Do we practise what we preach when it comes to emotional baggage?

When it comes to this relationship phenomenon, one study says we can hypocritical.
emotional baggage

We’ve been taught that loving someone also means loving everything they come with – emotional baggage and all. However, a surprising new statistic has revealed that when it comes to this mantra, we might not be practising what we preach.

Whether you’ve been scarred by a past relationship, or you have issues that you just can’t seem to move past, we all carry emotional baggage to a certain extent.

A recent study conducted by eharmony revealed that 47 per cent of people admitted having emotional baggage they will take into their next relationship

However, 58 per cent said they would judge potential partners on their past and would not consider pursuing a relationship if they believed partners had ‘too much’ personal baggage.

What is emotional baggage?

With so many of us carrying emotional baggage, and even more of us hesitant to engage with those carrying it, it’s good to understand what this phenomenon is.

Emotional baggage is the colloquial term for negative experiences and trauma that we’ve experienced in childhood, past relationships and other parts of life. As we live through these unpleasant experiences, we can carry bad memories and learned behaviour into new parts of life.

When left unresolved, these memories and behaviours can in turn have a negative affect on future relationships and interactions. 

Whilst emotional baggage varies person to person, examples of this phenomenon can include low self-esteem, anger issues and trust issues. 

emotional baggage

Is emotional baggage a bad thing?

If emotional baggage isn’t properly dealt with, it can lead to destructive behaviours that could potentially impact future relationships. However, with that said, though it generally has negative connotations, emotional baggage isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, 67 per cent of people admitted that baggage isn’t a deal breaker when it comes to relationships.

Recognising what is responsible for our baggage can also help us be more selective about future partners and avoid falling into destructive relationship patterns. 

This sentiment was reflected in eharmony’s study which found that nearly four-in-five (78 per cent) want to better themselves as they head into new partnerships. Similarly, three-quarters (75 per cent) felt they would be more self-aware given what they’d previously experienced.

“It’s encouraging to see such a large number of survey respondents being completely open – even if it’s not flattering – and reflecting on their shortcomings in previous relationships and wanting to apply their learning to be a better partner in future,” eharmony relationship psychologist Sharon Draper says.

“So-called ‘baggage’ comes in many forms and levels of impact, so it’s not simply a case of giving the advice to ‘let it go’ or, conversely, to double-down on your intuition, but having strong self-awareness is an important ingredient to developing positive relationships as it helps to cultivate empathy and understanding.”

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