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Helping each other unpack our baggage is the key to a healthy, lasting relationship. Is this what you’re doing for one another or are you hiding your bags in the basement and hoping your partner never discovers what’s in them? We all come into relationship with our own baggage. When we’re first dating, we show our partner the best of who we are, and our rose-colored glasses only allow us to see the best of who they are. Eventually, we decide it’s time to commit and connect on a deeper level.

That’s when we start to see what’s beneath the surface and have to deal with the actual challenges that we are each bringing to the partnership. This is the time when a lot of people pull back on the reins and want to run for the hills. They see their partner isn’t quite as perfect as they’d thought, and that the relationship might be more than they’re willing to invest in.

What’s really going on is the partner who wants to pull back is saying, “Wait a minute, I don’t want to deal with your crap and I’m feeling far too vulnerable to show you mine.” Fear of not being good enough or of being rejected takes over and they either start to judge or run.

All of our emotional baggage that we collect in life is in relationship to other people. And it is only in relationship with others that it can be healed. Sometimes that first “other” is a therapist or a support group of some kind, but however well you do in cleaning up your past, there will always be more to handle that comes up in your most significant relationships.

You have the option to try to ignore your baggage, but the truth is that you’re carrying it around with you in your perspective on life, your physical appearance and health, as well as your finances, relationships and spirit. Some try to hide it with a lot of money or good looks, but let’s face it, those don’t really get us too far in terms of creating a deeply connected, loving relationship that we can trust and rely on.

The results of not unpacking your baggage together is that you don’t ever really connect and open up your hearts to each other. You don’t develop that deep level of compassion, empathy, and trust that offer the greatest rewards.

Being vulnerable and honestly opening up to each other is essential for the kind of life and love you’ve always longed for. If you want a partner that sees and accepts you for who you are, you’ll want to see and accept them for who they are. It’s that old game of, “I’ll show you mine, if you’ll show me yours.”

The result is a much more fulfilling, enriching, healthy, and meaningful life. But what if you have so much baggage that you’re scaring your partners away? Or what if you have a partner who just isn’t willing to play?

If you’re breathing and feeling brave (or even a bit curious), reach out to me and I’ll give you a more in-depth peek of how this all works.