If Mick Jagger can’t get satisfaction, what chances do you and I have? To be satisfied, we have to arrange life to our liking—and live according to our higher calling.
Even if we know what we’d like our life to look like, why can’t we get there? Or have it stay that way once we do find our way?
Our life is always being shaped by something. What has shaped your life that prevents you from getting satisfaction and living your life purpose? What impedes your personal empowerment?
Here is a big hint: go back to your childhood to identify the influences that shaped your life as you were growing up. During our formative years, our lives were influenced by factors over which we had little or no control. Because we are creatures of habit, the way in which we came up with emergency solutions to childhood issues created a pattern of behavior that we continue to repeat as adults.
There are many of us who are clear about our purpose of life—our higher calling. And yet, we still struggle with working our way through the unique baggage each of us carries with us from our past experiences. The coping patterns that allowed us to survive as children are producing a cumulative effect that I’ll call our Baggage. Just as we all have a unique higher calling, we also all have a unique Baggage—based on our unique personalities and false perceptions of ourselves that we’ve experienced since childhood.
I chose the term “Baggage” because it represents the psychological freight we carry around with us that prevents us getting unstuck from negative behavior patterns and getting more satisfaction from our work and life. It is the encumbrances that holds us back and places limits that keep us from moving forward.
“Here, you see, it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place.” The Red Queen, Through the Looking Glass
Like many things that we inherit over time, we sometimes feel we’re stuck with our behavioral patterns. The most effective way of taking control of your unwanted Baggage is to bring it into the foreground so that it has less power over your life.
As an FBI agent, I worked with the Behavior Science Unit on several of my cases. It turns out that qualities of Baggage are consistent for everyone. They are the stuff that prevents us from the satisfaction of pursuing our higher calling.
Here are their characteristics:
1. Based on fear and a need to survive. The situations in which we found ourselves as a child called for emergency solutions—at the time, they were very serious. We continue to rely upon those same reactions and solutions through adulthood.
2. Prevent us from experiencing a deeper understanding of who we are because they produce false perception of ourselves.
3. Do not encourage honest relationships that are built on sincere self-knowledge.
4. Remain hidden in the background and are very difficult for us to identify. The coping behaviors we learned as children have been with us for so long that we no longer see them for what they really are.
5. Become a default mechanism. The “emergency solution” that we’ve relied upon since childhood runs the show whenever we get confused or become unclear about our higher calling. Our Baggage becomes strong whenever we fail to show up in life—we may wake up in the morning but have no idea of what is shaping our life that day and influencing our decisions and choices.
The Baggage we haul around is important to identify, because if we don’t take leadership in this part of our life, the Baggage will continue to run our life—even after we’ve found our higher calling. Subconsciously, it will sabotage our attempts to live our life on purpose.
Here are some questions that may help you to identify your Baggage.
- What has been shaping your life that is based in fear?
- Where have you felt a sense of lack in your life?
- Describe your Baggage. Use simple words, perhaps words you might have used as a child, since that is when the baggage started piling up. Finish each of these sentences:
- As a child, I felt I should . . .
- As a child, I had to . . .
- As a child, I could not . . .
If you want to get satisfaction and turn toward your higher calling, ponder these questions:
What have been the obstacles, roadblocks, and hindrances to clarifying your life purpose? They can be real or imaginary. Name as many as you can.
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