Mastering Discomfort: A Self-Growth GuideOct 30, 2023
I gave my first newspaper interview last week. It was so interesting speaking to a reporter who wanted MY take on how people could deal with all the worrying things happening in the world.
It was interesting on several levels… first, it was clear the editor had given a specific angle, and the questions were all pointing in that direction, but second, was the lack of general understanding of what to DO with all the feelings that are brought up by these big, global issues.
So many people want a tip, trick or practice to reduce the stress levels… but they neglect processing the thoughts and feelings that cause all that stress.
It’s like taking medication to “fix” a problem that could otherwise be addressed with a good diagnosis and possibly some lifestyle changes. (No, not making a sweeping medical statement there.)
Here’s my point: when something is causing you stress, it’s highly likely that one of your ABC’s (assumption, belief or conditioning) doesn’t match what’s going on in reality. Or, it could be that you’re being shown an assumption, belief or conditioning you’re not proud of discovering in yourself.
It’s extremely common in personal growth work. I call it “being shown what’s in the mirror.” This is a huge part of the work I do as a coach. I hold up the mirror for you to see things you wouldn’t otherwise see.
But - right now there are so many situations and circumstances out there that provide a mirror (of sorts), showing you what you’re really made of. What you assume, believe and the conditioning you’ve received.
This is the stress my reporter friend was asking about. The tension of being uncomfortable with what you see in the mirror.
What do you do with all that uncomfortableness?
When you look in the mirror, and you don’t like what you see, what do you do?
Give Yourself Grace:
You may need space to do your own work… it might take some time, you might need a quiet space, or you might need someone to reflect with and respond to.
It may take time to allow your heart and mind to open. Especially if it’s a deep or hard truth you need to face. For instance, I just finished reading White Women: Everything You Already Know About Your Own Racism and How to Do Better, and boy did it show me some things I need to take the time to process. My brain gets them, but my heart will process them over time.
You need to give yourself time to allow the feelings, all of them. Regarding the situation AND your response to it.
As you move forward, because I assume you want to grow, I do want to give you just a few important tips for how to start processing your own “uncomfortableness.”
What NOT To Do:
Don’t ask others to do the work for you. Any of it.
If your boss asked you to learn Excel in order to produce spreadsheets and reports for your job, you wouldn’t expect her to teach you everything. Yes, ask for help, but do your own learning so that you get all the benefit from the growth.
Don’t beat yourself up or wallow in the shame or grief of your own discoveries.
What you see in the mirror won’t always be pretty. That’s the way it is for ALL of us. We each have plenty to learn, confront and change.
What TO Do/Know:
It's Your Journey, Go at Your Speed:
There will always be someone ahead of you, and it's ok to be the person behind catching up.
As a matter of fact, it’s awesome to have someone to watch, and learn from! You’re on your own journey. When you can see me, or someone else you follow heading around a new corner, allow it to give you the encouragement to keep going, knowing that whatever you’re working on can be done.
Help/Belonging Is Available:
As you are doing your own work, and are on your own journey - you’re not alone. This is what I do as a coach. I’m available to help, should you want it, but I’m not your only option. I have done this work for years, and along the way have found coaches, friends, family, even relative strangers (via social media) who have been there for me.
This work can be hard and highly emotional, and I want you to know that you have someone who will listen, or even hold your hand while you process. For me, this has included tears, tossing trash cans in the backyard, talking things out, you name it.
You following me is irrelevant, but I want you to know that others have done this for me, and I want to do that for you.
Even if I'm just a friendly email that comes once a week, or a voice on a podcast…. If you never reach out to me personally, you never join my community, never coach with me, meet me or take any of my courses, I will still be your FRIEND.
I will be the voice that says "you can make it through this, the world will not end, it is ok.”
It might feel like challenging some of these things in your life, dealing with your conditioning or a belief that you didn’t realize you have - is like jumping off the edge, but it’s not. It's just a shallow puddle."
This is what Standing Tall and Owning It actually means.
It means doing the work - recognizing when something makes you uncomfortable and figuring out why.
It means looking in the mirror - seeing it for what it is, even if you don’t like it, aren’t proud of it, and don’t want to deal with it.
This is WHY I say over and over again, that understanding YOU, your Core Values, is so important. It gives you the ability to stand there, look in the mirror, remind yourself that whatever you see can be addressed and dealt with, and you can make a difference.
So I ask you:
- How are these hard things hitting you right now?
- What are they showing you?
- How are you processing it?
- How do you process?
You deserve the grace to process what you find, you don’t have to do it alone.
I want to hear from you! DM me on social media (@theintentionaloptimist), or just hit Reply and tell me your thoughts or ask me your questions.
Standing with you,
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