Lean Into the Suck, Embrace the Sh*t

I live my life (mostly) trying to find my light and ease. To look for what’s working and what’s good. To bounce off of my struggles and soothe my heart.

I live that way. I write about it. I teach it.

Then there are times when the only thing—or best thing—that has eased and soothed my heart and soul has been to lean into the suck. To acknowledge it and admit it.

Years ago I was in a very difficult place, struggling with a physical ailment that was knocking me to my knees. Over and over again. But I fought to find the good in it. I fought to stay positive at all times, to see what was right in my stinking situation.

Until a friend asked me how I was doing (as she drove me to our joint destination, since I could no longer drive due to my physical condition). I gave her all my platitudes. I pointed out all I was learning and how I was growing. I shared the rosy side of what was going on.

“Bud doesn’t it suck?” she asked me. “Why don’t you just admit it sucks?”

“Oh Lin,” I said. “It sucks. It sucks so, so much.” With that admission, my pain lessened a bit.

I’ve learned that while it is a best practice to find lightness and positivity (for me, at least), there comes a time when admitting my struggle and pain releases a bit of my struggle and pain. Perhaps because it takes so much energy to be “positive” when I feel anything but positive. Perhaps because my trying to be optimistic is lying about how I actually feel, and this self-dishonesty hurts. And hurts me.

There are times to lean into the suck (for me, at least).

There are also times to embrace my sh*t. it is what it is. I am who and how I am. I may be on a lifelong journey to be my best self and to live my best life, but when I admit my foibles—when I own and even welcome my blemishes, faults, and the yucky parts of my personality and behavior—I once again free myself.

I can still put too much pressure on myself to be my best self. I can still get lost in trying too hard and needing to be too perfect. I can still want to walk away from my humanness and, I guess, be without fault.

None of those habits work, and faultless isn’t true. Or possible.

When I can, instead, be human, I’m human. I’m real, and I’m happier.

When I can lean into the suck and embrace my sh*t, when I can stop putting so much energy behind being perfect or fighting the truth of how awful I feel in the moment or trying so hard to reach some ideal that I learned (or made up) all those years ago, I am somehow more at peace. With less suck and less sh*t.

Go figure.

Previously published: https://www.lisakohnwrites.com

About the Author | Lisa Kohn

Lisa Kohn is the author of a memoir, To the Moon and Back, due out September 18, 2018, that chronicles her childhood – growing up in the East Village of New York City in the 1970s and in the Unification Church (the Moonies). Lisa writes of her recovery from the emotional abuse and abandonment she faced, and her now life of hope as a thriving and happy mom, wife, and leadership consultant and coach. You can read more at her website, www.lisakohnwrites.com, where you can also download the first chapter of her book.

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