June 7, 2023

Dropping the Carry-On

I was recently in a heated discussion with a friend about an event that happened years ago. The details are irrelevant but he was still so upset about what happened. The actual issue was solved, no one lost money, no one got hurt, but he has been carrying this around for about a decade.

I told him that we could get the top class from Harvard, the brightest scientists from NASA, and the most talented business leaders from the Fortune 500, and we would be able to do nothing about changing the past. And it finally hit him. He agreed and discovered he was carrying around resentment or whatever it was because of ego. He was stuck in the spot where he was before this innocuous event occurred. It had absolutely nothing to do with what happened and everything to do with his reaction. 

Let it go

It got me wondering how often we do that. Big or small, something happens. And years later when it's no longer even important, we have galvanized a story in our minds of what may or may not have happened. Eckhardt Tolle once said the past is what we recall, the future will never arrive, and all we have is now.

It's true but not easy to grasp when you add in human emotions, winning or losing, and results. A friend used to say a phrase that made me upset which is - it will be whatever it is according to the outcome. Also true. But also hard to grasp.

Two guys, one girl, and a bike

So how do we let go of all this unnecessary emotional carry-on luggage in our lives? It seems if we just decide to drop it, it's dropped. It's akin to forgiveness. Once you forgive, you move on. It's done. We waste so much time trying to rewrite history and protect ourselves instead of moving on.

Think about the last time you recounted a story from your childhood to a friend. We humans have this tendency to exaggerate both negative and positive experiences. My friend David didn't break my bike, I did, but I told my mom it was his fault then convinced myself it was true. We were five. 

I met David for lunch years later and he brought up the story. He was laughing about how that bike was so important to me back then. He did steal my first girlfriend in grade two but I've been able to let that slide.

Less baggage does wonders for our journey.
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