10 Ways To Deal With Your Baggage Before Dating Again

If you find yourself single right now, it’s actually the perfect time to do some soul searching and deal with your emotional baggage — preferably before you jump into a new relationship. The thing about baggage is that it’s sneaky. While you might be starting a clean slate, it’s waiting in the wings getting ready to jump out at you. You don’t need that, so it’s time to do these things.

  1. Choose not to feel guilty. If you constantly feel guilty for things, such as why your last relationship ended, you’re just stewing in the state of beating yourself up. What good did that ever do to you? Replace those guilty “what if?” thoughts with more positive ones and remind yourself that you’ve come out of that relationship stronger.
  2. Silence your inner critic. We all have one: that voice that breaks us down when really what we need most is to be uplifted. If your inner critic is your baggage, you have to silence her so that she doesn’t keep chipping away at your self-worth. One of the best ways to do this is to tune out. Seriously. Get in the habit of not listening to that voice and replace it with your inner cheerleader.
  3. Work on yourself. Sometimes baggage has the purpose of highlighting what you should work on within yourself. Maybe you’re too trusting or you don’t have high enough standards, or maybe you need to work on your jealousy. The best way to deal with baggage is to see what it’s trying to teach you and use it for the good of your self-growth.
  4. Destress about dating. One of the most common dating baggage is stress related to dating. Although you might not think you’re carrying this into relationships with you, it could be weighing on your mind and wreaking havoc on your state of inner peace. It could be making you anxious that you don’t have someone, which can have the effect of making you seem desperate. Focus on why you don’t need the stress and enjoy being single. After all, there’s lots to love about singlehood.
  5. Forget what your ex said. It can really hurt like hell when rejection strikes. Maybe your ex was really mean to you and put you down or made you feel like you’re unlovable. It’s sadly all too easy to carry this feeling with you into a new relationship, but it can threaten its success. The best thing to do is to focus on your opinion about yourself instead of that of your ex or anyone else for that matter. What you think about yourself is what matters the most.
  6. Unwrap your anger. If you have anger issues, these can seriously mess with your head and your relationships. But behind anger is hurt, so now’s the time to figure out what’s got you feeling so much pain. Get to the bottom of it before anger spreads like a cancer through your life.
  7. Unblock all your feelings. It’s not just anger that you need to work through in order to be happy and free yourself of your baggage. If you haven’t worked through whatever feelings have been hanging around in your life, they will create obstacles in your mind and life. They can also cause you to feel stuck to the past. Work through them instead of ignoring them. That’s the only way to filter them out of your life for good.
  8. Fight the fear. You might be feeling fearful often, such as because you risked falling in love and got burned and now you’re terrified of giving your heart to someone again. Or maybe you’re afraid to step out of your comfort zone and that causes you to push people away. Sometimes fear is really illogical, which is why it’s good to take stock of it and see what’s causing it. Once you bring it out into the light of day and question it, chances are you’ll see there’s nothing to fear but fear itself.
  9. Burn your ex box. Sometimes emotional baggage from your previous relationship can be triggered by reminders of your ex that you’ve still got lying around. It’s time to burn all the things you collected in your previous relationships or just give items away to hospice so that you don’t feel dragged back to the past every time you see them in the corner of your cupboard.
  10. Don’t be afraid to speak to someone. If you still feel like you can’t move past your baggage, then it’s probably a good idea to speak to a professional, such as a psychologist. They’ll be able to help you find the tools to work through whatever’s plaguing you because sometimes it helps to have someone from outside of your head give you some perspective on your issues.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.