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The Fear of Being Seen

Emotional Residency: Packing Up Your Life for Joyful Reinvention

Assessing what parts of our lives we are ready to leave behind and what we want to bring along as we move forward is a crucial aspect of personal growth and transformation. In a podcast episode, Tonya Leigh discusses the process of packing up her belongings as she prepares to move to a new house. This physical act of packing serves as a metaphor for the emotional and mental process of evaluating what serves us and what no longer aligns with our current goals and values.

She emphasizes the importance of being intentional about what we choose to bring along on our journey. This includes not only physical items but also emotional baggage, old beliefs, and outdated thought patterns. By taking the time to assess these aspects of our lives, we can make conscious decisions about what to let go of and what to hold onto as we move forward.

Join Tonya as she shares her own emotional journey of packing up her current home and moving into a new chapter.

Episode Details:

00:30 - Introduction to Packing Up and Moving On

05:30 - Emotional Baggage and Letting Go

10:33 - Sunken Cost Fallacy and Letting Go

15:19 - Packing Up for the Future

18:41 - Moving into a New Chapter

22:47 - Joyful Reinvention through Packing Up and Moving On

Episode Transcript:

I am sitting here in my office surrounded by boxes because I am in the process of packing up all of my things and getting ready to move to my new house. And as I've been going through this process, I realized it's about so much more than just packing up things and moving them to a new location. This has been about me deciding what parts of myself I'm ready to leave behind, what things I'm ready to let go of and equally, what I'm ready to move towards, what parts of myself I'm ready to step into. So that's what this episode is all about. I want us all to think about what we're ready to leave behind, what we want to pack up and move towards the next season of our lives and what we are excited to move towards. So let's dive in.

Welcome to the School of Self-Image, where personal development meets style. Here's your hostess, Master Life Coach, Tonya Leigh.

Hello, friends, and welcome to another episode of the podcast. Today is a very special one because I am packing up and moving on. That's right, this is probably going to be one of the last few episodes that I record in my current home. And for those of you who are in the membership, you've been seeing a similar background for the last three to four years, this picture, this painting that's behind me. I'm packing it up. I am taking it with me, but it is not going to be my background any longer. Lots of stuff is happening in my life right now, and I didn't expect it to be so emotional.

I'm so excited about this move. It's the first time I've ever owned my own home. We have been building this house for the last 18 months, give or take a month or two, I can't remember exactly when we started, but nevertheless we've been anticipating this move and now it is finally happening. And I've been thinking a lot as I'm packing up boxes and I am visualizing the new house and what life is going to be like in that new house, I've been thinking about you all and the importance of packing up our lives. What I mean by that is as I've been going through the items in my home, I've been very intentional about how they make me feel. I've been very intentional about do I want to bring them along? And if I do, why? I've been taking my time and really thinking through what is around me, my environment, because I talk about this a lot in the membership, but our environment is reflecting stories back to us, and I want to be very intentional about what my environment is saying about me.

I had a moment a couple of weeks ago, I've been tackling room by room and going through things because I don't want to bring anything along with me on this next phase, during this next chapter that isn't purposeful, that isn't intentional. There's a closet right here to my right where I have my filing cabinet and a lot of office stuff and I was going through it and wow, it was so interesting what all came up for me. I have papers in there that I've been dragging around with me for the last... Let's see, Sarah's 26, the last 23 years. I had divorce papers, I had emails, I had things that when I read them, I was like, "Oh my goodness, who was I and who was my ex?" Because we've both grown up. I've been dragging that around. And even though I don't pull it out and read it on a weekly basis, the energy of those papers were in my house and I really questioned why I'd held onto them for so long. I think part of it was fear. Fear of, will I ever need it again? Will I ever need this evidence again? Because like many divorced couples go through, we went through custody and all the stuff that comes with that, and the reality is I haven't needed that for a long time.

So I went through paper by paper, photo by photo, and weeded out all of that old energy and I threw it away. I got rid of it. And let me tell you, it was so liberating. I've been doing this with every corner of my house. I haven't tackled my closet yet, but I walked in this morning because I knew I was preparing for this episode, and I looked around and I thought to myself, there's going to be a lot of stuff that I'm going to let go from my closet because it represented who I was. But even in the last year, I've had such big shifts. I've had some of you reach out to me on Instagram and Facebook saying, "I'm feeling the shift. I can tell you're getting back into your sweet spot." So I am letting go of so many things, and I want you to think about this for you because you don't have to move to a new home, you don't have to move to a new city to stop and say, what am I ready to pack up? What am I ready to move on from?

When it comes to packing up, there are physical things and there's also the emotional baggage. It's the old beliefs, it's your whole framework of how you see the world, and so I want to start with the emotional baggage and how that is displayed in terms of the items around us. Because inevitably when we start packing up physical things, it brings up a lot of emotions. For me, I cried when I was going through my old papers because I saw Mother's Day cards that my daughter wrote me when she was five and six years old and there's a part of me on some level that wishes I could go back and revisit that time and appreciate it more. So I looked at those and I had a moment of realizing that there's regret, there are things that I've been wrestling with. "I wish I would've done this. I wish I would've done that," and I need to move on. I need to let go of that.

I am a firm believer in that we are always doing the best we can with who we are and what we know at that moment, and giving ourselves that grace is so important. And so I cried. I forgave myself for certain things and I said, "You know what, Tonya, it's time to move on. You're a different woman now. And you did the best you could with who you were and what you knew at the time." And I think for all of us, we need to really extend ourselves that grace because it's so easy on the other side to look back and say, "I should have done this and I should have done that." What if you did exactly what you were supposed to do? Now, can you move on from that? Can you forgive yourself? Can you let it go and move on?

When it comes down to the items that I am going through and deciding what comes along and what is left behind, I am asking myself questions like, does this spark a negative emotion within me? Is this tied to negative memories? Now, I could sit around and try to work on my thoughts all day about those things, or I can just let the items go. I can release them.

I also love to think about, does this belong in my future? Another question you can ask is, would I buy this thing again today? And if not, it probably doesn't need to come along for this next chapter. I also love the Marie Kondo question, which is, does this spark joy? Does this belong in my future? Does this excite me? Does this align with my values? Does it represent who I am today? These types of questions are helping me get really clear on what I want to bring along and what I want to leave behind.

So often throughout this process, letting go has been me voting for the woman I'm becoming. And through the process, I have encountered so many emotions. When it comes to letting go of things, some of us encounter what is called sunken cost fallacy, which is basically this cognitive bias that happens when we've invested a lot of time, a lot of money, a lot of effort, a lot of energy into something, and yet it no longer serves us and so we might cling to it. It might be a relationship, a career path, or even a physical object because of the investment we've made. But knowing it doesn't serve you, knowing it doesn't belong in your future, I hope will give you the courage to just let it go.

The way I like to think about it is it's just opening up a portal for new things to come in, new opportunities, new people, new ways of being. But a lot of us experience that. I was looking in my closet and I was thinking, "Gosh, I'm going to have to let some of these things go because they don't serve me any longer." But then my brain went to, but do you remember how much you paid for it? And the reality is hanging onto it I think will have a much more negative impact on my life than keeping something, even though it may have cost a lot of money.

So I want you to think about when you're thinking about what you want to pack up and what you want to let go of, how many things are you hanging onto because you have invested a lot of time, a lot of energy, a lot of effort, maybe even a lot of money into it? But deep down, if you listen to your soul you know it doesn't belong in your life. What if by letting that thing go, you are voting for your future and you are opening up a pathway for new things to flow into your life? That's the way I'm choosing to see it, and yet it's still hard. I'm not going to sit here and tell you, "Oh, it's so easy to let things go."

When we have an emotional attachment to something, it is a real feeling and it can bring up a lot. That's why I was so surprised with this process I didn't realize how much courage it was going to take to let some of these things go. But as I've been doing it and experiencing the liberation and the freedom, it's giving me more evidence to want to continue letting go of things that I don't want to bring along into not only this new house, but this new season of my life.

Another thing that I've noticed in deciding what stays and what goes is this thought of scarcity. Have you ever had it where you are wanting to let go of something but then you want to keep it because you're like, "What if I can't get it again? What if I never find a pair of shoes that I love as much as I loved those? Even though these are no longer my style, I remember loving them, and what if I can never find a pair of shoes like that again?" That is such scarcity thinking. And a life built on scarcity creates more scarcity. So I always love to go to what would the most abundant version of me do? Would she hoard this? Would she hang onto it? Or would she let it go trusting that what is meant for her will come to her? So just notice when you're thinking about packing up your life how much you're hanging onto out of scarcity.

The other thing that may come up for you is fear of the unknown. Many times we hang onto things because we know them, they're familiar, even though they don't serve us. And the moment you think about letting go, it's a very scary situation because you don't know what awaits on the other side, especially when it comes to your beliefs, because this whole process isn't just about letting go and packing up physical things. It's about letting go of beliefs that no longer serve you. And sometimes we hang onto beliefs for so long that we really believe that that's who we are and that's how the world works, and we don't know a world without that belief. So letting it go, as liberating as it may seem, is also equally scary because your brain doesn't know what it's like to walk through the world feeling like you are deserving. Your brain doesn't know what it's like to walk through the world believing that you are 100% worthy. Your brain doesn't know what it's like to walk through the world thinking life can be easy because you haven't been thinking that and so you don't yet have the evidence for it. But you have to be willing to let these thoughts and things go in order to birth the next version of you.

So much of this process I can now see is leaving part of my past behind, but it's also about intentionally choosing parts of my past that I want to bring along. If you've been listening to the last few episodes of the podcast, I've been talking a lot about getting back to my sweet spot, I've been talking about my journey over the last couple of years and how I needed to play in different realms to figure out the next version of me. Now I feel like I'm ready to assemble the two. I'm ready to bring the two together, merge them, so to speak. And that means me being very meticulous in what I'm choosing from my past to bring along and what is no longer a fit for my future.

So when I think about this whole concept, what I'm really doing, and I want you to think about this for you, is I'm packing up my future. We get to choose, you all, what we bring along with us on this journey of life. And a lot of people are just dragging those same old stuff with them wherever they go. But in any moment, you get to stop and be like, "Whoa, this load is heavy. I don't like how it feels. It's not leading me to where I want to go." And you get to open up the luggage of life and look at it, and say, "What am I currently carrying that's holding me back, that's weighing me down?" And you can let it go. You can pull it out, leave it outside of the suitcase, and then you get to look around and choose what you want to put in it. It really aligns beautifully with the self-image method.

The self-image method is five steps. First of all, we assess, we open up the suitcase and we're like, "Okay, what's working? What's not working?" And then we define what we want our lives to look like, what we want them to feel like, and who we must become to create that. And then it's an intentional process of what do we need to let go of? What do we need to add? And then the daily practice is refining that over and over again. It just so happens that right now I'm just doing it on a big scale because this is a big momentous time in my life where I'm literally packing up my life and so I'm thinking about it in that way. What do I want to pack for my future? The thoughts that I want to bring along, the ones that I want to leave behind, the things I want to bring along, the things I want to leave behind, even certain relationships that I want to bring along and some that have changed, some that I'm ready to let go of. That's how we need to be thinking about our lives.

The closet I was just telling you about, another thing that came up for me the other day is that I realized I had saved all of my coach certification books from all those years ago, and I realized I was ready to let them go. I realized I was hanging onto them because maybe there was some part of me that was like, "You're not ready yet." I've been doing this for 15 years, obviously I'm ready. I've been coaching myself and others for over 15 years, but subconsciously there was this little thought of like, "But are you good enough, Tonya? Are you really ready for this? You better keep this." And I was like, "Oh no. I know how to coach. I've been doing it every day on myself for over 15 years. I've been coaching others for over 15 years. It is safe to let this go and see what is birthed from that, see what's birthed when you let go and you really just integrate and trust your own wisdom." The tools that you've been creating for yourself for all of these years, let's lean on that and trust that.

So I let those go and I replaced it with my own trust in myself. These are the little things that happen, you all, as you're packing up your life and you're moving. These are the things that happen for us on a day-to-day basis when we're really sitting with ourselves and asking ourselves, what am I ready to leave behind and what am I ready to bring along? And what do I need to add that maybe I don't yet have?

So as I'm thinking about my future in this new house, I'm really thinking about moving on into a new chapter, and I'm thinking about and visualizing who do I want to be in this house?

I've been spending a lot of time journaling. I've been spending a lot of time thinking about my new life because environments have a powerful effect on us. And I believe that when we change our environments, especially drastically, it is an opportunity to step into a whole new way of being. So what's been coming up for me is family connection. I want to start cooking again. There are many things that I currently do that I want to bring along. I feel like I'm very good at curating an environment that makes me feel really happy and good and well, and so playing music, lighting candles, having fresh flowers in the house. I will bring that along with me. But there are new things that actually are from my past that I had let go a long time ago that I'm ready to bring back in.

I'm so excited to cook again. I haven't cooked in years. Vaughn spoils me because he does all the cooking, but I'm ready to get in the kitchen again. One of the things that I'm looking forward to is going to the farmer's market every Saturday and picking out fresh produce. I'm ready to simplify and elevate my wardrobe. I'm ready to slow down.

I was talking to some members at our cocktail party the other night, and they were like, "Where are you traveling to?" And I'm like, "Nowhere. I don't want to go anywhere right now. I just want to be." I told them, I'm like, "I want to nest. I want to just enjoy where I am." Because looking back, I realized that my whole life, I've been on the go. I've been on the move. Now, this isn't to say I'm going to stop traveling because that's not true, I love traveling, but I don't want to travel as much right now during the season of my life.

That's the thing you all, we change. Season to season, when we have kids, our priorities and our values are maybe different than when we become older and our kids are gone and we're like, "Oh, this is a new season with new opportunities." And sometimes I think we can become so rigid in how we think we're supposed to be that we are not open to what our soul truly wants in this season of our lives. And nothing is forever. Just because you say, this is what I want during this season of my life doesn't mean it has to be forever. It's just during the season.

So for me now during the season, I just want to enjoy our home. I want to cook. I'm excited to do laundry. I never thought I would say that, I'm really excited to do laundry. I want to get back to the simple things. I've been reading a lot. I want to read even more. I want to host dinner parties. I want to have game nights. I want to really focus on the business. We've got some big projects coming up, and I'm really excited for the energy that I'm going to have from being in this new space and getting back into my sweet spot.

So when I'm thinking about packing up, I'm also being intentional with what I want to move on to and who I want to move into in terms of my own beingness. And again, you don't have to be packing up your house. You don't have to be moving to do this. It really is just you stopping long enough to say, "Okay, I'm going to do an emotional move. I am moving emotional residency." And getting clear on where you want to move to. So when I think about that, you may have a goal. You may just have, "I want to be this kind of woman. I want to be more calm. I want to be more relaxed." Well, then we need to look around your emotional home and your physical home, and say, "Okay, what beliefs, what behaviors, what physical things are moving me away from that that I need to let go of?"

And then you need to look at your strengths. You need to look at what you currently believe that may be aligned with what you want or close to it. You want to look at the things around you that spark that emotion in you, and you want to put it in your suitcase, pack it up and move on. I believe that packing up and moving on, whether it's metaphorically or it's reality, is one of the most powerful tools for joyful reinvention. And I'm inviting you to do this with me.

I want you to stop and assess your life. Look at what's working, what's not working. Look at what you want to move into. Define it. Get clear on it. And then it's a matter of going through your emotional house, thought by thought, item by item, and being intentional about what you put in your suitcase of life to bring along with you.

Let me tell you, this is an ongoing process. I know when I get in that house, I'm going to have to be doing this work on a daily basis, and that's okay. I don't mind. I know as I often say, when you're done, you're dead. This is our work, my friends. This is what we're here to do. We are here to stay awake. We are here to be intentional. We're here to be joyful. We're here to listen to our soul and what our soul is craving, and then we need to take action on what we deeply, deeply want.

So I'm curious, what are you ready to move to? What are you ready to pack up and bring along with you? And what do you need to let go of? I hope you have a beautiful week, and I will see you in the next episode.

I used to think happiness was a fairy tale, forever just out of reach. I felt stuck a lot of the times, helpless and like I was constantly failing at life. But then I discovered a simple shift, or three, that changed everything. Now I help women like you create their own powerfully ever after. In my free masterclass, you'll learn the secrets to unshakable desire, fearless action, and finally believing in yourself. You deserve a life you love, so stop waiting and start creating. Watch the masterclass and unleash your inner powerhouse. You can go to and watch it now.



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