It’s been a rough week around here. We move on Monday, but that hasn’t even taken center stage. Let me tell you why.
“Allow them to sit in the muck” is a phrase that I heard often during my training. What the teachers were trying to get across is that after a client has done the hard work of getting to the underlying problem in part of their life, the coach needs to let them stay there.
It is important that once they arrive at the pain point that no one tries to fix it for them. It is crucial for them to sit there and feel what needs to be felt. Allowing them to sit in the muck, no matter how uncomfortable it is for you and them, is what allows for growth and change.
It doesn’t sound like much fun, does it? But if you think about it, it makes sense. The only way to change something about yourself is to face it. If you continue to ignore it or suppress it then nothing will ever be different. So if you want the pain to go away, if you want to find a way to better yourself– a little muck sitting (ok, sometimes a lot) is necessary.
And that is where I have been this week. Sitting in the muck.
It all started with the mixed doubles tennis tournament last weekend. We lost in the finals and we lost in the semi-finals. What? That doesn’t make any sense. But, that is what happened.
It’s not necessary to go into the details. Suffice it to say that there was an unfortunate incident in the semi-finals where tempers flared. Our court became the center of attention and we made quite a scene. It was terrible and I believe we were all wrong in one way or another.
After the initial outburst, we were very quickly sorry and wanting to make amends. Both teams wanted to default to the other. We were friends and the tournament was not the important thing. Somehow, after much “you play,” “no, you”, it ended up that we were the team to play in the finals. Which we went on to lose in three sets.
Have I ever told you how much I dislike confrontation? Or how much I try to avoid bringing negative attention to myself? Or how people talking about me when they don’t know the whole story makes me crazy? Stomach ache city.
But this is the new me, right? The relaxed, laid back, zen, “it is what it is” Lorna. That should have gotten me through. That should have put perspective on the situation and helped put it behind me, right?
Yeah, not so much.
What it actually took was me having a call with my coach. It became clear during the call that it is really easy for me to say “I don’t care what other people think” when all is going well. But once there is something negative, something where I behaved badly and people might think ill of me—this is where things become very sticky.
And this is where sitting in the muck comes in. What my coach encouraged me to do is become comfortable being uncomfortable. In other words, embrace the situation. Acknowledge that it feels yucky and not try to just make it go away. Sit with it. Acknowledge that people might be saying things. They might even be saying things that aren’t true. They might have changed their opinion of me. They might have it right and they might have it wrong.
The point is that it doesn’t matter. I am still the same person. I am still the woman, wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend that I was before. Absolutely nothing fundamental about me has changed. People’s opinon of me doesn’t have any bearing on who I am as a person (unless I let it).
If I have apologized and done all I can to make amends within the situation, that is all that I can do. The rest is white noise that I cannot control. The rest I need to be comfortable being uncomfortable about.
While I was trying to sit in this new place, two other opportunities to embrace uncomfortableness presented themselves.
By definition moving involves upheaval and turmoil. Instead of maintaining the “I am fine, I’m getting through, it’s ok” stance–I have tried to shift more into, “I don’t like having everything around me be so unsettled, but it is temporary and things will be back to normal soon.”
This feels different because it gives me permission to say that I am not enjoying the moving process. To say that I don’t like it and I am looking forward to it being over. That feels different than gritting my teeth, barreling through and getting it all behind me. It feels more gentle. And more real.
The other opportunity was missing my Thursday post. You know that this arbitrary, self imposed deadline means something to me. But here was another opportunity to practice being uncomfortable. I missed the deadline. I was not good to my word. I am still the same person.
Being ok being uncomfortable is not easy. All I can do is be gentle with myself and practice. It’s a process like anything else. There will be progress, relapse and then more progress. But being aware of the feelings and emotions that come up and committing to the uncomfortableness is key to getting to the place where it comes naturally. That is the goal.
Over to you. Is there some muck sitting that needs to be done in your life? Or have you done lots already? Do you find it hard to face the parts of yourself that you wish were different?
I am always here if you want assistance turning your life lessons into growth opportunities. First calls are complimentary. Hit contact in the upper right corner to set yours up.
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