I have a friend who is a beast of a runner. She crushes races. When you watch her, it’s like watching a gazelle. You'd think she's just a natural runner and running is easy for her or she has talent that us mere mortals could never have. But she told me a secret. She said "It’s not that I don't feel the pain. But it’s how I feel about the pain. I run towards it. You gotta embrace the suck."
She doesn't run from or avoid the effort or think that feeling exhausted is a bad thing. She leans into it. She knows that the race goal or her pride is more important than the discomfort of the moment.
I'm by no means an elite runner, but I took her advice to heart. And I gotta say, its liberating and has helped my running. Instead of judging myself that I have to work hard, I embrace it. I welcome some struggle as a sign that I'm trying and pushing myself and that my goal is meaningful to me. And I feel proud of myself when I don't back off due to fear or ego or effort.
From what I've seen in the research, in myself, and in my clients, the idea of "embracing the suck" can be generalized. What I've seen is that healthy people still struggle with fear and sadness. Healthy couples feel scared and vulnerable and stressed. It’s not lack of discomfort that defines health. It's acknowledging the discomfort without judging it or pushing it away. From that point of acceptance, we can validate painful emotions and vulnerable needs within our self or share those tender parts of our self with our loved ones. And when we do this we strengthen our relationship with ourselves and our loved ones. It’s not that its easy, but that those relationships are more meaningful and powerful and compelling than our fear.
And it’s this practice that is what's at the heart of individual and couples therapy. It's challenging and, at the same time, so very rewarding. And it's an honor for me to go along side clients as they do it. It's personal work but you don't need to go it alone. I would love to help you get to this place. Reach out to me today and let's chat.