No one likes heavy luggage. It’s a pain to drag around, it gets in the way of everything, it slows you down, and by the end of the day, you’re exhausted from carrying it around. Sometimes, a person will come around to help you. Whether it be your friends, family, partner, or a stranger, someone may see you struggling and offer to lighten the load. This is usually a great thing, but some people love to take advantage of this. They’ll take advantage of that person’s kindness and put the burden on them. It’s nice when someone offers help but it’s still your luggage.
It just sounds like I am rambling on about a heavy suitcase but, like luggage, people LOVE to dump their emotional baggage on someone as soon as they offer their help. I’ve been both the owner of the luggage and the naive person that offered to carry it further than I was obligated to. It’s a hard balance, and I’m not trying to discredit the sincerity of when someone needs help (because we’ve all been there whether we will admit it or not) but I also wanted to take time to talk about how toxic it can be to relationships to make someone carry that baggage more than they are obligated to, whether that be your friends, family, or partner.
For example, I’ve always struggled with saying no. This is something I still work on because I have learned that people can take advantage of you, even if they don’t intend to, and it can be quiet the stress inducer for me. I personally struggle with anxiety and have a lot of friends that struggle with depression and other mental illnesses. I’m of course always happy to help, but it’s taken me a long time to understand that I can only hold that weight for a certain amount of time before it starts to get too heavy. Having emotional support and talking to someone is a great outlet to sort through your emotions BUT being in the scenario where someone consistently dumps their problems on you without ever bothering to deal with them is honestly exhausting. You’re supposed to be there for your friends, family, and partners, of course, but when you’re carrying all of someone else’s baggage, you don’t have room left to hold yours. There’s absolutely no shame in seeking professional help. That’s what therapy is for: to have a place to work through your emotions firstly so you can have a true professional’s opinion and secondly, so you don’t drive away your loved ones. I’ve lost relationships because I’d offer to help someone (within my own limited skill set of course) but they took such advantage of it that the relationship was toxic, and I didn’t have the heart to tell them it was getting too much to carry. I’ve even put off dating and relationships in the past because I knew I didn’t have a grasp on my own baggage and knew I never wanted to put that burden on someone I would try to form a healthy relationship with. Of course, someone can always help you carry the bag or make it lighter, but if you really want to have steady and healthy relationships, you have to be able to carry it on your own, even if that means you have to work on taking a few things out.
You may not own everything in that bag. Maybe some people left their stuff behind that you didn’t necessarily ask to carry around, but now that they’re gone, you’re the only one that can lighten the load. Don’t worry, carrying that bag has made you stronger.