Being comfortable with difficult things

I am reading a lot these days about how to cope with being comfortable with difficult things.

Our first urge is to escape – but the problem with this is that we usually escape into things that are unhelpful. We can escape into obsessiveness or being aggressive or flipping out and the thing that we are trying to escape from in the first place stays with us constantly.

It is ok to be present with that which is problematic, uncomfortable or difficult

Escaping into obsessiveness ensures that everything keeps on going around and around – and it is not at all pleasant. It is self-defeating. Soothing ourselves with things to make us feel better depends on what the thing is. It can create havoc if it is not healthy.

Only through self-awareness work can we see the signs.

All that I am reading, including Pema Chodron, is saying that it is ok to be present with that which is problematic, uncomfortable or difficult and that in so doing we become very aware of and familiar with it.

I think it was Brene Brown that argues that we should be curious about our feelings. I don’t think for one moment she is arguing that we wear our feelings on our sleeves – but rather that at that moment of being hooked, we stop and think and allow ourselves a moment to breathe.

Pema Chodron writes a whole book  on this topic – The Wisdom of No Escape. Here she looks at how meditation helps us to be present with these feelings. Mindfulness is another way. What is important is that we do not try to escape. Instead we are urged to look at what hooks us – acknowledge it, ‘see it clearly, experience it fully—without acting out or repressing’. (Pema Chodron) The repressing is the thing that we use to escape, to find ways to sooth ourselves, to act out, to obsess. We all have a choice.

Being comfortable with difficult feelings then becomes the new habit.

imagesI read somewhere that you can use the SOS method – stop, oxygenate and seek – and the seeking is acknowledging that particular moment that you have been through. The snag, the being caught in a moment, the hook. This method helps you to quickly unhook but we have to train our minds to be constantly self-aware.

Of course there are moments where we forget. Often long moments but we can bring ourselves back to the present by being gentle with ourselves.

Being comfortable with difficult feelings then becomes the new habit.

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