growing

Pollyanna

I got called out yesterday morning.

It stung. I was told “why don’t you practice what you preach… positivity no matter what” after I was asked how I was doing and I honestly shared that I was irritated with my homeowner’s insurance regarding a repair from storm damage (as I was just finishing sending an email).

I’m currently practicing staying open and being aware of all of my feelings. And while this stung for a minute, I learned something priceless from what was said to me, and how I interpreted it.

I realized that this person misunderstands my intention, doesn’t fully understand what I’m doing in my coaching, how I’m teaching people to thrive. It’s not about positivity.

The intention of coaching and Thrive Arena is NOT to promote “positivity no matter what”. I don’t want to be happy when someone is in pain or dying or there is injustice in the world. I don’t want to be (or pretend to be) positive about things that sucks, I want to be able to feel and allow ALL emotions and process them in a healthy way to grow and expand my capacity in life.

This is what I focus on with my clients. We do the work to allow ALL the feelings. Life is 50% positive. 50% negative. Often, the thought error (aka belief that is holding us back) IS that we should be happy all the time.

No. Just no. But I get it, because I used to believe this too. Now I don’t – and that’s just one way that coaching has opened up my life.

There is a time and a place for all feelings. Trying to force positivity and happiness in a space where it doesn’t fit is like trying to shove a square peg into a round hole. It doesn’t fit. I want to be authentic, vulnerable and allow all of my emotions. THIS is how we feel greater joy, love, and happiness. By allowing the contrasts – the anger, the hurt, the disappointment, the fear. All of the uncomfortable emotions (that we’re regularly trying to avoid or suppress) are the ones that need our attention the most.

So I stopped, explained briefly that I was being authentic and that she caught me in a moment of frustration and then we both went on with our day. I am so grateful for this conversation and the honest expression of my colleague.

When we allow ourselves room for ALL of our emotions, we can stop suppressing, stop spending time avoiding, running from, overeating, overdrinking, overshopping, overspending, and doing all the other things that we as humans do to avoid our true emotions. Processing these in a healthy way (aka not doing all of the above to avoid them or suppress them) makes us both emotionally and physically healthier.

And that, my friends, is how we thrive.

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

Change is always a little scary. So how do we change when we feel that paralyzing fear and worry and then god-forbid we start making changes and our brain kicks in… and OMG, the overwhelming anxiety and what if’s creep in…

The question is:

HOW DO ACTUALLY WE CHANGE WHEN THE THOUGHT OF IT IS SCARY?

Fear and doubt and worry hold so many people back; no doubt you’ve considered doing something* and held back out of fear.

*Examples include leaving or taking a job, going on a date, meeting a new person, trying a new sport, lifting a heavier weight, ending a toxic relationship, etc

Consider that fear is your brain’s natural response to ANYTHING new or different. Our brains are trained to seek pleasure, avoid pain and be efficient. Our brain always has our back to protect us from that evolutionary threat… the dangerous animal outside our cave. Now that we’ve evolved? It’s still working all the time, but only has time to flex when we want to do something that most likely ISN’T going to kill us (daredevils, I’m excluding you).

I know there are definitely things you wanted in the past and pushed through the discomfort of fear and the unknown to experience, like a new relationship, job, school, haircut or sport.

We all have, our else we’d never grow or change. 

Doing new things may always be slightly scary. If you are willing to accept this and still move forward, you can create whatever you desire in your life. 

THIS one skill is the key to freedom from the “what ifs”:

✅ Picture what you want to do

✅ Create a plan that makes it possible

✅ Expect and allow the discomfort and fear and anxiety about trying something new and different (thanks brain!)

✅ Execute plan then evaluate and adjust it as needed until goal accomplished

✅ Repeat as needed

We always think we need to feel comfortable and competent and motivated to take action toward a new goal but all of these emotions come from how we frame what we want – we actually create these emotions with our thoughts and beliefs about our idea. 

You can allow your fear and accept it and move through that discomfort to achieve new things. You’ve done it before – you can do it again. So get out there and do it! 

I believe in you. ❤️

Have a beautiful day my friend.

Learning Experiences

I remember being in graduate school. I lived in my own apartment. It was very important to my mom that I live alone at least once in my life (as a parent, I now understand that you want to prevent your children from having the same struggles you did… she saw this as one of her regrets).

I studied, I daydreamed. I ATE.

I cooked, some. I learned to cook. Eventually.

My dad’s favorite joke is that I used to burn water… but he and my bonus mom made sure we knew how to cook simple stuff before we left for college. For that I am grateful.

I ordered a LOT of take-out that year in grad school. I ate a lot of processed foods, a lot of sweets. I love sugar and baked goods (no surprise that the one recipe I mastered before I left home was cookies).

Photo by Vitaly Vlasov on Pexels.com

 I don’t recall a lot of details from that year, other than that, essentially, I was lonely. I was isolated. I ate to comfort myself.

Even though I went outside, I was around people, I went for walks through the parks, I browsed at the bookstores, I went to class. I experienced my isolation. I felt it, my alone-ness. I didn’t like it, it didn’t feel good.

It wasn’t horrible. But now, I realize that I was eating to escape my discomfort, escape my feelings. The ones I created for myself that year. I was soothing myself with food. Not terribly surprising that that year was essentially my unhealthiest nutrition year ever.

I was in my early 20’s. I had a boyfriend who was loving, supportive and lived about 2 hours away. He was great. My family has always been loving. I was “going through life”. I was living how I knew. I hadn’t learned. I didn’t know any better.

Ya know, that time when you THINK you are grown and mature and know everything?

Yeah, that time.

I laugh now. That experience helped to shape who I am today. All of my experiences have. For that reason, I don’t live with regrets. I often don’t look back at all. I live, I learn, I move forward.

Are there times that I cringe thinking about the horrible choices I’ve made and the people that I’ve hurt along the way? Of course.

Is there value in reliving these things in my mind repeatedly? No.

I live, I learn, I keep moving forward. Again. And again. Have I learned the same lessons multiple times? Yup, I am that stubborn. Yet I keep moving forward.

I still crave amazing Greek food, especially moussaka from that little restaurant in Cleveland sometimes.

I smile though now, recalling the dreams I had back then, what I was doing to move myself forward and how much I have learned while living my life.

Live life. Make mistakes. Learn and keep moving forward. It is the human way. Embrace it all and life will become so much more.

Hey there! Let’s stay in touch.

%d bloggers like this: