I didn't coin this phrase but I believe it's the best description for the process I'm about to share with you. Have you ever had something hit you so hard you couldn't move? You were informed of the death of a relative, you were let go from your job, you had devastating news about your own health. Or maybe you didn't get into that dream school, you failed an exam or you screwed up at work. Any of these can knock you down.
While I firmly believe in rising above the hurt and pain you feel I want to focus on the part before the rising. The part that the majority of people try desperately to skip over, 100% feeling the hurt, the anguish, the betrayal, the failure. This, my friends, is "leaning in to the suck." If you asked me what eats at most people I would say it's their inability to lean into these emotions. We are in such a hurry to move on and "be strong" that we rush right over feeling and into solving.
Why is it dangerous to skip over the hurt? Have you ever broken a bone or had a deep wound that required stitches? You could cause permanent damage if left untreated. While I know you are sitting there nodding your head in agreement I want you to put your emotions in the same boat. They must be treated before they can heal. If left untreated unresolved emotions will fester, just like that wound. This festering will show up as anger, resentment, depression, physical pain and even alcoholism and drug abuse. Really?? Yes really! I know this from personal experience. I have dealt with anger management issues and depression at several points in my life and they were all related to not leaning into the emotions that were causing me angst.
Rather than dealing with these secondary issues I want to give you the tools to lean in. This is my personal arsenal against all things devastating, annoying and downright not fair that could happen to you. Here's what leaning into the suck looks like.
This is my go-to choice. Before we go further please know I don't mean throw a literal party. (sorry if you started an evite) What I actually mean is get really deep with the emotion and become a victim. How has this done you wrong? How has this hurt you and who is to blame? Get mad, get sad and maybe even throw things which lead me to my next point.
Not at people! Go in your backyard and throw a rock at nothing. Anything that helps get the visceral emotion out without involving others in any way.
During said pity party screaming is also very relieving. I don't want your neighbors calling the police so please make sure to scream somewhere no one can hear you, alone in your car far from people is a good spot.
I don't think we cry enough. I look at my children (5 and 2) and see how easily they get over something after a good cry. Don't involve anyone but I do recommend turning on some sad music to get you going.
Punch a punching bag. Do a kickboxing class. Run. There's no wrong activity but getting your heart pumping can remove the heaviness you may feel all over. Don't be surprised if you begin a workout and end up crying. I feel the two are interrelated and both are like a shower for your insides.
I don't know why but crying makes me tired and if I can, taking a nap after a good cry seems to make everything better for me. Even a 15-minute catnap can make the world seem less cruel.
Again, do not involve anyone here. Open up a word document or get out a piece of paper. Write a letter to the person or thing (Dear cancer) and say anything and everything that comes to mind. Swear, rant, lecture, it's all acceptable here as getting through to our core emotions sometimes involves expletives. Rip up the letter when you've finished or delete it from your computer. This is only to help you process your emotions, don't hang on to it.
If you did one or all of these things something magical is going to happen to you. You will begin to gain clarity.
Clarity in why someone made you feel a certain way, the deeper emotion they touched.
Clarity in your ownership, maybe you really are to blame for this situation and in your hurt were blind to your involvement.
Clarity in action. By dealing with your knee jerk emotions you have processed them and now you can move on. You took away the unproductive roommate that kept wrecking the house after all. Now your mind is free to move into action and solve the problem, create a plan and move into more productive thoughts in general.
Rome wasn't built in a day and your pity party may last a few days. If you practice this regularly though your pity parties will get progressively shorter and your productive behavior will start sooner. Lean into the suck and you'll have more epiphanies and become a better human being. Now, go cry or kick something. Trust me, you'll feel better. #clarity #action