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Noticing, Choosing, and Moving Through the Discomfort

By Sara McGlothlin

A journaling practice has long since been a part of my morning routine. It can take many forms. Typically, I use the template found in The Five Minute Journal for a quick recording of what I am grateful for. Other mornings I use a blank journal to free-write what’s on my mind.

To be honest, journaling used to freak me out. I was literally intimidated by my own thoughts and “voice” inside my head. I also found it pointless to journal a recap of my day. It was like a story I did not need to write down because well, I was there. No need to experience it again. All of this to say, it took a while for this practice to stick.

Then I discovered “writing to your intuition,” or inner voice (which I go over in more detail in my Counting Colors online course). This is the method that has resonated with me the most, and always brings clarity right when I need it.

The other day I had a call with my life coach. She has been paramount in helping me bring more consciousness to my life (for more information on this, listen to our podcast episode!). I am realizing more and more that when you start to do work on yourself – when you try to get to know yourself – you have never fully arrived; it is a constant unfolding. And you might as well buckle up because it is a bumpy road. The beautiful thing however, is that you eventually get comfortable with the discomfort, and the more you dig, the more you develop self-compassion, and the voice in your head becomes softer and less scary.

For three and a half years, she has spoken to me in her life coach language – using words such as “programming” and “conditioning” that dictates how I operate. I’ve nodded in agreement, hearing her, all the while a bit confused. My mind wanted to make sense of it, but ironically, that is not something the mind can do. Yet the other day, something clicked. We were discussing boundaries and why it was so difficult for me to establish them. I was recounting an experience from my past, and how it seemed mighty familiar to my current circumstances. “It goes back farther than that,” she replied. And there was my “aha” moment. Because of my childhood conditioning and beliefs, I was attracting people and experiences that reflected them back to me. My need to people please and manage others’ emotions stemmed from very early on in my life; something I felt like I needed to do in order to stay emotionally safe.

The amazing thing about consciousness (although uncomfortable at first) is that it sheds light on what is no longer serving you. This mental tendency of mine was keeping me stuck and small, and it is only up to me to find freedom from it. This is where the power of choice plays a role. I can choose to stay stuck, exhibiting the same habits and behaviors (because that is the thing about habits and behaviors: they may “look” different, but eventually the result is the same), or I can make another choice. One that is more in line with a higher version of myself. In other words, growth.

With the latter, I have been able to watch those old fears and stories arise. For example, in the past when I have said I wanted to do something, but then quickly sacrificed that desire to make someone else happy, that is the old conditioning playing out. The discomfort of maintaining the boundary was too hard to bear. Don’t get me wrong, sacrifice and selflessness have their place, but should never be the default, and should definitely not come in the way of your goals and dreams. Knowing that, I am able to choose while keeping the boundary in place. The discomfort still comes, but I simply move through it, notice the old conditioning, and stand my ground. Meditation and journaling have helped solidify this new habit, and I know by now that the more I practice, the more second-nature it will become.

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