You’re Supposed to Feel Uncomfortable

“Oh my god,” my relay teammate moaned, “I feel so gross. I’m so uncomfortable and achy.”

We all looked at her in sympathy except the toughest member of our group.

In a matter of fact tone, with a totally straight face, our tough runner said:

“That’s how you’re supposed to feel.”

We all dropped our jaws.

That’s how we’re supposed to feel?

Yes. Racing is uncomfortable. That’s how it’s supposed to feel.

A fun run? That could be fun.

A group hike? That could be leisurely.

A race is gonna be uncomfortable. That’s how it’s supposed to feel. 

We human beings have human brains that want to seek pleasure and avoid pain. We want instant gratification and pleasure for everything we do.

When you want to feel instant pleasure all the time, you end up fat and numbed out on the couch watching Netflix every night. You will likely develop addictions and avoid anything difficult.

Welcome to Basic Human Brain 101: Stay safe. Seek pleasure. Avoid pain.

But if you want to run a race…

If you want to make a change…

If you want to be stronger, tougher, smarter, braver, richer, skinnier, healthier, better at that skill, more influential…

You need to rewire the neural pathways of your brain. You need to use the high order reasoning of your pre-frontal cortex. You need to understand your urges for instant gratification and plan around them. And guess what?

It’s not easy.

You’re gonna want to quit. WHY ME??? I HATE THIS.

You’re gonna struggle and get cranky and whiny and sad. FEED ME, SEYMOUR! FEED ME ALL NIGHT LONG!

You’re gonna have to sit with yourself and feel “negative” emotions. HERE COMES THE SHAME.

It’s going to be uncomfortable. UUUUGGGGGHHHH.

Why?

Because that’s how it’s supposed to feel.

Gorgeous, human, pleasure seeking reader: We all want to eat all the things and stay safe and hide out and delay doing difficult things. That’s really normal human stuff.

If you want to change, if you want different results, you have to retrain your brain. Hello, challenge.

Change and improvement is always, every time, going to feel uncomfortable. And that’s ok. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with you.

That’s how it’s supposed to feel. And you can do it. You have done it before. You can do difficult things.

Loving you out there. You know what’s on the other side of discomfort? Everything you’ve ever wanted. XO

Let People Be Wrong About You

My mother was mad at me this year because I didn’t call her on Easter. Or the day after Easter. She talked to most of my family on Easter… except for me.

I was in Southern Utah hiking and squeezing through slot canyons. I didn’t think to call. I was exhausted and pleasantly dusted in red clay sand.

My mother thinks I’m thoughtless. That I don’t care about her that much.

She’s wrong. I’m incredibly thoughtful. And I love her more than anyone in the world.

So, I said I was sorry and I told her I love her. I’ll call her next year on Easter now that I know it’s important. And that’s that.

My mother has her opinions, and she is often wrong. If I argue with her, she defends herself and I get frustrated. I don’t enjoy feeling frustrated. I see that it is a choice to engage in this pattern or not. So now, when she sets in on me, I try to let her have her opinion, let her be right or let her be wrong, and let it go.

It’s hard not to react to opinions. It’s hard to listen to someone be wrong about you. It’s hard not to be defensive. But is it helping you? Does being defensive help make the situation better? 

I care about my mother and our relationship. She is often right. She has good advice sometimes.

Yes, I can be thoughtless.

Yes, it would be nice if I called her more often.

We can own the truth. We can admit our own weaknesses. We can apologize for our mistakes. We can try again. 

But we don’t have to own all the opinions. We don’t have to defend against all the opinions. We can let people be wrong about us.

We can let it go. We can be like Teflon: non-stick.

You don’t have to react to everyone. You don’t have to react to anyone.

Let people be right, and let them be wrong.

My mom also thinks I’m dynamite. Dynamite. That’s the word she likes. Dynamite. Just… Dynamite.

She thinks my job is incredible and my house is cool. She thinks I’m beautiful and exciting and she’s wide eyed blink blink blink flabbergasted at who her little silly girl has become.

I’m not so sure I’m as dynamite as my mom says, but hey…

Maybe I am wrong about myself.

Maybe I’m wrong about me.

Beautiful, critical, criticized reader: Who is right about you? Who is wrong? Who gets to decide? Who cares? Why get so defensive? Does it feel good to you? Is it helping?

Let people be right. Let people be wrong. Let everyone have their opinions. They’re going to anyway. Your reaction is optional.

Loving you out there. I think you’re dynamite. Am I right? XO

Just Don’t Do It

Next month, I’m visiting my mom in Florida. I have some predictions for you!

  • She will say she needs to get organized.
  • She will say she needs to clean the garage.
  • She will say she needs to cook new recipes.

Does she do any of the above? No. Have I tried every possible way to help her do the things above? Yes. Does everyone in her life try to help her do the things above? Yes. Does anything ever work? No.

My mother has been worrying over the same things for decades. 

I think she should give up.

That’s right. Time to quit. Nike always says “Just Do It!” and yet I have another plan.

Just don’t do it.

It’s time to quit.

Yes. Seriously. You may be waiting for my disclaimer to come. It’s not coming. I seriously think she should give up. And I am giving up trying to help her with things she doesn’t want help with.

Our culture constantly urges us to work hard. To fight. To suffer for success. It is exhausting and unnecessary.

If you keep draining your finite energy saying you should do things you don’t do, please give yourself permission today to stop. Full stop.

Quit trying to do that thing.

I’m my mother’s daughter. Here are the things that I repeatedly worry over:

  • I need to fix up my house.
  • I need to be a better guitar player.
  • I need to be more productive in the summer when I’m not teaching.

Guess what? I give up. I’m not going to do any of that.

Beautiful, aspiring, worried reader: You don’t have to do that thing. I know everyone is telling you to do it. I know they’re pushing you. I know you’re insecure and think you should be different than you are.

You know what? That’s ok. You don’t ever have to do anything you’re not ready or willing to do. I give you permission to quit.

Watch what happens when you free your energy from worry. Watch what happens when you stop seeking people’s approval for your choices. Watch what happens when you choose what feels good TO YOU.

Maybe your spirit will rise. Maybe it will rise above worry. Maybe other things will flow that feel mmmmm so right.

Loving you out there. You are free! It’s your life. Just don’t do it. XO

Tell Her It’s OK. Over and Over and Over Again.

“My husband tells me that I shouldn’t be upset about things that happen at work. He never gets upset and he thinks I’m too emotional. He says that I should get over it.”

Does this happen to you? Do people tell you to cheer up? Get over it?

How does it feel when someone tells you not to feel the way you feel?

Chances are, on top of already feeling upset, now you’re embarrassed. Ashamed. Your gears start grinding. You fight back tears. Your brain locks up. Your heart races.

Good times, eh? Yeaaaahhhhh…

Then maybe, like the woman above, you go here next:

“And you know what??? He INFURIATES ME.”

Yeah. I get that. Couldn’t we see that coming?

When someone tries to silence you, chances are you’re gonna get louder.

Oh babe! The drama! Dude! What are you supposed to do??? 

I’ve got an idea:

Tell her it’s ok. Over and over and over again. 

You’re angry. You know what? That’s ok.

You are upset. I get that. That’s ok.

“It’s ok, babe. I understand. You’re upset and it makes sense. And it’s ok to feel that way.”

The sentence above? It’s called validation. It’s super easy to do. 

Tell her it’s ok.

Tell her you get it.

Tell her that her feeling, no matter what it is, is understandable and completely valid.

Eyeball to eyeball, I see you. Ear to ear, I hear you. Brain to brain, I understand you. Human being to human being, all your feelings are ok. I am going to sit with you in love and compassion. Always. Every time. Relentlessly. Patiently. Gladly.

Tell her it’s ok.

Are you sad today? I understand why. And it’s ok.

Are you frustrated right now? I understand that. And it’s ok.

Are you scared about the next step? That makes sense. And it’s ok.

Tell her it’s ok.

I’m simplifying this as a PSA to the partners of women I love, and yet it’s universal. All human beings want to be validated. We all want to know that our feelings are ok. 

We all want to be seen, to be heard, to be understood, to be loved.

And now, the truth you may not want to hear: It’s not his job to validate you. If he does, you have an amazing man that you should actively and vocally appreciate every day of your freaking life. Do that now.

It’s not anyone else’s job to validate you. Does it feel good when they do? Yes. Do they have to do that? No. Do they know how to do that? Maybe. Does the sight of a person you love feeling upset make your heart ache? Absolutely. Are you panicking because you can’t make the people you love feel better? Probably. Can you have compassion for everyone involved? I hope so.

Hey, boo, here’s the deal for the rest of your life: it’s you and you. 

You’re tired. And cranky. And sad.

Here’s what you’re going to do: Tell yourself it’s ok.

I’m angry. It’s ok for me to feel angry. 

I’m sad and embarrassed. It’s ok for me to feel that way. 

Tell yourself it’s ok.

Beautiful, gorgeous, reader: Guess who is the best partner in your life? Guess who is your most powerful supporter and lover? 

You. Telling yourself that it’s ok. You. Validating your own experience. You. Always, relentlessly, looking yourself in the eyes, listening to what you think and feel, loving yourself by telling yourself it’s ok. It’s even ok not to feel ok. Because that’s always ok. And you are ok. Remind yourself. Soothe yourself. Over and over and over again.

Loving you out there. You know that feeling you’re experiencing? I see that. I hear you. I understand. And it’s totally ok. XO

Love Flows Where Interest Goes

Women often fall into the trap of thinking we should be younger, prettier, and skinnier in order to be loved. There’s a multi-billion dollar industry out there throwing every marketing trick in the book at us in order to scare us into thinking that men are only interested in beautiful supermodel women. I am so tired of that shit.

Men, and anyone else, are really only interested in one thing: Being interesting, and having someone show interest.

That’s right. Think of all the people you love right now. Think about how INTERESTED you are in them. How you find them funny. Silly. Fascinating. How they are doing things that interest you. How they tell interesting stories. How they ask you about yourself and are interested in you.

Love lies in your interest.

We are interested in interesting people. And when people are interested in us, we love them.

Who do you find interesting? Chances are, you love them.

Who is interested in you? Chances are, you love them.

How do you fall in love? Be endlessly, timelessly, interested in someone. Think about them. Their dreams. What they are doing. Who they are with. What they might say. 

Are you interested in someone? Show your interest. Make it known.

So often, we get caught up in trying to impress people. I know I do. I want people to think I’m interesting. And yet, I can’t force that. I can’t count on that. I can’t make people think that I am interesting.

Here’s what I can do: Be interesting AND be interested in them. Be curious about them. Fall in love with them. 

Love flows where interest goes. We don’t love beautiful people. We love interesting ones. Ones who we can’t stop thinking about. Ones who ask us questions and want to know more about us. None of this has anything to do with being skinny or having six pack abs.

Beautiful, curious reader: Do you love someone? It’s because they are interesting. Does someone love you? It’s because they are interested in you. Do you want people to know you love them? Show your interest. 

Beautiful people aren’t the ones we immediately love. Our love flows where our interest goes. 

Want more love? Show more interest.

Loving you out there. You fascinate me. Tell me more. XO

Give it the Green Light

When traffic lights turn yellow, I get weird. Aaaaahhhhhh stop or go? Sometimes I hesitate. Sometimes I make risky decisions.

Green means go. Red means stop. Yellow is caution.

At the end of her job interview, my friend told her future employer that she wanted the job. She said that, if offered the job, she would take it. She wanted it. 

She gave them the green light. They immediately hired her.

Are you hesitating in your life? Where? About what? How does that feel?

Chances are, your hesitation and doubt feel pretty crappy

Here’s an idea: Give it the green light and go.

Or stop.

If something is not a hell yes, it’s probably a no. Because really, when you know, you know. And you go.

My friend is now killing it at her new job. Promoted in less than six months. Flies all over the country to conferences representing her organization. 

She’s psyched. She knew she would be. She made a decision. Decided. Committed.

Green light.

GO

Hey, beautiful, waffling reader: You know that thing you want to do? You know how it just feels right? It feels good? It feels exciting? Make a decision to do it. Give it the green light. If you’re not sure, then stop. Let it go for now. Go in the direction of the other green lights. 

Loving you out there. Stay away from the flickering yellows.

Everybody loves a little green light. Let’s go. XO

Sadness And Fear Are Totally Normal. There. I Just Saved You a Lot of Money.

How do you react when you feel sad? What do you do when you feel fear?

Sadness and fear are two emotions that all people feel. Both are normal. 

There is not one person alive on this planet that has not felt sad.

Every human being alive has felt fear.

We also have these great things in our culture called businesses. They are made up of people – people who study how we behave.

Here’s what unethical businesses do: They convince you that normal emotions are not normal. Your anger is a problem. Your sadness is bad. Your fear is weak.

Any business can take your sadness and profit off of it.

1) They’ll tell you it’s not normal to feel sad.

2) They’ll sell you things to make your sadness go away (only if they’ve convinced you #1 that it’s not normal).

Are you sad? THAT’S NOT NORMAL! Quick! Eat something. Drink something. Take this pill. Take this trip. Buy these clothes online. Watch more Netflix.

You are welcome to argue against business and get really mad and try to control everyone and everything around you and shout “Don’t do that!” or you can use this simple tool:

Question the messages that you consume. Learn that all of your emotions are TOTALLY NORMAL and no emotion is abnormal or wrong or weak.

Are you sad? That’s ok. It’s normal. It’s human.

Marketers convince you that your sadness might overtake you and last forever. This is never true. Emotions come and go. They wax and wane. They ebb and flow. They move like the ocean. They come in waves and tides. 

Stop. Breathe. Listen. Inquire. If you need help, reach out.

If you are overwhelmed by emotion, you don’t need to isolate yourself and think you’re not normal. This is never true.

You are human. You are normal. Emotions are normal. What is normal anyway? Who decided what’s normal? 

It’s totally normal and human to be sad. To be afraid. To get angry. 

It’s totally normal to need help.

Big business has little power over you when you educate yourself about its practices. When you opt out. When you log out of Instagram and Facebook and log into your own body and mind. When you unplug from consuming and plug into your human community.

Hey human, normal, emotional reader:How do you react when you get sad? I hope you tell yourself that’s normal. I hope you allow yourself to be sad. I hope you soothe yourself and reach out to your community.

What do you do when you feel fear? I hope you tell yourself that’s normal. I hope you allow yourself to feel afraid. I hope you soothe yourself and reach out to your community.

You don’t need booze. You don’t need ice cream and Doritos. You don’t need Netflix. All of those things are fun, and none of those things will “fix” your sadness. Why?

Because your sadness is not a problem to be fixed. It is an emotion that wants to be felt. And allowed. And healed by your tender attention and self-soothing and connection to community.

Loving you out there. You’re totally normal. I decided. Because I get to. And so do you. XO