Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday's Soapbox - The Other Weight

What does it feel like to carry an extra 20, 30, 50, or 100 pounds?

All of us can look to people in our family, people we work with, people we serve on committees with, or even ourselves, to find out the answer to this question. You may notice these people don’t move as fast. They get out of breath quickly. They have a medicine cabinet full of pills. They constantly talk about losing the weight and getting fit. They may try to lose weight and fail – feeling defeated and helpless. Yes, with these people, it’s easy to see the results of carrying around those extra pounds.

But what about those who carry an extra 20, 30, 50, or 100 pounds that you can’t see? They may be fit, trim, and healthy. Yet, there’s another weight bringing them down. It’s invisible to the naked eye, but it’s there in full force. Keeping them from moving forward in life. Keeping them stuck. Keeping them from feeling true happiness and joy. Keeping them from experiencing contentment.

This weight does not show up in a pants size or an extended seat belt on an airplane, but it can be just as destroying. Just as detrimental. Just as devastating. Just as damaging. This weight is unseen by those who come in contact with these people everyday. What is this weight? It’s the weight of guilt, unforgiveness, anger, regret, unhappiness, shame, past hurts, and bitterness. These people are the walking wounded.

I climb slowly onto my soapbox today because I know the challenge of dealing with the weight that has nothing to do with your physical self. It’s the chip you have on your shoulder. The monkey on your back. The emotional baggage. The weight of the world.

Why, why, why do people hold on to emotional anchors that do not serve them...does not help them move on...and does not allow them to experience REAL freedom?

I can already hear the “buts”:

...but you don’t know how bad he/she hurt me.
…but you don’t understand how screwed up my parents were.
…but you don’t see how guilty I feel for leaving/putting me first.
…but I just can’t forgive them for what they did to me.
…but I refuse to forget.
…but the pain is too deep.

You know what? I believe those “buts”. However, the issue is not whether your “buts” are true, the issue becomes how will you deal with it so you can release that weight once and for all.

Here are a few tips:

First, figure out why you are angry, bitter, hurt, in pain or unhappy – and if you can’t do that on your own, seek professional help. It’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with getting counseling!!!!

Second, get out of victim mode. Don’t give “them”, or what they did to you, any more power. They have taken more than enough from you. It's time to take your power back!

Third, let it go. Sometimes we hold strong to the weight because we don’t ever want to forget…forgive…or let others forget. But "they" have more than likely moved on. You are the only one wallowing in the past.

Finally, don’t be afraid of the freedom. We get so use to carrying the weight around, that we can’t imagine living life without it. But believe me, getting that monkey off your back, knocking that chip off your shoulder, and dumping that emotional baggage? There’s no greater feeling in the world.


  1. What a surprise to read about the "other weight". The older we get, the more one realizes that the 'chip' do not matter anymore.

  2. I think many will be surprised! We are always so focused on the outer weight - we forget about the inside!!

  3. Thank you for bringing this particular issue to light. (no pun intended). As you know, Doreen, I am a huge advocate for forgiveness. It has given me back my life -- made me feel free from guilt and shame and filled the gaping holes I once had in my heart. It takes a lot of courage to forgive, which I think is strange considering that it most certainly IS a gift you give yourself. But there is no mistaking that it can also be a gift to the other person too, especially when accomplished face-to-face. There is something vulnerable about showing your heart to another person, in person, that makes it meaningful and shows your honest intentions. It frees you both to reinvent your relationship and make it something new and better than it was before. And for anyone who doubts what forgiveness has the ability to do for you and the other person, just ask my father. He would tell you that he loves every minute he now enjoys with his princess and I would totally agree!

    Thanks again, Doreen!

    --Be loving, happy, yourself, free.

  4. Ria,

    You are so right about forgiveness. Many people will preach it, but far fewer actually practice it. However, if the really understood the freedom that comes with it, people would embrace it wholeheartedly!