Got Baggage?

Recently a close friend referred to needing to end the pursuit of a love interest because they had too much “baggage”. I understood immediately this was not the literal possession of a vast number of suitcases. It was a representation of emotions, feelings, hurts, or misperceptions that someone carries with them long after the event that elicited such emotions or jaded views. But I assume it can also mean more tangible things like kids, debt, exes, and the like. To be honest with you, I never gave much thought to the specifics of what that meant till I heard it this time.

The first thought that popped into my head was not this new realization that I had a fuzzy understanding of what that word conveyed. The first thought was that we all have baggage of some type, whether we recognize and admit it or not. So, the idea of finding someone with no baggage is unrealistic and absurd. But my friend did not say they needed someone with no baggage, just that this person had ‘too much’. They wanted someone with less baggage.

It strikes me odd that we have this unspoken measure of someone’s suitability as a partner. For one, it assumes that we see all the baggage they have, even the emotional baggage which can lie dormant and unnoticed for long periods of time. Only surfacing when situations or outcomes mirror the previous event which gave birth to them. It also assumes that once someone has a piece of baggage, they will never learn to set it down. And that I know has no truth to it. We all pick up and set down these pieces through the span of our lives. Sure, some are very heavy, hard to find, and extremely difficult to put down. But they can all be left behind at the station with work and understanding.

If conversation and honest communication results in the belief that these issues are long term or worse permanent, and they are issues you cannot handle in supporting your partner, than maybe it is best to end things early. If you can’t have an open and honest conversation about these things with a prospective partner, you both need to look elsewhere. That type of communication is a requirement for any longevity in personal relationships. I am sure I have my own set of things I do not want to be a part of my daily life.

But to think that who someone is all someone can ever be is shortsighted and flawed. To give permanence to things they may well be aware of and working to remove from their lives is not realistic presumption. It may be hard, in the throes of infatuation and physical attraction, to voice concern about the things that trouble you about their lives, but I promise they want to know. They maybe aware of these issues and working frantically to put them out of their lives. They may be unaware that there is any real issue, as they seem to live with it successfully. And bringing awareness to what you perceive as a fault, will not always be a problem in their view. But at least they will be aware that there are parts of their life you have issue with and are unwilling to accept.

This is not setting some grand expectations for your partner that may be unattainable to them or trying to change someone. It is just being our true selves knowing that anything less will likely end in failure. They may well have a list for you too. I hope so. As this will help you understand how it feels when you are measured this way. Because we all have some baggage. All of us. I have a trunk of my own I am certain. Are we just as happy to have who we are be determined by this short list of traits or qualities?

This compatibility is what is left when we have already determined they are smart enough, beautiful enough, sexy enough, etc. Those things that remain, left or formed by past conditions or events, is where emotions and feelings become the measure. Certainly, you should avoid anything you think is permanent and you are incapable of dealing with or working through with a partner. All that is understandable, and I am, in no way, trying to set you up for failure. You have perfectly measured how ‘right’ this person is for you as a partner. What you have not determined, is anything else. Your ‘not right’ is not there ‘not right’, or anyone else for that matter.

If you find someone who is ‘perfect’ for you. No baggage, or at least, of a size and shape you can handle. I hope that this perfection never changes, but I promise you it will. You at some point will have to handle some baggage that didn’t even exist when you first met. This will be those times you have the opportunity to be a supportive and loving partner as you help them cope with the remainder of unresolved feelings.

No matter how perfect they appear to you now, that view will change. And no matter how imperfect they are to you, that will change to. You can be a part of that change in a positive way or walk away from it with no remorse. There is no blame in either course of action.

Being measured in a moment by things that have taken a lifetime seems unjust and unfair. Maybe that is just the way we are, but it is not the way we have to be.

5 Responses to “Got Baggage?”
  1. An excellent read! It contains so much truth! And I agree that communication is necessary to understand another’s baggage enough to choose if you can accept it.

  2. Reblogged this on Ramblings and Ruminations and commented:
    This is so powerful that I wanted to share it with my readers as well!

  3. We all have baggage, very true! We just need to decide if we love that person enough to overlook it and accept them for all that they are 🙂 Wholesome post.

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