You have a bag of stuff, and I have a bag of stuff. Everyone has a bag of stuff.  

What is in this bag? Well, that is as unique as you. It’s all the heavy stuff you carry around that you judge yourself on. The time you were bullied, and then you became the bully to others. It’s the pair of jeans two sizes smaller than you currently wear, and you keep promising yourself you will fit into them again. When you don’t, you punish yourself. It’s when you judged others when you were really judging yourself. Maybe it’s the report card and the marks on it that gave you a sense of worth. 

You know that bag. 

Who is carrying your bag of stuff?

When we enter into relationships, we unconsciously hand our bag to the other person, and they unconsciously give us theirs. 

This “bag of stuff” concept is often used in intimate relationships, but I think it exists in all relationships. 

My husband and I watch Modern Family as our quick 30-minute TV time. (We usually have 3 TV series going at a time. A short 30-minute watch, a 45-minute -1 hour easy watch, and another 45-minute – 1-hour watch with a lot of depth). 

As I watch the show, you can see how the couples have handed each other their bag of stuff. I also see it in the parent/child relationships.  

It also exists in business partnerships and staff/employee relationships. 

However, when we hand over that bag, there will come a point where we can only see your stuff. The stuff you don’t want, the stuff that is baggage, and the relationship struggle.  

Don’t throw your junk in my backyard.

When I learned about the “bag of stuff,” I realized that I had handed my husband my bag, and he had given me his. 

Consciously, we handed them back. 

When you take back your bag, you have two choices. Continue to carry it. Or put it down. To put it down, you must work to clear the “stuff.” However, it is worth it.  

About a year ago, when working with a client, something made me realize that I still needed to take back some contents of my bag. 

I sat down with my husband, apologized, and took those contents back. Our honest conversation regarding those items was amazing and has created even deeper vulnerable discussions.  

While walking around Disney, I recently realized how easy it is to hand the bag of stuff you still carry back to your partner. 

I was tired, my feet hurt, and the crowds of people and the wait times had gotten to me. Instead of regulating myself, I was taking it out on my husband. 

However, it wasn’t his responsibility to “fix” me. It was mine, and I needed to determine what I needed and communicate those needs. 

Once I caught myself, I apologized and told him I was taking back my junk.  

We instantly thought of the childhood camp song, “Don’t throw your junk in my backyard.” That got us singing, laughing, and discussing.  

The jingle I am referring to goes like this: 

Don't throw your junk in my backyard
My backyard, my backyard
Don't throw your junk in my backyard
My backyard's full

It is only one verse of a camp song that combines unrelated verses.  

However, we thought it matched the bag of stuff perfectly.

My husband doesn’t want me to give him my junk because he has his own junk that he needs to manage.  

Take back your junk.

As you interact with people, consider whom you may have unconsciously given your bag to. Your partner? Your child? You may have given it to your business partner or someone on your team.  

Also, check in and ask yourself whose bag (s) you carry. 

Once you know the answer, take back your bag (s) and give back the other bags. 

Then do yourself and others a favor and start to put the bag down. This will mean work, but it will be so worth it.  


We’re all flawed heros. Responsiblity is power. Take responsilbity for the consequences of your actions, and the world is yours. Everything is a choice.

Tom Hiddleston

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