There is a reason we need so many bags, ladies. It’s not just because we like to look at them. No, we use them to store up every little bit of feedback we’ve ever received from the world. Most things, we don’t even realize we carry; they integrate right into the lining. Occasionally, we realize the bags a bit heavy but we just bear it. It’s the way things are.
Some things we store up aren’t so bad. They affect our behavior in harmless ways. You do your hair a certain way when you want to feel pretty because you know it always get compliments. You dig out that dress that cheers you up instantly because it was what you wore the night the DJ kept buying you drinks. You do these things with great expectations, and, more often than not, the world responds as you think it will thus solidifying your trust in these mystical coincidences.
The sad truth is that most of what is in our baggage is negative. While the memory of a compliment tweaks our actions, bad experiences modify our innate behavior with a sledgehammer… and we don’t even realize it.
Martha grew up with ugly duckling syndrome. In truth, there was nothing wrong with Martha or her looks but before she underwent her swan transformation the damage was already done. Kids teased in the hall. The quarterback asked her out in front of the whole class just to shout “Not!” and burst out laughing when she said yes. Her own brother called her ugly (only after she called him stupid, I’m sure) and it wove its way into the fabric. It no longer matters what the mirror reflects, she believes it.
Jack has been nervous to ask Martha out for weeks. Finally he gets up the courage to talk to her and he saunters up to the water cooler (side note: who still has water coolers?). He walks up and opens with the line he’s rehearsed all morning, “Hi Martha, wow, you look really pretty today.” [He’s not a mac daddy, okay. The poor kid has no game but you get
Enter Martha’s expectations.
Martha expects people to think she’s ugly so she immediately assumes Jack is A) lying, B) making fun of her, C) wants her to finish his T.P.S.reports, or D) All of the above. She efficiently manages to whack poor Jack upside the head with her baggage in response. Jack walks away with a smart comment in an effort to regain a bit of the pride that just went flying.
Relationship potential = officially squelched
Jack = annihilated
Martha = (although COMPLETELY wrong) feels justified. The expectations she’s holding onto have proved themselves again, at least in her eyes.
The point is, ladies, our baggage skews our vision of the world. Sometimes what we expect can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. We expect people to treat us badly, it alters our behavior and therefore, people treat us badly. What would happen if we purposefully readjusted our expectations? If we dumped out the bags, or let’s get really crazy, tossed all the bags on the Goodwill truck? (No, I don’t mean the navy Coach…. Or that Burberry either). What if we greet every new person that enters our lives with an empty unburdened hand?
Just a thought…
Now I’ll leave you to purge your metaphorical closets.