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  • Writer's pictureLauren Drago

When You Want Better, Stop Trying to Take Your Baggage With You

I've moved 6 times within the last 10 years. Five city changes, five apartments, and one house later, I can't even believe it myself. There's a reason everyone groans when they think about moving. Nobody wants to do it.


When you move you've got to pull out all of your crap. Maybe you sort through it to lighten the load. Maybe you stuff it all into boxes and decide to take it with you sight unseen. Regardless, it's the stuff you've crammed into the back of closets, the tiny useless items tossed into the junk drawer "just in case", and the rogue toothbrush and random sock you find under the radiator enveloped in a blanket of dust bunnies....

It's incredible how much we accumulate over time, and how many hiding places we can find for it all.

Ideally, as you prepare to move you toss everything that isn't serving you anymore. It ends up being a lot of stuff. And it's never an easy process. We all want to hang on to our stuff. That's the comfortable place.

Still, as the move approaches you fill trash bags with old notebooks, piles of mail, crusty beauty products, and moth-bitten t-shirts. You post your furniture to Craigslist and plan to take only what you love and ditch the rest, envisioning new items that will look and fit better with the next abode, or that might be of better quality (I'm still fighting against the recurring urge to buy Ikea, when will I learn!?)

As hesitant as you are, and as arduous as it is, when you move you do the clean-out because you don't really want to bring your old, useless, decrepit stuff into your fresh place. It makes sense not to cart what is, effectively, trash.

So what about your emotional house? What happens when you try to move forward in life with all the emotional baggage lurking in the eves? It's kinda tough. Like, really tough. And yet, loads of people try to do this. Every. Dang. Day.

Let's go back to that previous statement above and insert another phrase:

It's incredible how much {emotional baggage} we accumulate over time, and how many hiding places we can find for it all.

If you'd clean your house when you make a move, why would you expect yourself to be able to move forward and experience something different in life without having cleaned your emotional and personal house?

I meet loads of people every day who expect this very thing. They wonder why they're making the same mistakes in their relationships; wondering why they're still feeling stuck on the inside even though they've been working on the outside; wondering why they're anxious or unhappy as they move forward in their life; and on and on and on.

And as life continues to change they wonder why their emotional realities are not changing.

Throughout your whole life it's only natural to accumulate the emotional equivalent of an overstuffed closet, a cluttered junk drawer, that dust-bunny coated toothbrush and sock.

What are those for you?

Perhaps you're not even sure. This is usually where people come to me in my practice in Old Saybrook and in my virtual practices in New York and Pennsylvania. I talk with my clients about their histories, relationships, current life, and desires for the present and future. As I listen, I'm doing the mental match up between what they're bringing from their past and what they're hoping for from their future.

That match up is key. In our sessions, observe out loud how that baggage is serving or not serving my client in living out her hopes and goals. I identify matches and mismatches. I might draw a parallel between something from my client's past she mentioned seven sessions ago and connect it to a challenge that's coming up in her present life.

The most common phrase I hear from my clients is: "I never thought of it that way."

And that, my dear, is exactly why we're doing it together.

This is how we clean the closet. Dump the junk drawer. Sweep out the dust bunnies. Together, we decide what's worth taking. What can be repurposed and what can be tossed (and how we're going to toss it, and then we toss it together).

The person who moves forward with therapy under her belt is a person who is keeping what serves her and who has sorted through and relieved herself of the rest.

Would you dream of moving and taking everything you own with you, sight unseen? Would that feel reasonable or right?

The next time you expect or wish things to be different, consider the cleanliness of your emotional house. Consider what's hiding and where it's been crammed. Consider what would help you take it out and look at it with fresh eyes, talk about it, and think about it in a way that will both change your life and your ability to move forward.

Consider the house you want to live in. Now consider yourself worthy of living in it (because you are). Life gives you the keys to that possibility, and therapy is going to help you pack only the right bags. Call me at 860-339-6515 or click here to get started.

old saybrook therapist counselor

Lauren L. Drago, MSEd, LMHC, LPC is the founder of Lauren Drago Therapy in Old Saybrook, CT and in greater CT, NY & PA. She specializes in working with smart, insightful and capable women to overcome stress, anxiety, loss of identity, self-limiting beliefs, perfectionism, marriage strain, and the pressure of "trying to do it all". Lauren has a passion for helping others to achieve the happy, fulfilling, productive, and meaningful life they deserve by changing how they experience and understand their world. She believes that every woman can and should live out her personal definition of her own best life. Follow Lauren on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Call (860) 339-6515 or email to set up your complimentary initial consultation.

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