MENTAL FITNESS COACHING: lighten your load!


No matter where I go or what the purpose of my travel, I do everything I can to fit all I believe that I need into two carry-on suitcases (one that is truly a carry-on and one that is a monster sized bag that I call my “purse”). It troubles me to have to pack a bigger suitcase that then I have to wait for at the end of my flight when I just want to GET STARTED with the vacation or the business trip. Perhaps, this is extreme on my part…and, yes, I have bought things that I decided that I want while on trips that then have to come home with me somehow…but it always works and I realize in the end that I wore my favorite things and had nothing left unused. As the saying goes, “I take what I need and leave the rest”.

This concept, widely used in recovery treatment, applies to most of us who have lived longer than two decades as we have filled our heads and hearts with feelings related to words and actions of others (about or to us). We have overstuffed our emotional baggage with fear, shame, guilt, resentment, and/or self-concepts that actually BELONG TO SOMEONE ELSE! We can carry this heavy load with us every step of the way, bogging down our movement and leaving little room for getting new things we want to take home with us in our new place in life. Did you know that by keeping the influences of others alive in our self-perception and view of the world, it changes our reality? Do you want to continue to give over that power erroneously?

Now, there are absolutely great lessons to learn about self and life through the experiences and words that others use with us. This is not about blowing off ideas that could help us grasp what would allow us to become our best. This is about “taking what you need and leaving the rest”. Taking the messages and extricating the useful meaning then giving extraneous negative messages and consequent emotional impact BACK TO ITS RIGHTFUL OWNER. It’s about not going home with someone else’s baggage.

Here are three steps to lightening your load:

1. Write out what keeps you from moving forward to create what you would love in your life Consider circumstances, people, and emotions.

2. After each one of those things listed, write out the belief you hold about it and yourself in relation to it. For example, “I don’t have the credentials to have the job I want” is connected to the belief, “I am not smart enough” or “I am lazy” or “I am too old” to get what I need to qualify. Another example, “I have made mistakes in my choices that have left me without options I prefer” is connected to “I blew it because I am not good enough” or “I have regret and there is nothing I can do about it”.

3. With my Mental Fitness Coaching, I focus on the persons’ Voice of Value (VoV). VoV are those beliefs that the person holds as determinants for choices that they make. The last part of this exercise is to (as corny as this may sound) draw two large suitcases (or use document pages) and fill one with the value messages from your above created lists that can fortify your VoV. In the other “suitcase”, put the messages that actually belong to someone else. Those messages are the actions and words that reflect more about THEM than you. Someone who has hurt you has done so because of THEIR own baggage. Give it back.

Lighten your load. Leave room for new items that you choose on your journey.

Ava Diamond, Psychotherapist, Pro Athlete, Mental Fitness Coach, Speaker, Writer, Mom, Sig Other, and Carry-on Carrier.