The Discomfort of Looking Inside Myself
In 6th class at Primary School, my teacher wrote on my report that I was the jester of the class. Happy to generate fun and humour for all.
Rolling into adulthood, I've received various degrees of feedback on many aspects of myself, including my use of humour. Some of it has stung like a wasp; some of it has felt like a flowing musical symphony.
Feedback is like a present of socks from granny. You have 3 choices about how to receive those socks;
1. Do nothing; say nothing!
2. Hand them back to granny, with some indignation thrown in.
3. Keep them. Wear them. Cherish them as the gift that they are meant to be. Say thank you.
Stepping out from my Corporate desk to the front line; in front of new groups, I've received more feedback than I can count over the years. Being in the public eye. I choose to view ALL feedback as a gift. From the giver to me. To help me go inside myself. Not all of what I see in there is happy, humorous and sunny. Not all of it I want to hear, read or feel at that moment in time.
I feel vulnerable and exposed reading feedback at times. The good stuff, I say 'thank you it's true' to. The development stuff, I dwell on a little longer and wonder, what would I like to have happen with this now?
I've been on a lot of personal and professional growth trainings over the past few years. I've fought. Resisted. Been very defensive. Not wanting to look inside. Wanting instead to go to my comfortable place. Of being the jester in the group. Of putting my trainer face on and acting like I am invincible. Like I know it all.
I would point out the window, creating a distraction and say;
"Look a fox!"
Only when the choice was made for me. Day 5 of my NLP Practitioner training. The Summer of 2015. I arrive to find that I am the sole delegate for the rest of the programme. Immediately I feel my feet turning towards the door; panic rising and a scream that turns to a laugh emerging from my mouth. Humour as my go to cover up of how I'm really feeling! There I go again!
I had no where to hide. No one to perform to. Just me and my trainer. Alone. In a grand room with a great big chandelier. And a giant mirror. Mirroring back to me all that I needed to learn at that point. And I had a lot to learn. I'm still learning.
Sometimes (all the time?!) the universe really does conspire to help us learn what we are needing to learn at that moment in time. Being the sole delegate I eventually relaxed. I surrendered into whatever learning possibilities were waiting for me. I dropped the defences.
I toned down my humour. I toned up my willingness to be vulnerable. To open up. To trust my teacher. To drop my defences.
I felt uncomfortable. I felt shaky. I felt exposed. It was intense.
And, then, I began to feel liberated. To want to look deeper inside myself. I began to understand that going inside wasn't as scary or dark as I had thought it would be. Where I went on my solo adventure was to places I could not have imagined. To parts of my past that I had put layers and layers over. Gently folding them back to take a peek felt cathartic.
Shortly after I met an actual fox in my local woods. She was sniffing around on the path. When she looked up, her body jumped. But she stayed and looked at me. I stayed very still and looked in awe at her. A gorgeous ginger colour. Lean and wise.
Then she turned and ran off down the path.
I continued on my walk.
I had leaned in and turned towards my distractions. Willing to look beneath.
Someone once said to me;
"I used to like myself,
until I started meditating!"
Acknowledging the darkness and the light. Our whole selves.
Being guided by my teacher through the various NLP models and techniques.
I felt (almost) totally open to go with what my body/mind/spirit needed.
I've written more about some of my experiences in my #21DaysOfReflections series.
I've being delivering a lot of Mental Wellbeing training since December 2017. To groups of Corporate managers. Some who choose to be there. Some who don't. Some share that they feel uncomfortable about the topic. That's it's a taboo subject to talk about. That's it's a subject that they have little or no experience of. It feels awkward for them.
My coaching clients sometimes feel the same as I did on Day 5 of my NLP training, at first. Where I direct their attention might lead them to places that they too have placed layers of fluffy blankets over.
It can feel uncomfortable.
And yet I know that, the more we can lean into the discomfort, and as we get deeper into the workshop or the coaching session, those feelings of discomfort, of unease, soften and eventually fade.
Such is the power of providing a trusting safe space to openly discuss uncomfortable topics and learn new ways of approaching work.
Such is the power of holding space for a client who has tried all other conventional and unconventional avenues.
Feeling like they have being going around in circles all their life.
Holding space. Listening. Opening my heart for whatever emerges, welcoming it all in to the space.
That's when true healing; natural transformation can happen.
Where your natural feedback loops will help you learn more about all of yourself. Where magic can and does happen.
While avoiding this discomfort and running the other way can save our life in some circumstances, as David Whyte puts it;
"We know intuitively that most of the time, we should not run, we should stay and look for a different way forward."
Would you like to experience more on the topic of Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace or Soul Based Coaching? Then please get in touch. I'd love to talk.
Would you like to find out who I have learnt from? Who my teachers are? Then get in touch. I'll happily share.