It’s such a fine line, for me at least. When things get tough, am I better off allowing myself to feel the challenging feelings? Am I better off admitting that whatever it is that is sucking at this very moment sucks? Is that a way to allow and accept what is and to stop fighting against it, which only somehow, sometimes, makes things suck more?
Or is that a way to wallow in my pain and challenge? Am I better off looking, in this moment, for something that is good? For something that feels good? For something that eases my heart and soul?
I waffle on this question. I’m not sure of the answer. I long to figure it out, because I long to feel good and not have things be tough. It certainly can cause my perfectionism to kick in…on both sides. I want to admit and allow perfectly if that’s best, and I want to find ease and soothe perfectly if that’s best. Lord knows, I want to get this right, whatever right is. There still is a part of me that knows that as soon as I get this right, the challenge will ease. Which probably isn’t true; which probably is, again, my false sense of ultimate control. And it probably makes it, actually, one more excellent opportunity for me to realize that there probably isn’t a right.
I think, perhaps as with many things, the answer often is “it depends.” I think, at least for me, there are times when I’m best off if I can find a new place to put my thoughts and notice what is beautiful and joyful around (and within) me. Each time I do this, I feel my heart lighten, my burdens lift a bit, my suffering lessen.
There are also times when I’m best off leaning into the suck. I’ve learned that for me, sometimes trying to make everything okay when it certainly doesn’t feel okay is actually more stressful and painful. It’s as if I’m working to ignore what’s happening, and that only makes what’s happening more powerful to overtake me. Sometimes pushing against makes things stronger, and sometimes before I can find something easeful to focus on, I have to admit with all my heart and soul that whatever it is I’m facing just sucks.
Years ago, I was dealing with a health issue that was, in many ways, debilitating. I was driving with a friend on our way to a weekend away (well, she was driving because my health issue kept me from driving), and when she asked me how I was doing, I gave her all my “positive” answers. “I’m learning so much,” I said. “It’s such a growth opportunity,” I offered. “I know I’m going to come out of this so much wholer and healthier,” I shared.
My friend paused and then asked me a powerful question. “Doesn’t it just suck?” she asked.
Almost without pause I answered, “Oh yes, it sucks. It sucks so much.”
With that, I felt release and ease. It was as if I had been trying so hard to make something good out of something that I was experiencing as bad, and by my admitting it was bad, it somehow lost some of its potency and its ability to cause me suffering. Sometimes trying to ignore what I’m experiencing, or to search for and only focus on the silver lining or to paste a smiley face over my fear and pain, is, in fact, denying my truth in the moment and pushing against my reality and experience. Sometimes I have to admit it sucks – to lean into the suck – before I can find ease…and then find something to soothe myself and ease my heart.
And sometimes I can just reach for the thoughts and practices that soothe me and ease my heart. Sometimes allowing it to suck doesn’t require acknowledging, facing, and moving through the suckiness. And sometimes it does.
Once again, there is not absolute best way to feel good, which is, once again, something I can learn from the suckiness. I can allow. I can admit. I can refocus. I can comfort.
I can feel good.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!