“The way in which you move through hardship matters greatly. It can predict whether something becomes integrated in your experience and loses its intensity or builds in power to the point that you feel it might overwhelm you.”- Aundi Kolber
“Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?”- Mary Oliver
In Chapter 6 (“Try Softer with Your Attention”) of Try Softer, Aundi Kolber notes what happens when you live in survival mode for a long time. As you simply try to get through each moment, you forget to be present in one.
Above all, Aundi stresses, learning to try softer doesn’t work like a magic eraser on the pain of your shame, anxiety, or trauma. Furthermore, it won’t take away wounds already inflicted. However, it just might change how you process the pain.
Therefore, learning to honor your pain involves listening to your heart, mind, and soul. And when you listen, that allows you to respond with kindness and move toward healing.
But, some people find it impossible to describe their emotions about their pain. Or, they overidentify with those emotions. As a result, they quickly dissolve into tears or explode in outbursts of anger. Yet, these two outward expressions share a common theme. The people possess an inability to pay compassionate attention to themselves. Psychologist and author Kristin Neff explains:
“Instead of just ignoring your pain with a ‘stiff upper lip’ mentality, you stop to tell yourself, ‘this is really difficult right now,’ how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?”
Finally, Aundi underscores, we need to learn this kindness. Rather than trying to white knuckle our way through pain, looking okay on the outside, or making our loss look trivial. Because we must observed and attend to the rest of ourselves in order to truly heal.
Today’s question: What default mode do you use to move through hardship? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Great entry point of trying softer = mindfulness”