OPINION | Emotional baggage is just a valuable quirk you’ve not discovered yet
Damaged Goods or just quirky? In this article, I’d like to look at the concept of “damaged goods” and what we think that means.
We’ve all heard of the term and most of us in one form or another believe we have baggage of some kind that we carry from one person to another. In recent years, I have seen examples of people that have carried around that the belief that in one form or another they are ‘damaged goods’. Their damage comes in all shapes and sizes, some of it small and ‘quirky’ and some of it far larger and core to who they believe they are.
But we can’t really talk about ‘goods’ without talking about baggage. Now we all have baggage in one for another. Experiences, both good and bad, have formed the person we are today and how we respond to different situations. To every relationship (romantic, business, family or friend) you will always bring with you those good and bad bags.
Good bags could be things like a sense of right and wrong, being a hard worker, kindness, care and attention or even an ability to listen. But what are some of the ‘not so good’ bags? Is there such a thing?
Examples of the ‘less that constructive’ emotional bags that people carry could be things like an inability to easily trust, a need for reassurance, over-reaction, inflexibility, selfishness or even a short fuse. All are examples of behaviours that when expressed lead to confusion, miscommunication and negative emotions.
A study conducted in 2014 and published in the Independent newspaper seemed to imply that gay relationships are more likely to be happy and content. But how can this be so? We all carry baggage in one form or another. We have all been bullied or oppressed in one form or another and the negative behaviours those experiences leave are powerful. I’ve seen relationships end due to ghosts of past horrors and indeed scars that have not healed in quite the way they should have.
On the flip side, because most of us have seen trouble in our lives does that mean we actively seek and protect what is more precious to us? That we learn from these experiences and seek out things that make us happy, together as a couple and not just as a sole survivor of life?
But if that’s true then why early this year in August 2016 was it shown that depression and low self-esteem was on the rise amongst gay men? If gay men don’t see themselves as worthy that belief will trickle into their relationships and their workings of that relationship. What becomes a little issue to one becomes a massive issue to another, purely because of the value we place on that issue. But everyone’s values are different so how can you possibly hope to know what it means 100% of the time? To a boy selling his cow at the Market a bean is a symbol of hope, but to the seller of the bean it is just a bean.
Having been there with depression I’d freely admit that I carry my own baggage (both constructive and non-constructive) and can see the situations that they can get you in. It’s taken me a good couple of years to accept and examine those goods and even now I admit that there could be more in my cargo hold that I’ve not seen yet.
The only piece of advice I can give anyone is to remember that we only see with our own eyes and we cannot see everything. As human beings, we cannot know everything and we cannot know what someone is thinking. The truth of the world is always changing depending on where you are standing, therefore keep moving. Look for another angle and you’ll get as close to a truth as you can, and you’d be surprised how often those ‘damaged goods’ are actually quirks that could be quite valuable.
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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.