Monday, February 18, 2013

Uncomfortable but not suffering

Here's something that you might have encountered: training in coaching or therapy that puts you through an emotional wringer.  Often, people that take courses that produce this effect end up saying good things about the course and much less good things about themselves. I'd like to think of this as a hint.  Don't let people mess with your head if they are not going to clean up after themselves.

Twice this weekend, I ended up in conversations about people who had taken training that they said was terrific but which clearly wasn't making them feel more able to function in the way that they wanted to function.  This is possibly a good marketing technique since it clearly has the potential to make people pay still more dollars to follow up the original training with more (terrific?) training so that they might finally be able to put the skills they are learning to work.  It's not as clear that there is value for the client.

Sometimes I make my clients and students uncomfortable.  Usually it is because they finally see in themselves or their lives a strength or possibility that they have not been able to see before. Seeing your own strength is disconcerting. It does make you wonder what else you have been missing. It might even make you wonder what you have been influencing in ways you chose not to notice. New information can be uncomfortable.

Being uncomfortable is not the same as suffering. It's not the same as reliving pain in your mind over and over or running patterns to avoid pain over and over. People who are uncomfortable often get moving. People who are suffering need to conserve energy. Sometimes it takes everything they have just to breathe.

Be careful who you let close enough to put pressure on the tender spots. My chiropractor and massage therapist often make me hurt. They don't make me suffer. A moment of painful contact brings release. The pain should not linger. If you are in a training that promises you will eventually stop suffering and start feeling competent, stop suffering now.

How will you know the difference?  Check in with yourself and you will find you already have the answer to that question.

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