The Balance Code

Why Your Past Doesn't Have to Define You Anymore

February 14, 2024 Katie Rössler Season 2 Episode 15
The Balance Code
Why Your Past Doesn't Have to Define You Anymore
Show Notes Transcript

Have you ever found yourself at the airport with a mountain of suitcases and backpacks, wondering how on earth you'll manage to haul them all onto the plane? It's a scene that can make anyone feel overwhelmed. But let's take a moment to think about how this scenario reflects the baggage we carry in our lives—the emotional weight that holds us back. 

In this episode, I will show you how to release the emotional burdens you've been carrying so that you can experience life with new perspectives. Discover the liberation that comes with reducing our emotional baggage by deconstructing a few concepts. 

Let's unpack some insights and discover the freedom that comes with lightening our load. 

What I’ve talked about:

  • How emotional baggage hinders our progress.
  • The challenges and difficulties of releasing emotional baggage.
  • The importance of the adventurous exploration of youth with integration and transformation in mind.
  • Metamorphosis - a transformative process of integrating life experiences and shedding old identities.
  • Processing emotional baggage through creating a grief timeline that facilitates reflection and healing.


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Would you try to get on an airplane with 20 suitcases and 10 backpacks? Probably not. You already know you're gonna have to check that baggage, and it's gonna get expensive. Let's talk about how this analogy applies to the emotional baggage you've got in your life that you need to start checking. 

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 for better balance. My name is Katie Rössler. I'm a licensed therapist and hidden grief and burnout specialist. I help ambitious high achievers who are ready to get off the one way train to burnout and learn better tools to embrace life.

Oh, and by the way, I'm an American living in Germany, who's still learning the language. A mom of three and an entrepreneur. Living my balance code is what helps me keep working in incredible ways without burning out. So let's discover our balance code together.

Welcome back to the podcast. [00:01:00] Okay, so funny analogy, but very true. You go to the airport, you've got 20 suitcases, 10 backpacks, you go to get to the security line and they're like, I'm sorry, you need to go check the baggage. And you do realize that's going to get really expensive, don't you? And you're like, No, I got to get on that plane.

I'm going somewhere new. I'm going to try out this new city. I want to try the new food and meet the people and have all these new experiences. But I can't leave the baggage. Like my suitcases and things, they're part of my identity. If I don't have them beside me, if I don't have them with me, then who am I?

No, I can't let go. Well, you're not getting on the plane. You're not going to the new destination. Well, we understand this analogy from the airport standpoint, right? We get, we can't get on the plane with all those suitcases. But we go through life expecting to go into new chapters of ourselves, new versions of us, new experiences.

And we forget [00:02:00] that we have all these suitcases, all this emotional and mental baggage that we're trying to carry with us into this new place, this new experience. And it keeps us from actually getting to where we want to be. So our desire here is to have a well balanced, successful, in your own terms of what success is, life, right?

But if we continue to have all this baggage with us, we're not moving too far too fast. Why is it so hard for us to let go of that baggage? Well, like I said, it's part of our identity. It's who we are. You, my dear, have been through a lot of life experiences. You've had losses, you've had challenges, you've had changes, you've had highs, you've had lows, you've had amazing experiences.

And I bet the first part of your life, probably the first 30 years or so, you did some pretty incredible things. If you look back and you had to write it all down, you'd be like, Whoa, yeah, like, [00:03:00] I was adventurous and I tried new things and I really wanted to experiment and see the world or really get to know the place that I live, meet new people.

Like, I was just really open to adventure into life, right? You were probably okay kind of being the black sheep in quotations or the, the one that was a little more ambitious than others around you, the people, the person who kind of stood out, or if you sort of went with the flow of what things were, you all, you had a part of you that wasn't afraid to try something new as well.

So you went through this time in your life and now you're in a period of like integration and transformation, but it kind of feels heavy. And you might feel, I'm going to use the word bleh, I don't know if that's a word, maybe it's just a sound, but you feel bleh. There's a part of you that kind of feels like a failure.

You're not where you thought you would be by now, like something's just not adding up. Why, why is it [00:04:00] feel like I'm walking through mud, uphill, barefoot, right? While it's snowing. Like, why does it feel so heavy and hard now? I used to feel so light and fun and free and now things have changed. And you're probably going through a phase of feeling a bit like a failure, but you're not exactly sure what it is you failed.

You just know you feel like a failure. You might be getting bored by life and disinterested and frustrated and yeah. And so here you are with all this baggage. And you do want to go somewhere new. You want to progress in your life. You want to, maybe it's change careers. Maybe it's, um, get in a new relationship, right?

Maybe it's just breaking old habits that you've had for a long time. Maybe they're generational and you're like, okay, I'm really ready to step into this new version of myself, but you look back and you're like, but there's all, all this baggage. What am I supposed to do with that? And [00:05:00] as you start to open up each piece of luggage, you notice their stories and the belief systems and the emotions that come up with it.

And you're like, this is kind of who I am now because of these things. This is how I think this is what I believe. Even though I don't logically agree with it, it's still sort of there. And that feels like a really tall order to then go through all those suitcases and all those backpacks. And you're like, man.

Maybe I just stay stuck here. I guess I won't be getting on that plane. Here's something I really want to challenge you about. You know, that, that beginning of your life, the, the, the first third, we're going to call it the first third of your life was all about trial and error and just experimenting, trying new things, understanding who you are, like growing, right?

And this phase Feels different, but it is about integration. It's a [00:06:00] cocoon phase. It's a time of metamorphosis. And you've heard me use this analogy, but if you're new to the podcast, when a caterpillar goes into a cocoon, the metamorphosis process isn't like, aww, yay, he sleeps and then he wakes up and he's a butterfly.

Uh, no. He releases a hormone in which he digests himself. The caterpillar turns to mush. And then from there, once it's completely mush, enzymes start to be released that create the platelets doot doot doot doot doot doot doot of the butterfly wings and the legs and all the things, right? And then the butterfly emerges.

So you are in this phase and I know, oh my God, I can hear you're like, uh, Katie, that sounds awful, but stay with me. Transformation, though mush and digesting itself. Wow. Right. But whoa, the possibilities. Whoa, the growth experience through that process, the [00:07:00] integration. And so for you in that cocoon phase of better understanding who you are now with all of these life experiences and the challenges and the losses, right?

And you're here now and you're trying to integrate it all. It's about learning from the past, not continuing to stay stuck. It's about opening every suitcase and saying, what is it I want to take from this and what no longer serves me? I'm ready to let those go. I'll check that baggage. And at the end, what you find is you only carry on a backpack and a little roller because the things that actually define who you are, that form your identity, aren't all of those suitcases.

It's small little tidbits from each. And it's the things that you want to take from them. It's the areas you want to grow. When I work with my clients on this, they always feel like the first exercise I give them is like, so heavy. I literally have them create a grief timeline. And of course, in our minds, [00:08:00] we immediately think about all the deaths or losses, but no, all the things, all the baggage, the stuff that still hurts.

The stuff that you can go, Whoa, that pivotably changed who I am. And they list it all out and without a doubt, every time we get to the end of looking at all of it and they always go, I've been there a lot. And I'm like, yeah, you have. Holy cow. Look how resilient. You are look what you have overcome. Most of us don't take a life analysis like that.

Most of us don't really take a time to look at the life challenges. But as soon as we do that and we do it through a framework, I like to use with my clients. We see the learning opportunities. We see the themes. We see what it is. We're here to heal from generations. We see what it is. We're here to transform and move forward and have [00:09:00] empowerment versus feel stuck and weighed down.

So I'd love to work with you on that method. If that's something you're interested in. Feel free to email me, but when we talk about the fact that we need to transform what we've been through and we need to learn from it and grow, not keep going through the trauma of it, not keep playing it over and ruminating about it so that we physically and emotionally mentally feel the hurt and the pain and the sadness and the anger over and over and over.

That's not what this is about. It's about finally integrating it. And healing it and allowing the platelets to start to form the new butterfly and better understanding what that butterfly is going to look like because all those experiences from your past have brought you here today and now it's time to transform who that person is.

and grow in such a way that you're able to serve that greater purpose you feel like you have in life. You're able [00:10:00] to break through from imposter syndrome that makes you feel like I'm not enough. I don't know if I've learned enough or know enough or I don't have enough experience, right? Like you, you cut all that BS and you go, uh, no, I've been through a lot and I can do this.

And I can go and serve and help others or teach these things or go and build this or create this or whatever it might be or destroy things that are no longer working in our society. You all are here as visionaries who have great ideas and it's time to create that space for transformation to actually do those things and stop making them just be the dreams that you like.

Come up with when you have a quiet moment, right? Like actually start to live them. So all that baggage, it's just not worth it. When you think about what that future is going to look like, when you think about what it would be like to get on that airplane with a backpack and a roller and just go. And fly to this new city or a new country, a new place and just [00:11:00] explore.

Wow, that feels so freeing. It feels like back to how we were before, right? Like we'll just go and have fun and see and, oh, that doesn't work. Try something else, right? We get to have that phase in our life from a much more, wisdom based place of, hmm, I learned these things and I know how to handle my emotions.

And I have emotional intelligence of awareness of myself, awareness of others, boundaries. I don't need the people, please. I don't need this imposter syndrome. I don't need the perfectionism or fear of, that people aren't going to like me if I don't do certain things. I don't need any of that anymore.

That's baggage and suitcases, I've checked. I don't want those anymore. Because now the stuff that I have with me is the core identity that leads me forward that's based on my values. It's how I want to be remembered in life. It's how I want to impact [00:12:00] the world. Okay, I'm gonna get off my soapbox. I hope that you have found today's episode helpful in really better understanding the importance of it's not time anymore to carry this baggage with you.

It's time to Deal with it. It's time to integrate. It's time to learn from it and move forward so that you're not stuck in this feeling of like the, again, the word bleh or sound or the sense of what am I doing with my life? Who wants to live that way? Right? We all hit that phase, but who wants to stay in that phase?

No. So check the baggage. It's worth it. I promise. And if you want to reach out and work together and find about. And if you want to work together on this, or you want to find out about some groups I have coming up so that you can be in that format of learning from each other, then I encourage you to check the show notes below on how we can work together and what events I have coming up.

So here's to finding our balance code.

Thank you again for listening to today's episode. As one of my [00:13:00] listeners, I have a special gift for you. Do you ever feel like you're simultaneously doing way too much while also not feeling like you're doing enough? I have a workbook that's going to help you solve that problem and get to the root of what actually needs to be done and what matters to you most based on your values.

Check out my juggling all the things workbook below in the show notes so that you can use this special gift. To simplify your life. We all need that. And if you're interested in working with me, check in the show notes below on information on how to do so. Here's to finding our balance code.