Hello. 

Good morning.

Are you ready for some real talk

Here's the BLUF: What we turn toward, we acknowledge. What we lean into, we accept. 

Period. 

Simple right? 

Heck no! Underscored! 

If it were that simple, we'd all be communicating with each other when we can't stand the sight of one another. We'd be holding creepy spiders (hard NOPE) and riding roller coasters (don't ask).  We would be facing our fear, embarrassment, ambivalence, pride, disappointment, and pain and telling it to scootch over and make room for courage, confidence, determination, flexibility, forgiveness, and hope.

Avoidance is active resistance. It's never passive. Avoidance is a choice we make. In avoiding something or someone, we choose to turn away. Turning away is a cut-off. It cuts off opportunities for change and for growth. When we turn away from what makes us uncomfortable, we stunt our own growth. 

Turning toward is a deliberate act of acknowledgment. It's purposeful, intentional. It stokes the fires of our own personal bravery kilns.

In making the conscious choice to turn toward, we not only acknowledge the object of our discomfort, we acknowledge the feeling of discomfort itself. This is half the battle. Many of us don't like feeling vulnerable. We don't like admitting we possess flaws or that we feel flawed.

But how crazy powerful do you feel when you embrace your own feelings? It frees up solutions you didn't know existed because now you have a new piece to the puzzle! You feel invigorated with knowing yourselfTo acknowledge your feelings is to know your internal world intimately and without judgment.

It's OK to feel. Something. Anything. Nothing.

Repeat after me: It is OK to feel. 



But that's only the first part of the equation. Once we acknowledge our discomfort and we've owned it, we can begin to tackle the problem of leaning out. You may have heard about the importance of leaning in at work, but it goes beyond work. Leaning in demonstrates that we are an active player in own own story. When we lean into discomfort, we accept that discomfort creates opportunity.

Discomfort, in whatever environment or form it takes, generates a kind of tension. Sometimes it's creative. Sometimes it's just a fart (that's an IBS joke). We may even enjoy the challenge and tackle a new project vigorously and with fervor, or we may recoil, withdraw, and draw inward.

The self-awareness that comes with acknowledgment is empowering. Self-awareness cultivates insight, bravery, gusto, confidence and-GET THIS-competence! So often, the things we feel incapable of addressing or resolving actually circle back to our feelings of being inadequate, incapable, unworthy, silly, stupid...you name it, we fear it!

There is a simple and universal truth of human experience: The fear of the unknown is more powerful than the pain of the familiar. We will tolerate bad shit all day long, even if we know deep down there is something else out there that is better! We grow so accustomed to dealing with the difficult things in our lives that, even though they make us miserable, we actually develop competence and resilience for dealing with our problems. Yet, when newness and change rear their ugly (and beautiful!) little heads in our lives, we throw down our sword and shield and bolt, because the unfamiliar is a beast we've never reckoned with. We lose the chance to see that the big bad beastie was actually just a shadow.

When we make the decision to lean into our emotional battle, we harness the competence and resilience that has been there all along, the very qualities we have hardened and sharpened through the practice of living. Just being here, right now, reading this blog post means you've seen some shit. It means you've been there and done that. You've fought similar species of beast.

It means you are own best champion.

Like fear, acceptance is a type of armor. Only, it's stronger, more durable, and it has longevity on its side. Acceptance doesn't mean pretending there aren't real monsters in the world or allowing bad things to happen to yourself. It means taking a hard look at how fear and discomfort sometimes sabotage us and keep us in difficult situations longer or convince us that somehow that bad situation isn't really that bad...

Acceptance means fully turning toward healing, even when the path may be long, bumpy, dark, and scary at times. Acceptance is taking all of that fear and embracing it. In acknowledging our fear, we learn to soothe and reassure ourselves. We also learn to affirm that we are human after all, and to be human is to emote!

Fear is a funny thing. It clarifies dangerous situations so we can seek safety, yet the fog of fear can also make it difficult to see safer, healthier, and better options for our futures, for our relationships, and for our selves. Fear is fickle. Fear lies. Fear forgets. Sometimes fear is just downright wrong.

But fear is only as powerful as you allow it to be. You have the power to turn toward your fear and #allthethings that make you uncomfortable, that make you want to run away or stop trying. You have the power to tell that fear to "buckle up buttercup!" You have the power to lean into that fear and tell it that everything is going to be OK.

Because sometimes you just gotta lean into the fog to see things a little more clearly.

And you'll know it as soon as you see it. You'll feel it.

That decision.

That relationship.

That missing piece.

Because you'll find peace.