Imagine carrying a backpack, but instead of gym clothes or books, it's filled to the brim with unresolved emotions from past relationships, childhood traumas, and other life experiences. That's what we call emotional clutter. In this enlightening episode, we take a deep look into this often misunderstood topic, unearthing and addressing each theme that arises. We'll discover together how to create a timeline to identify and organize these feelings, and more importantly, how to heal the emotions associated with them.
In this episode, I'll share insights on how decluttering can lead to a sense of freedom and ease, as well as how the balance code can help liberate your mind. Plus, we'll explore how to connect with others to find the support and resources you need to keep up the momentum. By the end of this episode, you'll be well on your way to shedding your emotional baggage, setting you on the path towards a more balanced life.
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Welcome to the Balance Code Podcast, a place where you have permission to step outside the hamster wheel of day-to-day life and learn tools to create more balance. My name is Katie Russell. I'm a licensed therapist and burnout and hidden grief specialist. I support ambitious, goal-driven people who are ready to get off the one-way train, to burnout and start to enjoy life again to the fullest. Oh and, by the way, I'm a mom of three, an ex-pat living in Germany who's still learning the language, and an entrepreneur Living my Balance Code is what keeps me able to work in incredible ways without burning out. So let's find your Balance Code. Welcome back, everyone. This is part three of a three-part series all about clutter. Now, part one was about physical clutter, part two we talked about mental clutter and now we're getting into emotional clutter. But first we need to explain what emotional clutter is. I'm sure when I say emotional clutter, you're like yes, yes, I have this, I get this, I understand it, but let's break it down and see what it really means. Now we can all agree. We are complex human beings. We feel different emotions compounding on top of each other. So this is not what I mean by emotional clutter. So it's not like, wow, I'm happy, but I'm also crying because I'm grieving this. And then I'm excited about this, but I'm anxious about that. That feels cluttered, but no, that's like our day-to-day. When I say emotional clutter, what I mean is the baggage that we have. Think about this You're about to get on an airplane. You head to the airport with all of your luggage, all of the emotional baggage that you have from past relationships, from your childhood, from trauma that you've experienced, bad experiences at work, things that happened in school the list could go on. And so you have all of this luggage and you try to get on the airplane with it and they're like, I'm sorry, you got to go check your baggage and you're like no, but this baggage, this is me, this has been so much a part of me for so long like I can't let it go. And they're like I'm sorry, you're not getting on the airplane. You can't go and fly where you want to go next if you bring this baggage with you. Emotional baggage is emotional clutter. It's all of those things that are unresolved. It's the things that keep you up at night replaying scenarios from your past. I'm not talking about the things that happened, like that day or like the week before, like 10 years ago, that you still think about and you find yourself replaying it and replaying it and physically almost feeling the embarrassment, the shame, the anxiety, the fear, whatever it might be. And then there's those relationships that you never really had good closure with and the friendships that ended that you didn't have closure with either. And then there's that experience you had at work where you didn't stand up for yourself, and so you feel that too, that's emotional clutter, it's emotional baggage, and the problem is we collect this baggage like it's on sale. We're immediately like what Emotional baggage? Yes, I'll take it. I'll take five. Yeah, bring it. It's on sale, I'll take even more. So we collect emotional baggage largely because we weren't taught how to like sift through it. Most of the time our parents and grandparents were still holding on to emotional baggage and I'm going to bet they probably had some health issues because of it. So the first thing we have to do around emotional clutter is Identify what it is, and when I work with my clients on creating a timeline of the hidden grief that I tend to address with them, it is this. It's the emotional baggage. It's sitting down and going throughout your life and looking at what still pings at your heart when you think about it. What are those experiences you had growing up and young adulthood that still hurt, that still bother you, that you still have questions about or you feel shame or guilt around All of that. And when you lay it all out on paper and my clients would be like what, katie? What do I have to do? And I'm like I'm serious, you have to. It's like having a project in front of you and you just keep saying to yourself like it's gonna be so awful, it's gonna be so awful. And then you make the to-do list and you're like, oh, I can get some of this done right now. Easy, when we create that timeline and I can see all the emotional baggage and mental baggage in some ways right, that my clients are holding on to. Then you can start to see the themes around the emotional baggage. Oh, that suitcase. Right, there is all about abandonment and I've got about 50 different things in there, maybe less right. Oh, that one is about not speaking up for myself, not feeling like I have a voice. I've got ten good Experiences in that suitcase. So we have to look at all of the experiences. So I encourage you to do this. You can do this on your own. There are a variety of ways to do this. You can do it like a historical timeline. You can do it kind of like a mind map or even a mind dump, splatter it all on paper but just find a way to organize it. And that's typically my superpower with my clients is a way to help them organize it so they can see the themes, see those suitcases right, and as we look at the emotional baggage and the groups of themes that they've experienced, then we know what to work on, then we know what to heal, then we know what they were not taught, how to let go of, how to forgive, how to move forward, how to process those emotions. If you've held on to anger and resentment for Over 10, 15, 20 years, it's not like, oh Katie, I've identified this and now I feel better. I cried once. No, we have to work on you learning the emotional intelligence tools so that you start to Change your belief systems around what occurred and I don't mean lie to yourself, not at all but to understand why you didn't feel like you had a voice back then, what you learn from those experiences and how, from here on, we can start to shift the belief system around your voice and your ability to speak up for yourself so that, emotionally, you don't carry that baggage anymore when you get on the airplane or Looking at the theme of abandonment. You know the emotional baggage around abandonment going okay, you had all these experiences that made you feel abandoned. How are you creating situations in your life right now that continue to make you feel abandoned? And I will tell you, as high achievers, how we do this is making sure we don't need anybody. We make sure we don't need help. So then we continue to feel lonely, isolated and like nobody's there to hold our hand, when we've made it very clear to the outside world we don't need you, I don't need help, I got this, I'm okay, I got it, Thank you. Nope, I'm good, don't worry. And so we perpetuate that theme of abandonment. Or we were really good at this. We look for the people who are gonna drop the ball and we know they will, and we put all our faith and trust to them Because we know they're gonna drop the ball and really damn, I was abandoned again. So we have to look at what all the emotional baggage is and we have to look out the belief systems around them and how we're Continuing to perpetuate it by trying to carry that baggage on that airplane. But it's time to check that baggage. It's time for us to open up the suitcase and go Okay, here are the events that happened that led me to feel this way. I don't need to relive them, but I know they're there and I know I don't want to keep Reliving the experience of them. I don't want this emotional baggage. So let me learn the tools to learn how to release. Let go, forgive, move forward, change the belief systems and Start to live in the way that aligns with how I want my life to look, how I want to feel in my life. The scary thing is, as we work on emotional healing and letting go of the suitcases, it's exactly like I said in the beginning. But my identity is wrapped up in this. I've always been this way. This is who I am. I'm an anxious person. I've always been this way. I always have been a worrier. It runs in my family, okay, but as soon as I start working with my clients who are like that and we start to remove that, there's an identity crisis of who am I and do I belong in this family anymore, and it's like whoa, whoa. It's amazing how our suitcases of emotional baggage become so much of who we are, so much of how we identify ourselves. So healing it can be a bit of a roller coaster experience. If you've ever heard me speak about healing, I have two analogies. I like to use the scar analogy and the butterfly analogy. So now I'll tell you the butterfly analogy. When I think about healing, I think about the process of the caterpillar going into the cocoon. The caterpillar eats and eats and eats so that it's prepared to start to create the cocoon around itself, so it can go through the metamorphosis process. We love the idea of the butterfly, right? We love the idea of what's on the other side of the metamorphosis process. Funny enough, we tend to forget from our science class what happens when we're in the process, what happens in the cocoon. I remember when I was relearning this I was like I swear they did not teach me this in school, but I'm sure they did. I just didn't retain it. When a caterpillar is in the cocoon, a particular hormone is released and it begins to digest itself. It becomes mush. So Basically, the caterpillar no longer has the form of itself anymore and no longer has that identity. Then the caterpillar releases an enzyme. Well, the mush releases an enzyme and slowly the platelets start to form to become a butterfly. And if the cocoon is open too early, then you'll have this creature that has like a half wing and a couple legs maybe, and a little bit of a body, and then mush. So you can't just open it up too early. And this is why the caterpillar, once it is fully formed, eats its way out. It knows when it's time, it knows when everything is fully developed. Nature's so cool. So think about that for us, when we, as a caterpillar, go through this process of taking in all these things and we need to heal them, we go inward, we create the cocoon around ourselves. Sometimes it's blankets around us in bed, right, sometimes it's wrapped up on our couch, whatever that looks like. And then we lose our identity because we're letting go of the old, we're releasing the physical clutter, the mental clutter, the emotional clutter, and we're creating a new identity. But there's the in-between, there's the metamorphosis. There is no identity for a period of that, right, we're just a cocoon, mush and a cocoon. And then, when we're ready, we step out, we get out of that cocoon, we stretch our wings. We have to bat him a whole lot to get them moving and ready. And we move our legs around and stretch and we're like, okay, who's this person? What are they like? What is my identity? Now? How does it feel? And that's uncomfortable too. So you know, when we talk about emotional healing, no wonder so many people don't go do the work. It's uncomfortable and it means not knowing who we are for a period of time. But I have to tell you one of the greatest joys of my work is to be able to sit with somebody and watch that butterfly come out of that cocoon and just be like whoa, wow. And to cheer them on through the process of finding who they are now, without all that baggage. It's so worth it. When I do this personal work, it's like, oh my gosh, the cocoon phase is so not fun. The metamorphosis is so difficult, but, wow, is it worth it. It's so worth it. So reflect today on what are your suitcases? What is the emotional baggage, emotional clutter you're holding on to? Maybe ask yourself why, and when you're ready, you're ready to get on that plane, check that baggage. You know where to find me. This is not work for the faint of heart. And, as we've explored clutter for physical clutter, mental clutter and emotional clutter each episode has really taught you that, wow, this is very complex, deeply involved. There's a lot of stuff ingrained in us from our childhood and our youth and young adult years that we have to work through. Some of you want to do it on your own. I applaud you. That is not me. It's not something I'm very good at. Most of the time, I'm reaching out to people for support and some of you do want that support. So, if that's you, send me an email at info at katyrustlercom or look in the show notes and let's hop on a call. I offer 20 minute free calls where we can talk about what's going on with you, what packages I offer and what's the right fit for you. This isn't work you have to do alone and you don't have to keep carrying around all that baggage. Well, I hope you have enjoyed this three part series on clutter and how we can start to think about it differently and address it and work on it in a variety of ways. Feel free to go listen to the episodes for part one and part two again so that you're refreshed in your mind. Okay, these are the things I want to shift and work on and beliefs I want to change. And here are the steps I'm going to take to removing all that clutter in my life and I want to hear about how it goes. So reach out through email or on Instagram or Facebook and let me know which of the three episodes spoke to you the most and what tools you're taking away from them so you can start working on decluttering your life. Let's check that baggage, let's remove the clutter walls of physical clutter in our space. Let's mentally start to have some peace and ease and freedom again. I'm sending you all big hugs and here's to finding our balance code. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode. If you have a moment, please leave a rating or review so that others can find this podcast who are looking for support, just like you. Let's connect on Instagram at katiewrestler or at balance code podcast, or check down in the show notes to find ways that we can work together and see other offerings that I have for you at this time. And, as always, here's to finding our balance code.