Learning to be Comfortable with feeling Uncomfortable
“Never Underestimate the Inclination to Bolt” – Geneen Roth
To create any lasting change, you must be willing to push beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone. If you remain in your comfort zone, nothing changes. Its the edge of your comfort zone is where the magic happens.
But, that is also where you will have to tolerate a good amount of discomfort.
Let’s say you are trying to end your addiction to sugar. Aside from the physical addiction (and, I think sugar is our biggest addiction in this country) there is an emotional reason you are turning to sugar. The first step is to notice what’s going on…notice your feelings you when you are fixated on eating something sweet. What thoughts are running through your head. What does your body feel like when you want to inhale the cookie jar? Can you name what you’re feeling?
And here’s the truth about feeling your way towards what’s really going on…you don’t actually have to name it!
A lot of people get tripped up with that. We’ve been told to name the sensations that we are feeling in our bodies. But, from my experience, you really don’t need to name it. Now, if you know for certain that you are feeling shame, or loneliness, or boredom, great…name it.
But if you’re like me (and many of the people I’ve worked with) you can’t quite put a name to it. So, rather than getting stuck trying to figure it out, forget about that and just feel whatever your body is feeling. Lean into it.
Now remember, when you are feeling uncomfortable your instincts are to run away…to bolt, as Geneen says.
But, the opposite is where the change begins…you must turn towards that part of you that is uncomfortable and open yourself up to experience those feelings…feel what’s going on, fully.
And then, move your body to express what you’re feeling. Literally get up and move and physicalize what you’re feeling.
After you have felt and expressed what’s really going on, choose a different action.
Insight without action is useless.
Let’s go back to the sugar example.
You’re faced with a craving and rather than scarfing down a chocolate bar, you stop and feel what’s going on. You move through it, lean into it, and allow for yourself to feel what’s really going on.
Then? What is a different action you could take? How about throwing that chocolate bar away? Maybe go for a walk or put on your favorite music and dance for a while. You could call a supportive friend or journal for a few minutes about what’s going on.
Another great way to interrupt cravings is, once you’ve leaned in, yell out loud “Stop! That is not loving to me!” Shouting, in and of itself, will change your state. And hearing your own voice shouting those words is a powerful tool to changing your behavior.
Whatever you do, take a different action. And, there is no ‘one way’ for everybody so you’ll have to experiment to see what helps you the most.
So again, when the desire to ‘bolt’ kicks in, stop what you are doing, and lean in. What’s going on? Where do you feel it in your body? Can you move your body in a way to express those feelings? And then, what different behavior can you try?
This can be really tough for a lot of us. If this is something you need support with, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. We can figure it out together.
And as always, repost, retweet, and send to a friend.