Dealing with Baggage

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When dating in the middle of life (and later, I presume) everyone you meet in your age range comes with baggage.  By baggage I mean that it is guaranteed that anyone you meet has lived through something tough like the death of a close relative (parent, sibling or child), weathered a challenging disease either themselves or with someone close to them and/or suffered through some type of abuse or near death experience – some event or circumstance that has altered their lives and perceptions.

This type of baggage is not necessarily a bad thing.

In fact, how a person navigates and reacts to their life’s challenges is one of the most important things to learn about them because it gives you a microscopic view into their character.  People with weak characters will cave when faced with a tough situation. They will fall apart and fail to pick up the pieces.  You can spot them because they have some invisible boundary that keeps them from living, from following their hearts and pursuing their dreams.  There is always an excuse to stay in a house they dislike, work at a job they abhor, sleepwalk through a marriage or long term relationship that hasn’t been working for years.  They blame and complain a lot yet fail to do the painful work on themselves that is required to blast through their blocks and find contentment.

Other people will take something positive from hard times.  You can tell who they are because they speak with the voice acceptance and action. They are often even grateful for the challenges they have survived because they learned a valuable lesson or will tell you how the event steered them to some positive action like starting a nonprofit, learning to meditate, learning a new skill or opening their hearts to others.  They speak from the point of view of a victor rather than a victim.

Learning how a potential mate reacted to the tough times in their life will help you know how they will react to future challenges giving you important decision making information.

Do you want someone who caves or conquers? You get to decide that for yourself.

As for me…well, let’s just say he’s in the summit club.

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