florida head to the polls to select their choice for the GOP’s presidential candidate, many are facing a difficult dilemma. While each candidate has different positions, they all have baggage that makes them less attractive against an increasingly strong sitting Democratic president.

Mitt Romney, the apparent front runner, now leading his closest challenger in Florida by double-digits, is seen as the only ‘electable’ candidate by many Republicans, in that many believe that he could defeat President Obama in November. His critics, including Newt Gingrich, have labeled him to be a divisive venture capitalist, an elitist and a moderate. They use the Massachusetts state-mandated health insurance system, passed under Romney, the then-governor, as a means of equating him to Obama’s health care plan....

Newt Gingrich, the fiery former Speaker of the House, remembered for his leadership in 1994’s GOP Contract with America, seems like the perfect conservative. In terms of his position on many issues, he may just be the perfect conservative. Yet it is not his platform that seems to drag him down – rather it’s the perception of him as a person and in the context of his challenging Obama for the White House.

Gingrich has character issues. His challengers have harped on his less than stellar departure from the House of Representatives, after stepping down from the Speaker position and being found guilty of ethics violations. Then there is his former affiliation with Freddie Mac. Romney’s attacks on Newt, particularly in Florida, describing him as receiving millions of dollars from the mortgage giant when millions of Floridians were losing their homes to foreclosure, has been particularly successful. With nearly one-quarter of the foreclosures in the nation taking place right here in Florida, this criticism is one that most Floridians can sympathize with.

Beyond that, however, his personal life seems to defy typical conservative values. Newt, now married to his third wife, Calista, has had two failed marriages – not due to disagreements or personality conflicts – but due to infidelity – his infidelity. To make matters worse, while he criticized then-President Bill Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewinsky, Newt was himself cheating on his wife. As if that was not bad enough, he was having this affair after she was diagnosed and receiving treatment for cancer....

Rick Santorum, the late-announced winner of the Iowa caucuses, is also often viewed as the ever-perfect conservative. Santorum’s campaign has played it safe, choosing not to be too aggressive or to attack his competitors too harshly. While playing the nice guy and talking about his virtues may work up north, Florida Republicans are cut-throat. They want decisive, fierce and unashamed leaders. That’s why we have Rick Scott as our governor, after all.

- Florida Republicans face a dilemma on primary day, Examiner.com, January 31, 2012.

3. Your emotional health is not like your physical health. You cannot see it explicitly but experience it from within. Just like a cut or bruise on your body ends healing, your emotional healing is essential to cure the emotional bruises you have. You must never carry a baggage of hurt and psychological injury with you. If you do, then you will start developing symptoms of depression. Thus, best person to judge your emotional health is you.

Do you get hurt easily and brood over things for a long time? Do you also feel that your life is a baggage? If yes, then you are in dire need of emotional healing. Here are some ways that will surely improve your emotional health.

Insecurity is the first step to insanity. If you are a kind of person who gets easily hurt by what others say then you are probably also a very insecure person. We get adversely affected by what people say only when we have insecurities within ourselves. For example, you have been worried about putting on weight and your friends says in jest, "there comes the fatso". It immediately hurts you. But, if you think and feel great about yourself, you friends or anybody for that matter will have no power to hurt you.

Turn a deaf ear. Yes, I know, it is easier said than done. But if you can get rid of your insecurities to improve your emotional strength, then you can master this step too. When we pay attention to malicious comments of others, we simply give them the power to hurt us. Keep that power within you and use it as a shield against the world.

Laugh at yourself. Once you manage to do this, the world can't laugh at you any more. If your colleagues laugh at you for being bald, join them in a laughter and poke more fun at yourself. Your tormentors will soon realise that it takes lot of courage to make fun of yourself and none at all to make fun of others.

- Ways To Improve Your Emotional Health, BoldSky.com, July 6, 2012.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


Don't expect anyone to cut you any slack

An idea whose time has come

羊群心理 Herd instinct

Safe and sound?

(作者张欣 中国日报网英语点津 编辑:陈丹妮)



















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