What we experienced in the past affects how we relate to others today. Emotionally potent events from childhood and earlier relationships have made us sensitive to certain things. Those sensitivities, and the negative beliefs formed with them, are sometimes called our emotional “baggage.”

We carry much of our baggage unconsciously. It leads us to automatically react whenever an event resembles a painful or distressing memory. Many of our emotional reactions mix past with present. Have you ever thought that your partner overreacted, far out of proportion to what was called for?

Often we can see this in a partner more easily than we can see it in ourselves. We wonder why they react so strongly. We complain about how their baggage upsets us. We talk about their sensitivities and their hang-ups.

Yet it’s interesting how the emotional baggage of partners is often well matched, resembling a customized set of luggage. The exact way one partner reacts will upset the other – and vice versa. This can bring about an intense drama of action, reaction, and counterreaction – one that neither partner can seem to keep from playing out.

The power that the past has over us is strong, if we remain unconscious of it. We often keep our suitcases closed tightly, not wanting to look at painful old memories they may hold. In this way, we leave much of our baggage “unclaimed.”

When we become upset by a partner’s actions, we seldom realize how our own sensitivities are influencing us. We don’t recognize how our perceptions are distorted by past events. Instead, we assume that our partner is the one and only cause of whatever we feel now.

The card OWNERSHIP invites you to reclaim – and heal – wounds from your past that you still carry. The first step is just to own whatever you feel – whether it is anger, fear, or pain. Rather than blaming a partner for “making” you feel that way, own it as your feeling. Rather than pushing against it, open your heart to experience the feeling in its entirety. Breathe with it. After you have fully felt it, you might ask yourself, “How does this feeling relate to events in my past?”

The times that we are upset are also the best opportunities for healing. When problems erupt, past hurts are closest to the surface. At these times we have the greatest potential to see them – and to heal them. Healing starts when we reclaim our baggage. This takes a willingness to look within, and the courage to own and experience whatever we find.

In ownership, you open your heart to a part of you that was once wounded. As you recall the past events connected with your feelings, emotional energy may increase further. It is important to remember that you are letting yourself release these feelings and that you can afford to experience them now. Just continue to breathe and feel in your heart for this part of you as if it were a young child you love very much. Simply let all feelings come up and move through you, as you breathe in and out with them.

Ownership heals us. Partners who each handle their own baggage, who are willing to open and to own their experience, create a relationship where they can heal together.