Where do you put your focus when you’re faced with a challenge; getting out or going back?
Have you ever had that feeling of wanting to return to a place or time when things seemed to be more settled, in place, and maybe even comfortable? Or a desire to flee the seen because the level of discomfort is so extreme? Over the past week, I had several client’s make the same comment, “I just wish things were like they used to be.”
I can relate. As I look back at times in my life where the level of discomfort was unbearable, I realize I have always ran away. I avoided the pressure to perform expected tasks, I shut down verses speaking my mind, I settled for things when I knew I could do better, and I put up with a lot of shit versus setting limits and/or boundaries.
I couldn’t bear to focus on how I may make it out the other side, because I was too focused on how much I hated the feelings in that moment. In turn, I lost opportunities to really learn about myself in those moments. It’s something I am putting my energy into learning more about now. I guess I wonder would we ever stop going back, if we were allowed to. Like, once I was back at lets say age 21 when things were going great. Would that 21 year old wish she was 16?
I think we can all agree that there has been some colossal shit storm thing that has hit us at one point or another in our life. For some, you were able to clean up and move on with zero destruction. For others, maybe a few losses and a couple bumps and bruises. Then, there are those which got wiped out; bearing nothing to show for all that led up to this point in time. However, being challenged is a part of life. I believe we have a choice….do we look at it as suffering and allow it to dictate the beliefs we have about ourselves. And in doing so take on more of the same suffering? Or, do we sit down, map out a course and exit strategy and do everything we damn will need to in order to make it out a more emotionally intelligent, courageous, brave, and skilled person?
I get that sometimes our current struggle may feel so heavy, that going back seems easier than moving forward. Or just remaining in the suffering…because that’s easier too, right? Like, at least I know what this feels like and what’s going to happen over and over again. If I leave this place, what will that look like? Will I have given up, because I just couldn’t take it any more versus “pushing through”. Looking ahead is a whole lot scarier because we don’t know what’s next. Right now, I have no choice but to sit in the discomfort until I decided I’m ready to do something about it. I have made some tiny strides, which I am proud of…but there is a whole lot more I am still avoiding.
Here is the deal…give yourself permission. You don’t have to move on it now, tomorrow, or even in a month. But, the practice of leaning in, assessing, reflecting, and being honest with yourself about what’s keeping you in this shitty place will eventually get you out. The timing is up to you. The amount of suffering and discomfort is up to you.
The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it and through it (those intense discomforts), even when it’s not going well, is a true test of your grit and growth mindset. That grit and that desire to grow are what will keep you going through any size challenge.
Some things to think about and maybe journal over the next week:
1. Do you know your capacity to withstand discomfort?
2. Do you know recognize your strengths and weaknesses when you are in a situation which makes you feel uncomfortable?
3. How have you handled feeling uncomfortable in the past?
4. Write down a scenario in which you were uncomfortable, and look at how you would have done things different knowing what you know now.
5. Write down 10 statements that will empower you to beleive more about yourself today, compared to how you felt yesterday.
6. If you’re really feeling stuck, set up some small goals. What would it look like to be outside of this challenge? How would you feel? What would you be doing differently? And then begin to write small goals in order to begin exploring the potential of getting to that place. Again, the timing is up to you.
7. What are you willing to do different now, in order to make this change…it could be something super small. But it’s a shift of some sort?