When did you first learn that feeling uncomfortable wasn’t ok?
Was it when dad said ‘don’t cry’ when you fell and scraped your knee?
Was it when mum said, ‘This is not the place for drama’, when you had that meltdown Christmas shopping?
Was it when your friend said ‘You’ll be fine, let’s just grab a drink’, when you told them about your breakup?
What do each of those moments have in common?
They taught you to mask your discomfort.
Perhaps you mask it by staying busy. Perhaps you scroll. Perhaps you hide behind your responsibilities to others.
Each of those behaviours is a distraction. They make your discomfort worse.
I remember, a few years ago, being utterly overwhelmed. I had too much on my plate. I was too externally focused and I was so accustomed to masking my feelings I didn’t even realise I was doing it.
I shared my experience with my coach. She asked me what I was doing about it. I said, ‘I’m putting in longer hours to tick everything off my list.
She said, ‘Feelings are there to be felt, not fixed’.
You see, feelings act as messengers. They help us identify our values and needs. And yet most of us are utterly committed to denying they even exist.
When my coach said that, I decided to take her advice, and after just a week of ‘feeling, not fixing’ I’d uncovered the root fear at the heart of my overwhelm and dissolved a good portion of my stress.
Imagine doing the same.
What feelings of yours are you masking that are actually asking to be felt?
A wave of sadness? An expanse of numbness? Fear? Panic? Lack of self trust?
Where does that feeling live in your body? What’s the message it brings?
Perhaps it’s alerting you to the fact that your choices aren’t lighting you up.
Perhaps it’s asking you to look at the impact of doing too much of what you don’t love and too little of what you do?
Can you see your discomfort as a teacher? Can you see that it’s a catalyst for growth?
I bet discomfort is the reason you’re here…because the only thing worse than the pain of growth is the pain of continuing to wear a shoe you’ve already outgrown.
There’s a beautiful quote from the Trappist monk Thomas Merton about this. It says:
“If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I think I am living for, in detail, and ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for. Between these two answers you can determine the identity of any person.”
So, if you’re ready for your next step and want support navigating that leap, reach out. Tell me about where you’ve been, where you’re going and what’s standing in-between the two. Then, let’s chat about if we’re a good fit for coaching.
Also, I’ve just created a new Instagram account that will be dedicated just to coaching content. You can follow that account here. I look forward to seeing you there!