Ah, emotional baggage. Everyone has it, but very few of us want to talk about it. Why? Because we often don’t like discussing things we feel we can’t control. Emotions are erratic, ever-changing, and, let’s be honest, talking about all the trauma of our past is never a fun experience, especially with someone new, but what if it could lead to something great? We’ve been told since we were little that honesty is always the best policy, so here are some reasons to consider taking a chance and opening up to your partner.
IT ENCOURAGES COMMUNICATION
One thing that every successful relationship has in common is healthy communication. Communication is essential for any relationship to thrive, romantic or otherwise, and the case tends to be that the more that is left unsaid, the more two people drift apart. If both you and your partner commit to being open with one another about your emotions and things that may trigger you due to events from your past, you open up space where it’s okay to talk about anything, no matter how big or small. Once you begin communicating regularly, things that once seemed so hard to talk about become more natural and your relationship will likely run more smoothly.
IT’S A BONDING EXPERIENCE
Psychology Today reports that vulnerability is the real key to connection. In order to know your partner on an intimate level, you have to be able to be honest about how you feel and know how to ask for what you need. As much as relationships are great when everything is light and fun, having those real conversations about your fears, desires, and needs are what truly brings a couple closer together. Not only are you learning more about each other, but you’re putting yourself out there and allowing an opportunity for acceptance which, in turn, can also work wonders on your self-esteem and overall feelings of contentment.
IT KEEPS YOU HONEST
We often joke about how our childhoods are to blame for our shortcomings as adults, but the way we interact with others is actually pretty significantly tied to how we experienced relationships when we were younger. There’s a psychological phenomenon called repetition compulsion that essentially explains that we repeat self-sabotaging behaviours in hopes of fixing a traumatic experience from our past. Becoming aware of these tendencies is what helps keep them at bay, and if you’ve been open with your partner about where specific actions or reactions stem from, it can really help you remain honest about why you’re behaving the way you are.
IT ALLOWS FOR GROWTH
Once you begin to understand and recognize your triggers, you can start responding to them. People can often experience a personal transformation after a traumatic life event, and this positive change is called stress-related growth. As hard as the events that cause our emotional baggage can be, they help us reevaluate what’s most important in life, and can lead to forming stronger bonds in both new and existing relationships.
Dr. Rich Nicastro, a licenced psychologist and couples counsellor, said it best when he explained that “mutual trust and emotional openness and validation of each others’ core vulnerabilities have the potential to heal the old wounds we carry from our pasts into our marriage/relationship.”
Remember, everyone carries something with them, but it’s how you deal with it that determines it’s weight.