Baggage. It’s the word that marks us as “screwed up” and living in the past. But is our personal baggage more important than we think? Dr Katherine helps us understand the benefits of baggage and how we can let things go.
Until I was around 33 years old, I spent most of my time living with regret. Oh the stupid things I had done! The remainder of my time was spent being angry at the unfairness of life. My Jewish family calls these kind of people “kvetches”, meaning a person who complains a lot, but isn’t willing to do anything to change their situation.
Is your hand going up too? Don’t worry, we’ve all been a kvetch at one point of our lives. And heck, sometimes it feels damn good to just vent.
One day, I was particularly kvetchy. So much so, in fact, that I was crying so hard that I could barely speak. My friend, trying to console me, had no idea what was going on. I just rambled about why I couldn’t meet a nice guy, why I couldn’t get a job, how unfair life was, and on and on.
He turned to me and said “Shorty, you do realise you’re the common denominator of everything you’re complaining about?”.
You know in the movies when someone gets punched in the stomach, but it’s filmed in slow motion? That’s how that comment felt.
But fact be told, I knew he was right. Everything that was happening in my life was, at the end of the day, my responsibility.
“My life, my responsibility” is a mantra I now tell myself every single gosh darn day. Because here’s the thing: you can continue to use your limited energy to blame, or you can use that energy to change. (Yes, the 2ndone is the right answer).
Please understand it took me a while to accept this responsibility, and therefore a while for me to reap the benefits. But let me tell you, my life did change.
In my talks and workshops I get people to write down a secret, something that they feel guilty about, something that they’ve never told anyone, or something that they feel is holding them back from moving forward.
I’ve collected thousands over the years, and I’ve read them all. Some stories were heartbreaking, others were painful, and others were horrific.
*Please note these secrets have been shared with written consent by the anonymous authors.
While each story was different, one similarity rung true: we can’t expect to look forward to the future if we can’t forgive the past.
I know what you’re thinking: “well thanks Captain Obvious, but how?”.
Well, young grasshopper, it’s easy in theory, but more challenging in practice. Essentially, we need to learn from the experience. With learning, comes wisdom. And with wisdom comes confidence, happiness and health.
How to let go of things that don’t serve you (and learn from them).
If you could erase 1 thing of your past, which memory would it be? Write it down in as much detail as you can. Included all persons involved.
If someone else was involved, how would the situation look from their point of view? Why did they act the way they did?
What responsibility do you need to take for what happened?
What did you learn from the experience that you can use to do good moving forward?
I don’t need to tell you that steps 3 and 4 are not easy. Heck, they took me years to figure out. But once you do, you’ll understand that you may not need to let things go, but rather use them to help you build wisdom for the rest of your life.
Onwards and upwards! Look ahead to a bright future while learning from the storms of the past.
Dr Katherine Iscoe is a Canadian-born confidence guru who thrives on teaching effective, evidence-based solutions to help change people’s lives for the better, to ignite positivity and shine from within. She is a proud published author, a motivational speaker and the creator of The 7-Pillar Forever approach to healthy living. Her unique science-backed process is informed by extensive research, personal experiences and academic qualifications; including Bachelor of Arts in Health Sciences, Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and Health Sciences, a Doctorate in Exercise Physiology and Biotechnology and a Post-graduate Certificate in Counselling.
Dr Katherine continually aims to prove that it’s understanding the science behind our behaviours, that will promote change in ourselves and our self-confidence. For more great tips follow Dr Katherine on Instagram or check out her website.