We Americans are MASTERS at resisting discomfort... like we're the pros! We have an insane entertainment industry, delicious convenience food, Amazon, breweries/distilleries/vineyards galore and many other amenities readily available. Our marketing industry assures us that we never need to feel bad because there's something you can consume to numb the pain. What we're not being told is that we're being robbed of the human experience.
On her podcast "Better Than Happy" Jody Moore spoke about how when you drink alcohol you don't just numb the bad stuff, but you also "numb the joy". I had never heard anyone say this before so I chewed on this perspective for a long time. I processed all the ways I had used alcohol over the years and really pondered, did I numb the joy?!? And then I thought about my experience going to concerts and getting obliterated so that I couldn't fully remember the show the next day...or how there was this sense that I hadn't gotten the experience I'd been looking for. Eventually I concluded that alcohol did in fact limit my ability to experience the full range of emotions both good and bad. This is why I'm celebrating 125 days of sobriety.
At the end of the day there is nothing that you can smoke, buy, drink, watch or fight to heal yourself or change circumstances. You can temporarily numb the pain of life or deny what's happening through anesthetizing, but you can't actually be the best version of you or do your part to improve things through these methods. And you certainly don't get to experience the highest of highs that life naturally offers to us. In other words, checking out allows you to escape emotions, but checking in, being fully present, allows you live a more joyful and abundant life, while also consuming less.
Friends, if ever there was a time to surrender to the discomfort of life; to check in, it's NOW. This pandemic is not something to resist- it's something to surrender to. We're supposed to be concerned. We're supposed to be anxious. We're supposed to be working on ourselves to grow during this season of life. We're supposed to be questioning so much of "what is" (like how we care for the earth, how we treat each other in our communities, our overuse of screens or the experience of the average American worker). We're 100% not supposed to check out right now.
The only way to find out who you truly are and all that you're capable of is to surrender to the pain and discomfort. Give yourself a chance to really hear that inner voice and what it's trying to tell you. If you're constantly checking out by using numbing mechanisms, you can't even hear that voice. Give yourself the chance to notice the sensations in your body and know that that's really all these feelings are... sensations in your body. Many times the fear of feeling the feels is greater than actually feeling the feels. Again, we're socialized to believe that having bad feelings isn't desirable or necessary.
Life is good, even when it seems bad. Trust that everything is happening for you. If you can surrender to this temporary moment in time, you'll discover you have all the strength you need to get through ANYTHING life throws your way. And hopefully you'll begin to understand that you matter (like hi, you're a real piece of the puzzle!) and that the world truly needs you at your best.
Please know that you don't have to do it all on your own. There is no shame in working with a therapist, coach or other professional to gain the tools you need to thrive. You only get one life so why not create a life you love and feel capable of being fully present in? Why not create a life that allows you to feel safe enough to surrender to?
Thanks for reading,
There's a song for that: ""Rise", Katy Perry