I was talking with a therapist one day when they mentioned how many clients come in like donkey’s weighted down with so much baggage from their families that they can barely lift their heads.  They sit down and relate family history that happened before they were born, sometimes generations before they were born but in a way that makes it sound as if they were there and eye-witness to the events.  They carry these stories as if they have a civic duty to report them and as if they are in any way directly relevant to the life being currently lived.

The sad part is that, for the most part, these stories, this baggage, is irrelevant.  They are family history bequeathed to all family members to perpetuate other’s narratives, to support other’s identities and make a family system function, whether it should or not (mostly not.) Because this history is part of the foundation of the person’s life they’ve usually never stopped to think about whether it’s factual, accurate, relevant, or in any way true.  Sometimes the events being related can be researched and are found to have never happened at all or to have entirely other explanations or to have huge missing chunks that change the meaning completely. I come across this in my work as people ask me why this or that happened and I can’t find the event.   They want to know how this or that or the other thing in the family applies to them and I can’t find any connection.  I can find the reasons why things happened if they happened, but usually the meaning that’s being applied to them by the client isn’t what’s in their book.  When I read out the narrative of what is really there they can be rocked.  It’s like thinking this one view inside a Kaleidoscope is reality and then having someone turn it a quarter turn.

So why carry around such a burden that isn’t ours, that isn’t relevant and that should have no bearing on your current life?  Because we’ve taken it on and made it ours.  We shoulder it each day like it’s a normal thing to do.  But we don’t have to.  Your mother’s past, your fathers choices, your grandparents lives aren’t yours.  You don’t have to account for them, relate to them, or fit yourselves into their expectations.  Your life is your own.  Set the burden down and walk away free to live the life you choose.