Recently, my sister told me about an incident in which she left the water running outside while filling up the pool. Her intentions were good as she was trying to take care of the pool while her husband was away. However, she ended up going to bed early and forgetting about the water. She awoke to a flooded backyard, but no real damage.
Who hasn't done something of the sort, right? I let her know that I am sure her trees appreciated the drink and the good thing about adulting was that she wasn't 'in trouble'. The struggle is real. Even as adults we carry over the trauma from childhood of all the things that we did wrong and got in trouble for. We anticipate when people are going to be unhappy with us and we revert to our childhood ways. Many times our behavior as children was the basis of whether your parents were happy or not. A screw up as a child not only meant you did something wrong but you impacted the emotions of an adult. I won't get started on how ones emotions/feelings/etc should not be based on what someone else does - maybe in another post. My point is just to say, we carry that mess over into adulthood. We act like we still have the rules we had growing up.
Aside from not breaking the law, if we are adulting on our own, we do not have "rules". As adults, hopefully, we are living from our values rather than fear based rules. Personally, at this stage of my life I value calm and peace of mind. The decisions I make and the things that I do are now out of what I value and not out of what I fear. Sometimes I have to continually remind myself of that.
I continue to define my values. As I do so, I can more confidently live them out in my actions and my decisions. I'm still a work in progress but for today, I live by my values and not by any rule. I'm at peace recognizing this and working toward it. For today, I seek out that which is calming and promotes my feeling of freedom vs. fear. Light bulb! Looks like I've just found another thing I value: Freedom....
Poor discomfort. No one likes you! Well not unless you are a masochist. Since most of us do not fall into that category though, there is usually much wailing and gnashing of teeth when we feel discomfort of any sort. We have become so attune to soothing this feeling immediately upon it's resurrection in our lives be it with food, drugs, alcohol, activity, etc.. We do not wait to see what is on the other side.
Let's take that diet you just started. You've dialed back the caloric intake in hopes of dropping some of those fruit cake induced L.B.s from the holidays. Where we fall off of that wagon though on day 2, is when we feel the slightest bit hungry. Are you used to feeling hungry? Ever? Or at the first gnaw of that feeling in your belly you head to the break room and kick the snack machine to see what comes out. I have had many times that I would not sit with a hungry feeling for more than a few minutes. I would by no means have starved to death in the hour or two until the next meal time. But if I had endured a bit of discomfort, the other side may have looked like a lighter boxing weight... or maybe I wouldn't have felt like a busted can of biscuits in the skinny jeans.
The same goes for life. We try as we might to avoid discomfort. The discomfort of a conversation that needs to happen, the discomfort of grief that we do not want to experience. I mean really, who wants to go through all of those steps?! I have had situations that I've had to grieve and I've tried to short cut those by just sprinting to the acceptance phase. Um, people that doesn't work. I'm here to say. Oh yes, I've tried! Even if you proclaim out loud and in front of a group. If you sprint past denial, anger and any other step you'll just have to circle back for the relay baton because you can't make it to the finish without it. But what awaits on the other side is actually something dare I say, sweet. Sweet in the way of you got through something that you thought would kill you. But you know what? It didn't. You thought you couldn't handle discomfort. But you know what? You did! The yield is endurance. The Bible tells us that suffering helps us endure and endurance builds character. And this gives us a hope that Romans says will never disappoint us. Look at the person that you most admire, or a person that you believe has great character. Likely they have endured that discomfort that threatened to tear them down, that threatened their security or even their sanity. But mainly, they just came out stronger on the other side.
So how do we do this? Feel - don't fight. We sometimes fight so hard to NOT feel something. The more you try to not feel the feeling the worse it usually is. Instead, just acknowledge it is there but KEEP GOING! I have in recent years developed a stage fright that would leave me playing well during my practice then sounding like a 2 year old scratching on my violin in front of an audience. I would try so hard to NOT be nervous before a performance. I focused on the feeling. Wrong answer. Focus on your purpose. The feeling is going to be there but that is not your purpose. While I'll never be an Itzhak Perlman (and I'm ok with that), I was pleased with a recent performance. I wasn't left incapacitated. Don't think I wasn't nervous, I was! Making the shift to identify the purpose, acknowledge the feeling but then continuing IN MY PURPOSE allowed me to ride right over my usual stage fright.
Whether it is stage fright, the loss of a loved one, loss of a friendship, marital issue, child issue, you name it... the phrase that has helped me to endure is "THIS TOO SHALL PASS" What awaits on the other side is a more mature, a more enlightened, a more well developed YOU. And if you learn to give yourself some grace and some time hopefully like me you'll be able to look in the mirror and say, "Hey! I'm proud of you! You got spunk girl. And I love you".