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To Do The Hard Work or Not To Do It??? That Is The Real Question

Updated: Jul 23, 2021

This year is shaping up to be a lot of things. Easy is certainly not one of them. In the past three months specifically, I have been in some spaces and places that have truly made me uncomfortable. Apparently the Universe felt it was time for me to be challenged in ways that I can’t say anyone would really want to be challenged. Thoughts are coming up, feelings are coming up. I am being placed in social settings with friends and colleagues to think about things more deeply and in a way I have never really thought to perceive some of my experiences. My therapist is challenging some things I have adopted that seemingly have worked for me for some time, but definitely are not in line with the things I want in life. I truly feel like someone has shaken my snow globe.

In April my business partner and I took professional photos for our individual and combined businesses. The photographer was amazing. What I liked most about him was his ability to get some very candid shots. This close up picture is probably the most vulnerable shot I have ever taken. I remember when he was taking it I was looking away and he told me to turn toward him. What you see is the product of simply just turning. It happens to be my favorite because in this image I can actually see the vulnerability in my eyes. This was just the beginning of learning what vulnerability really is. Vulnerability is something I thought I was actually good at. I thought I was good at showing up as myself. I really thought I was doing well with understanding the things that are challenging for me and how toxic I could be in my thinking at times until I had a meeting with friends who are also colleagues. I tell you there is nothing like a group of friends who are therapists to hold the mirror to your face. We were discussing relationships that night. A good friend and male colleague of mine asked me what I wanted as far as a relationship with someone goes and I responded with “I want someone to do life with.” He continued to ask me that same question randomly throughout the evening as the discussion continued between the three of us. He would ask and I kept responding with "I want someone to do life with." At that time I felt like it was a trick question. I kept thinking, “ Is there another way to answer this question?” Weeks later the opportunity presented itself for the three of us to talk again as we were having a meeting about an upcoming project. While we were talking my friend asked again, “What do you want?” I told him he had asked the question several times and I wasn’t sure what type of response he was looking for. I went home and thought about it until I went to bed. I woke up thinking about it the next morning. It then dawned on me, I was responding from the surface. It was obvious I wanted someone to do life with. Most people want that. I was responding with a certain type of relationship. My friend/colleague was trying to get me to go deeper. I wasn’t responding with an emotion I was wanting or wanting to feel. It was at that moment that I realized that the work I had been doing to improve and be a better person was work, but it was shallow work. It was checking the boxes kind of work. What my friend was asking involved feeling. It involved being vulnerable with myself enough to admit what I really wanted deep down. I realized that this required me make the decision to choose courage to be still and make space to actually feel. It required me to be willing to sit with myself and those uncomfortable feelings and acknowledge why it is so difficult to actually say the desires of my heart and feel unfamiliar emotions. This is what I call, the hard work. The hard work takes courage. It takes desire and willingness to have grace with yourself as you acknowledge those things that are difficult to truly see within yourself. It takes courage and strength and humility to allow yourself to feel more than act, to feel more than speak.

Make Space, Be Still

Doing the hard work requires lessspeaking and acting and more courage to be vulnerable enough to make space to be still, acknowledge, and feel."

While thinking about this concept of the hard work, I wondered why it really is just now coming up in my 36 years of life. The answer, I concluded, was that I have never made space or time to acknowledge feelings much less feel them. I spend a lot of time doing and defending. I can talk about what happened in my past relationships until I run out of air. I can work my life away in my businesses because its easy and there is always something to do. But it can be difficult to acknowledge feelings like hurt, disappointment, and pain, to sit with those feelings and work through them. I can argue my point until I am blue in the face, but it can be difficult to acknowledge that I don’t want to be wrong and the shame that can come with being wrong is what I really avoid when arguing. It can be difficult for some to admit they want to experience good things like love, happiness, and success because they don't feel they are deserving or worthy so no space is made to be vulnerable enough to admit those things.

Those are just a few examples of the hard work that we may not make space and time for because to acknowledge them is uncomfortable. This work is not glamorous. It is often not pretty but it is necessary. It is necessary to change ways of functioning and interacting that are unhealthy, to be a better person, and to ultimately challenge those thoughts and beliefs that keep us from the things in life that we want most like success, love, and acceptance. In my own self work I have come to the conclusion that doing the hard work involves three things listed below. As I am encouraging myself to engage in these three things, I hope you will find the courage, space, and time to do so as well. You never know how it could change your life.

1.Making time and space to be still
2. Less acting and speaking and more mindfulness and feeling
3. Courage to see those difficult parts of yourself with love and gratitude


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