Mel Schwartz, LCSW

#107 Emotional Rucking

In this 107th episode of The Possibility Podcast with Mel Schwartz, I present a concise exploration of a term I was inspired to coin after listening to a podcast episode from the longevity specialist Dr. Peter Attia: emotional rucking.

What is emotional rucking? Why is it detrimental to our emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being?

How can you shuck off the load you’re carrying?

Listen to find out! And be sure to leave a comment!

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Transcript of The Possibility Podcast with Mel Schwartz #107

Hello everybody and welcome to The Possibility Podcast. I’m your host, Mel Schwartz. I practice psychotherapy, marriage counseling, and I am the author of the book, The Possibility Principle, the companion to this podcast. I hope to be your thought provocateur and I’ll be introducing you to new ways of thinking and a new game plan for life.

Hello everyone. I hope that this episode will be really valuable to you as I do every episode.

I listen to the podcast of Peter Atiyah. If you’re not familiar with Peter, he provides cutting edge information on his podcast about health, nutrition, wellness, exercise. I believe I first heard the term rucking in one of his podcasts.

Rucking is simply carrying a backpack loaded with a lot of weights as you go out for a walk or a hike for the obvious benefit physically. In rucking, the more weight you put into the pack on your back, the stronger you get, the more resilient you become, the greater the workout is.

I began to play with the word rucking and I began to think about what we do emotionally. So often trauma in our past, shame, embarrassment, troubling feelings get suppressed. We just try to hide them or just put them behind us. We don’t want to look at them. This happens with shame, guilt, trauma, pain, even grief. So often when I’m speaking with people, they may say, I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want to have to deal with what that brings up for me. Grieving the loss of another, grieving what we might’ve done differently in our lives, mourning.

Very frequently, we don’t want to grieve because it brings up pain. The irony is whatever the emotional baggage we’re carrying, fearful, guilt, shame, embarrassment, when we don’t want to bring it up, think about it, reflect on it and let it go, we can’t release it.

Sometimes I may ask a question and somebody simply says, I don’t want to talk about it, which means they don’t want to think about it. So I began to think that this is the opposite of the benefit of rucking when you put backpack full of rocks on your back.

I started to play with the term emotional rucking, but it’s a negative, not a positive. When we do emotional rucking, we start to load more and more trauma, pain, troubling memories in our backpack. And they limit us, they inhibit us. They prohibit us from moving forward in our lives. Ultimately, we can emotionally and psychologically, even spiritually collapse under the weight of all of that rucking that we put on our backs.

It’s like wearing a straight jacket. It just impedes our growth. The irony is that we can release it by thinking about it, coming to terms with it and moving on.

You see, there is a paradox here, and I know I share many paradoxes. This paradox is about vulnerability. If you hide your vulnerability from yourself or from others, it makes you vulnerable.

Listen again, hiding your vulnerability from yourself and from others makes you vulnerable because you’re hiding it. You’re emotionally rucking. You’re carrying the baggage. The paradox is by embracing your vulnerability to yourself and to others, surfacing the pain, the sorrow, the embarrassment, releases it. It makes you powerful. Embrace your vulnerability and you become invulnerable.

The goal here is see it, speak it, release it. Envision that. Embarrassment, shame, regret. See it, speak to it with your own self or even better with others, and that releases it. You’re no longer carrying that baggage. To be in flow, in flow in life, requires release. Without release, the possibilities that await you are just theoretical. You are beyond the grasp of realizing them because you’re clinging to the shame and the embarrassment of the past. Try to give up emotional rucking. If you’re not fond of this term rucking, you don’t need that at all.

To become invulnerable, you must embrace your vulnerability. Share it. Share the shame, the guilt, the embarrassment, and it will no longer burden you. Set yourself free. Release it. See it, speak of it, and release it. Embrace your possibilities.

Looking forward to speaking with you again soon. Bye for now.

I hope you enjoyed this episode of The Possibility Podcast. I welcome your feedback on this and any episode. Please send me an email at or leave a comment in the show notes for this episode at If you like what you’re hearing, please take a moment to rate and review the show at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Your reviews really help boost the visibility for the show, and it’s a great way for you to show your support. Finally, please make sure to subscribe to the Possibility Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts, and that way you’ll never miss an episode. Thanks again, and please remember to always welcome uncertainty into your life and embrace new possibilities.

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