Families are complex and all of us are bound to experience some negative emotions from things that happened as we were growing up.

No family is perfect, and although your parents might have made every effort to ensure you a safe and happy childhood, unanticipated events occur that might have been out of your parents’ control at the time.

As a result, you might have developed feelings of sadness, disappointment, fears, and even hurt about your early years.


You’ve most likely heard the expression about carrying around “old baggage” with you. Baggage is an expression used when referring to unpleasant emotions and feelings we “carry” throughout our lives, unless, of course, we do something to let go of that baggage. Letting go of old family hurts is critical to living the life you deserve.

Following these steps can help free you from the limitations of your baggage:


1. Write a list of what you feel hurt or disappointed about. Your list might be quite lengthy or it might be brief with just one or two items. Whichever the case, recording what you feel hurt about will help clarify what it is that’s bugging you. 


2. Go more in depth about each issue you listed. Specific to each item on your list, record how you felt at the time and how you feel now about the situation. The writing process will help you explore your feelings and identify how you truly feel about the past event.


* Upon completing this exercise, you may discover that you aren’t as upset now about an incident as you once were and realize that you can give yourself permission to let it go. 


3. Recognize how this baggage is affecting you now. The way you handle many aspects of your life today could be related to things that happened in your past.

* Do you avoid getting too emotionally close to others for fear of being hurt? 

* Do you jump in to relationships too quickly – only to find the other person not to be someone you would normally like to spend time with? 

* Maybe you allow your anger to wear away at your close, loving relationships. 

* Whatever it is, try to connect past incidents with what you’re doing now to express the negative emotions from those events.


4. Know that you’re worth living a life without the old hurt. You deserve to have a life unfettered by wounds from your past. 


5. Make a decision to let go. Tell yourself you’ll no longer be affected by something that happened so long ago. You might want to try these ways to help you let go: 


* You could write your old hurts on small snippets of paper and put them in balloons. Then, blow up the balloons, take them outdoors, and let them go. As they float away, imagine your pain floating away, too.


* Another way to let go is to write them down on paper and burn the paper. As you watch your writings safely burn in your fireplace or a barbecue grill outdoors, visualize those hurts being burned up and disappearing from your life forever.


6. From your adult viewpoint, you may now understand what happened. Once you clarify the event, consciously tell yourself that you now understand what occurred and why or how it happened. You’ve gained some insight into the issue. Now you can leave it in the past. 


7. Commend yourself for your efforts to let go of your emotional baggage. After all, it weighed you down for quite some time. Now you’re free of it. Praise yourself for an important job well done.


You can let go of old family hurts by following these steps. You’ll feel so much better when you release the painful feelings you’ve had for some time. Create the life you so deserve by banishing the past to where it belongs – in the past.