“Nothing changes without doing things that feel hard, so you have a choice to make when it comes to creating the life you want: hard now, or hard forever?”

Episode 224

Hard Now or Hard Forever?

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Hello, Gorgeous Soul.

When babies start learning how to walk, it’s HARD.

They’ve never done this before.

They’re really really bad at it at first.

They fall A LOT.

They are wobbly and awkward and unsteady.

At first, they fall MORE than they walk.

And guess what the adults do?

We fucking CHEER for them when they fall.

We celebrate the FUCK out of ONE step.

We’re like “OMG It’s HAPPENING. This baby took the first step and what I know FOR SURE is that soon they will be walking”

Imagine if we treated babies learning this hard new skill the way you treat YOURSELF learning a hard new skill.

Imagine if the baby took the first step and the adults were like “I mean, okayyyyyyyy. It’s one step. Does it really count?

I mean you LOOKED ridiculous while you were doing it.

You’re doing it REALLY wrong too…I mean your tummy is sticking out so far and you’re super wobbly and you LOOK foolish.

And then you fell. I mean, we can’t just IGNORE the fact that you took one awkward tiny wobbly embarrassing step before you fell right on your ass”

I don’t know, baby. I feel like maybe you should think a little bit more about this before you try again.

Wait until you know you can do it without falling.

Wait until you know you can do it without embarrassing yourself.

Wait until you know you can walk smoothly and perfectly across a room before you try again.

Imagine.

Or imagine if when you were learning to read, write, ride a bike, play an instrument, learn a new language if on the first day you were like “Welp, this is REALLY REALLY hard. And clearly if something feels HARD it must mean it’s WRONG because aren’t we ONLY supposed to feel good all the time?

You wouldn’t have learned to do ANYTHING.

Things that you are SO good and natural at now? They were HARD at first.

I remember teaching the kids to brush their teeth. It was a brand new skill and it was HARD at first.

But we know it’s not going to be hard forever.

We just have to get through the hard part and THEN it will be easier.

Something I say A LOT to my clients when they tell me something is hard, whether it’s setting a boundary, saying NO to someone, learning how to not let the fear of GUILT stop you from every freaking thing, or not let the fear of other people’s opinions dictate how you live your life I say

YES it’s hard.

Because it’s new.

Because of the uncertainty.

Because it’s a different way of showing up.

But then once you’ve done it once, you’ve done it.

Once you’ve taken the first step, the second step is less new and less scary a tiny bit less uncertain.

And the third and fourth and fifth steps are easier than the first and second. And by the time you’ve taken 100 steps you’re a different person.

You’re not a person who’s is trying to take steps to create the life you want.

You’ve become the person who takes steps to create the life you want.

Every day.

You are 100 steps in, instead shutting down after the first fall.

You have a choice.

Hard now?

Or hard forever? 

Because nothing changes without doing things that feel hard.

You have a choice to keep doing what you’re doing because it’s easier.

Easier meaning FAMILIAR and PREDICTABLE, not actually easier.

This is the funny thing I often throw back at my clients when they tell me “Its’ just easier”

It’s just easier if I do everything myself

Is it? Is it easier? Or does it feel easier for you when everything looks JUST how you think it should look?

It’s easier for me just to stay where I am.

Actually? Being in a relationship with a person who doesn’t love and accept you for who you are, with someone who needs you to be someone different so that THEY can keep living their same life so every day you wake up thinking about how who you are simply must not be enough exhausting yourself with THEIR shitty dialogue on top of your own incessant negative chatter….that’s EASIER?

Are you sure?

Are you sure it’s easier to stay the same?

You have a choice.

Tell yourself it’s easier and do nothing to avoid doing the hard thing NOW.

Or do the hard thing NOW so that it ACTUALLY gets easier.

Hard now or hard forever.

Hard forever isn’t easier.

So how do you start doing the hard thing now?

 Well, you know I am NOT a fan of torture.

I am NOT a believer that doing the hard thing now has to include both pain AND suffering.

It’s not going to be easy but you can add as much EASE to the hard thing as possible.

Here’s how:

First, remember that anticipation fear is the scariest part. Right before you do the hard thing is the hardest part because you are stepping out of the familiar. But once you’ve started, you’ve started.

You might feel like you’re going to throw up before you speak the words to set a boundary.

You might feel like you’d rather run a marathon in 115 degree heat than say NO and risk someone having a negative thought about you.

But you’re going to remember that the AWFULNESS is the worst RIGHT BEFORE the hard thing.

And while the hard thing itself still might have a lot of pain, it’s different once you’re on the path.

You don’t relieve the hard by not doing the hard thing…you are simply postponing it for later and as much as your nervous system tells you “phew, you avoided something terrible” what’s actually true is you’ve just put it off and once again, shoved the hard thing down.

The scariest part of skydiving are the moments leading UP to taking the first step.

Once you’ve taken it, though, you’re doing it.

It’s happening.

You are the person who is skydiving, not the person who’s afraid of skydiving.

Second, remember that everything is temporary.

The one constant of life is that everything is always changing. INCLUDING how you feel.

The feeling of guilt is temporary.

The feeling of fear is temporary.

The feeling of anger is temporary.

A lot of you are avoiding hard things simply to avoid hard feelings in yourself AND in other people. IT’s a terrible reason to avoid the hard thing because that feeling, yours or someone else’s is gonna change.

You have to remember that it is highly likely your sympathetic nervous system is triggered, so not only are you feeling the acute feeling of guilt or fear or whatever, but your system is also telling you that it’s not just hard it’s a life threatening emergency.

Once you learn how to self regulate and you become more familiar with ALLOWING uncomfortable feelings in your body, like what I teach in the Feelings Room, you will remember that this is temporary.

You might feel AWFUL like a 10/10 AWFUL when you set a boundary because your whole system is hyper aroused, but then your nervous system is going to move back into a regulated state after a little time and you will start to feel better.

Every feeling, yours and other people’s is temporary.

Third, in order to add EASE to the hard things, you MUST have a strong WHY that you are reminding yourself of every day.

If you don’t, your brain will NEVER get on board with doing the hard thing.

I remember coaching about this, specifically about the feelings room in a group once and one of the women was like “I have a question, I am just am wondering why I would ever do this? Like WHY would I choose guilt over just doing it myself? WHY would I choose discomfort when I’m GREAT at just pushing through?”

Well, because without doing the hard now, you are doing the hard forever.

WHY you would choose to do the hard thing now is because it’s the ONLY way to not have to do the hard forever.

WHY you would choose to do the hard thing of setting boundaries? Because the longer you go without, the harder it gets.

The WHY is because you want to create a life that you don’t have to spend feeling exhausted or lonely or resentful or walking on eggshells. If you want to create a life you genuinely enjoy with people you genuinely enjoy spending time doing things you genuinely enjoy, you’ve got to stop avoiding hard things.

Hard now or hard forever.

In my marriage we really got to a place where things were fine. We had basically learned how to not trigger each other and were politely coexisting.

But once we were there, I was like DAMN I want more.

I want to love him and really really LIKE him.

I want Leslie and Ben love.

THAT was my why.

And I knew in order to get there, I was gonna have to be willing to do the VERY VERY hard thing for me, which is be vulnerable.

Nothing rings the alarm bells in my sympathetic nervous system like being vulnerable. 

And so every time I noticed I was leaving a room or a conversation or whatever because vulnerability was showing up I tuned into my WHY.

I am choosing the hard NOW because of my WHY.

So what HARD things are you avoiding now because it feels like it’s just EASIER not to deal with it now?

Imagine if you STOPPED putting it off and took the first step today?

And then you just kept taking steps because you’ve already done the scariest part?

I want you to think about what would be different a month from now? Six months from now? A YEAR from now?

Stop telling yourself it’s just easier to stay the same.

I PROMISE you it’s not.

It’s postponing the inevitable, it’s building the suffering.

And listen, you don’t have to make some huge dramatic change in order to take the first step.

The first step might not be quitting your job or leaving your marriage.

The first step might be saying no to something small.

It might be letting your partner be upset or annoyed at you without trying to fix it.

Babies take baby steps first while they’re learning to walk.

We expect them to be clumsy and wobbly.

We KNOW they’e gonna fall a LOT while they learn.

But we cheer them ON.

And we KNOW that once that first HARD step is taken, it’s only a matter of time before they will be a WALKER.

Do the hard thing now.

Do it wobbly.

Be clumsy and embarrassed and uncomfortable.

Expect to fall.

And when you do, treat it like you would treat a baby.

“Oooops. Did you fall? You need a hug? You want me to comfort you?”

Ok.

Feeling safe?

Let’s try again. You got this.

Hard now or hard forever.

Your choice.

– Kristen

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