It's December 2019 and most of us are in full planning mode. In addition to planning for our holiday, we often find ourselves thinking about this past year. Maybe you have fond memories of great experiences. Maybe you are in awe of all the goals you set and smashed. Perhaps you are establishing goals for 2020 or, like most people, thinking about what you could have done differently in 2019.
Studies show that only 8 percent of the population achieve their new year resolutions. Furthermore, additional research suggests that fewer than 3 percent of the population set goals regularly. There are many articles that give concrete tips on ways to set, be consistent with and achieve goals. However, I firmly believe that most of us miss 1 thing when thinking about what we want to do and how we want to do it: our shadow.
Our goals are lofty, play up to our greatest perceptions of who we want to be and negate those parts of us that we don't really like.
PAIN. It is the number one reason why people come to therapy. Whether it is from feeling sad or anxious, remembering a traumatic experience or a heartbreak; everyone comes in to treatment wanting the pain to go away. “When will it stop?” “I never want to feel this way again!” “Why is this happening to me?” These are all common sentiments that clients express when describing what they want from therapy. My response is always the same and always met with the side eye: “what if you could welcome the pain?”
There are few things in life that are certain and the fact that you will feel pain is one of them. If you heard me on the TFBG Podcast Episode98: ‘Showing up When You Want to Lay Down,’ you will hear Dr. Joy and I talk about pain and how to use the PACT (Plan, Acknowledge, Compartmentalize, Time) method to be able to manage having painful experiences when you still have real-life responsibilities. If you haven’t heard it, check it out. In this blog, I want to give you another idea. I hope to encourage you to consider that instead of running from pain we can welcome it, understand why it shows up for us and use it to learn what we need to do to take care of ourselves.
Pain is important. Without pain we would not know when there are things that are hurting us. When you do not know what is hurting you, you will continue to engage with it until the damage that it is causing is irreparable. Let’s think about fire. One of the earliest lessons that we learn as children is that fire burns. We are told that and some of us have the experience of getting close to fire, feeling the heat or maybe even feeling a little burn and so we know not to get too close and certainly we don’t put our whole hand in it and just keep it there.