The Authentic Ache: Why We Grow by Feeling, Not Fleeing

A quick disclaimer – I am not a doctor πŸ©ΊπŸ§‘β€βš•οΈ nor do I play one on the internet. Any advice that I give here is purely my own beliefs.

I have COVID. 😷

It sucks.πŸ˜’

The desire to want to take a bunch of meds πŸ’ŠπŸ’ŠπŸ’ŠπŸ’Š to make the pain go away was high. I had shit to get done. I already felt behind in a few areas. This was a big week for my clients and business. Blah. Blah. Blah. πŸ₯΄ πŸ₯± 😭

And I thought no. I’m going to give my body a chance to do this healing on its own. I have a fever πŸ₯΅. I’m sure there is conflicting research that says how you should treat fevers, but I mostly have heard let them take their course. What I understand, from as far back as my grandmother who was a nurse, my doctors, and our trusted friend Google – fevers are simply a sign that our body’s immune system is working. When we have a high temperature and let it “run its course” then it can speed up the healing process.

A key disclaimer – one of my children when they were much younger had fibril seizures. Which means when he got a high temperature, he would have a seizure. This is not so good for the body. It was thankfully a condition he grew out of but of course, we were very sensitive for several years about catching fevers early and finding ways to suppress them to avoid the seizure. Everything has an extreme point to it when action must be taken. When the “symptom” is so intense that no action is a much higher risk than taking action.

When I transfer this insight into self development and leadership growth what does that mean? πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”

I see lots of “medications” out there in the leadership development world. Quick fixes and long programs. Of which many have tons of value to them. However, they are often treating the symptoms and not the fundamental illness or challenge. Or they are good practices for a “healthy” body. To beat up this analogy a bit more, it’s like telling a person with COVID that if you get your heart rate up for 30 minutes a day their body will feel stronger and they will sleep better.

The unfortunate result is when the quick fixes only work temporarily or not at all, the person is left feeling like they aren’t good enough. Something must be wrong with me. Or worse – they hear the advice, politely say thank you while at the same time think to themselves “never going to happen” and subconsciously take a ding to their self-worth.

Why? We live in a culture where we are still constantly told to suppress our feelings. πŸ™ˆπŸ™‰πŸ™Š How many times have you heard the phrase “too emotional”? Yes, often about women but I hear my male clients saying the same phrase to me 1:1 in that they don’t want to be “too emotional”. Many have this fear of expressing their emotions and not being accepted.

Yet when we suppress painful emotions, we don’t give our bodies a chance to identify the root cause.

So, what happens? They keep popping up 🀯. Sometimes exploding all over the place. 🧨🧨🧨

Maybe we are really good at managing them in the work environment. Probably because the fear of being rejected at home feels heightened while at home with close family and friends, we rely on a deeper bond and let ourselves “dump” on each other. And sometimes no matter how deep those bonds are those relationships cannot sustain constant strain.

And I’m sure some of you have witnessed, or experienced first-hand, where the “dumping” happens in the workplace. Remember the fevers that cause seizures? I believe this applies to leadership as well. We have all witnessed a leader β€œunhinged” at the moment. They are so disconnected from themselves and others that they seem clueless about the extremely negative impact they are causing. Whether they are emotionally or physically abusive, these are β€œsymptoms” when so extreme should never be ignored. Both for their sake and those around them.

The process can be challenging. But it doesn’t always have to be. There are ways to get deep insights quickly about where the painful emotions are stemming, create some healing for that and quickly build new muscles – or more specifically neural pathways – that intercept and pivot you to a new, more hopeful feeling. One that will create positive momentum for you and your relationships. 🫢🫢

This week, I made a different choice. I looked at what was super critical for me to honour and feel I’m able to remain in integrity and everything else I ignored.

And then I went to bed πŸ›οΈ and let my body do the work.

There were a couple of days of miserable fever and aches. Made my family know how miserable I felt. I took help from close friends. And then the fever broke on the 3rd night. I woke up no longer aching and wanting someone to knock me out.Β  I found a way to give space for the fever and the pain that went with it so that I would more quickly be back at 100%.

Is it time for you to make a different choice on your leadership journey? Are there repeating negative thought patterns you can’t seem to ever shake? Are you even aware of them? Or are they closed to you, keeping you confused as to why your leadership style isn’t having the impact you fully want?

Wherever you are on that journey, this is an invitation to join other leaders as they rise to the next level. Even if it is just a weekly pause to slow down and check in on what is needed for you to flourish more. Feel the feelings instead of fleeing from them. You are welcome.

Take the first step by joining us in the free FB Group. I look forward to connecting with you there.

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