Baggage Handling 101: Claiming Ownership

Here’s a new entry in the Baggage Handling series…

“I don’t want someone with a bunch of drama in my life!”

Every time I hear a guy or a girl say this when talking about the pursuit of a partner, it makes me laugh uncontrollably. before you go off thinking that I am being mean, hear me out for a sec. I’m not laughing at the person, just the nature of the implication of how unrealistic that expectation can be,

Even though I’m not a relationships expert, it sounds like a mild case of glass house syndrome to me. While I will let the more adventurous of you hit the archives for the “Glass House Syndrome” entry, I will say this: unmet expectations can create the most enormous forms of luggage in life, especially in relationships.

Every time I hear people talk about “drama” like this it reminds me of one of my favorite dating shows: Baggage – hosted by Jerry Springer. Basically it was a dating show where the catch/person looking for a date has to pick through the baggage of 3 persons to find the one that has the least amount baggage they can handle. Here’s the twist – at the end of the show that final person chosen gets to see that one large piece of baggage that the catch is carrying. So they get the ultimate choice as to date them or not.

Now, I never caught an episode where the catch in the end got rejected, but it got me thinking. Firstly, it’s seems like a violate mix of expectations ready to collide: who would you feel if on national TV someone rejected your baggage? Secondly, how wise it is to know SOME of these things at the outset? Shouldn’t you have the right to “ease” someone into certain parts of your life, deciding if they get to know certain things about you along the way?

It’s not really about lying or keeping secrets. Sometimes there are legit reasons for the experiences we have had, and the bags that have created from them. Truthfully enough, if we took a moment to look at the “drama” in our lives and then, we might stand a better chance of being what we want, and knowing when to let some one see what baggage we have in our emotional closets.

Dare I say that at times we are even the own architect of the same drama that we seemingly do not seek from others.

Personally, I love drama in my life. I don’t like things too quiet and I don’t like it too spicy – as I still believe that there is a time and place for everything. Still, the type of drama I like is usually the stuff around positive achievements. So yes, I like the drama of chasing my goals, cheering my friends onwards to success and standing behind a family member or partner as they achieve a dream. I like the thrill of laughing in the face of adversity and that moment of triumph that makes the feeling of accomplishment taste so much sweeter.

The type of drama some say they don’t want in their lives is really extra stressors. Stress and adversity are as a part of life as are death and taxes. There is no way getting around them. What they could be saying is that they want someone who copes better under stress, who knows how to hold their own in the face of adversity and not buckle under the pressure. This is all fine and dandy, but where are you in this picture? Are you standing on the sidelines, idly waiting by for the person to clear the way for you? Or are you knee-deep in the muck and mire with a helping hand outstretched or some sort of words of encouragement?

With all the glitz and glamour and instant gratification running around in society, many of us have gone away from rolling up our sleeves and handling our own baggage by claiming ownership. We are seemingly too quick to dump things off onto others and one of those things is our unrealistic expectations in the twin pursuits of attention and affection.

So are you saying that it is OK for your partner not to have any drama but they need to be able to put up with your shit quite readily too? What if you’re the one bringing in the heavy expensive designer emotional bags to the relationship? Sometimes people are lugging around with some heavy bags and they chose to either minimize or ignore them, fully believing that the other stuff they bring to the table will outweigh those bags.

If you’ve never supported your self in chasing after your own goals, you will never know how to really support a partner. If you’ve never really learned from your own mistakes and are stuck in an unhealthy cycle, you cannot pull anyone out of their own ruts. If you’ve never taken the time to really love yourself, then all you will know how to do is love and exploit what people can do for you, and not love them for who they are.

It’s not enough to know what your baggage is when it comes to relationships and other aspects of life. If you don’t take ownership of your bags, it makes it harder for those around you to uplift you in times of need, and to fully love you for who you are. Heaven knows we all have our own bags to carry. It just makes things easier when we don’t have to carry the burdensome pieces of someone else who doesn’t true take ownership of their shit. While the process of ownership can be difficult, you would be surprised of what happens when you show someone you care by helping them carry their own bags and by how you carry your own.

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