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The Pain Gain – Achieving My Goals When Things Get Hard

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For many years I used physical pain as a personal memo that I should pull back or avoid something entirely. But, I was also sending out these pain memos to myself to avoid emotional pain. Fear of discomfort was, what I thought, a very useful tool to keep me safe and protected.

There were so many times in my life that I stopped moving forward with a new exercise routine because of discomfort. Several years back, I started taking a dance class. I remember being really sore after that first class. The kind of sore that would have stopped me from going back in the past. For whatever reason, I knew that it was more important to show up for myself physically than it was for me to perform perfectly during the next class. I was able to tolerate the pain just by being gentler to myself. And yes, the pain passed.

The same was true in my emotional life. If a specific exchange or the dynamics with another person brought me discomfort, I would do my best to avoid either the person or the conflict. But, if growing as a person and role model mean something to me, then I have to actually do something about it. Again, it didn’t have to be perfect, it just had to be something different than running away. As I began facing the discomfort, rather than avoiding it, the pain passed.

So much of what I’m surrounded by tells me that I should strive to be comfortable all the time. That influence can lead me to forget how empowering it can be to work through discomfort. The more comfortable I try to keep my life, the less I grow. If I always use pain and fear as measures for injury and conflict, there’s a good chance that self-protection is going to lead to low self-esteem. If I can allow that same pain and fear to spark courage in me, the path’s a bit bumpier, but it allows me to feel so much better about the ride.

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    Welcome to my blog! Here you can read about what’s on my mind as I try my best to recover from screaming at my kids and nagging the bejesus out my husband.

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