Have you noticed that when we talk about getting through hard times — times of loss, grief, anger, struggle, jealousy, betrayal, stuck-ness — people will often “jokingly” suggest things that are more about avoidance and numbing than actual healing?
You know, like:
- Drink more wine
- Eat more ice cream
- Flirt more and get more attention
- Work harder
- Have more sex
- Buy more stuff
Obviously, none of the activities listed above are wrong or bad. When done consciously and in freedom, they can be fabulous!
But how often do we compulsively engage in a behavior because it makes us feel better in the moment … even though we know it’s not life-giving for us in the long term?
If you’ve ever found yourself running away from, numbing, or bypassing difficult seasons with compulsive behaviors — and honey, you would not be alone there! — then you’re gonna get SO much out of this week’s episode.
I sat down with my good friend Paige Wilhide recently. You know her as an amazing breakup coach at Breakup Breakthrough, and also as the awesome emcee at past DoF events, but she’s also been on an incredible personal journey this past year.
We’re often conditioned to see an intense “down time” as something we need to move through as quickly as possible so we can get back to having fun and experiencing pleasure.
When we approach getting through hard times this way, we miss out on a critical truth about this work:
Sometimes it looks like getting yourself to a therapist and working through old, old pain.
Sometimes it looks like speaking the truth or setting the boundary that makes you and everyone else uncomfortable for a while.
Sometimes it looks like lying curled up on your kitchen floor while a friend holds your hand and tells you you’re gonna get through this.
Sometimes it looks like entering a 12-Step recovery program to deal with addictive patterns.
Sometimes it looks like stepping out in major vulnerability to finally find connections that are real and lasting.
In this conversation, Paige and I talk about the reckoning and awakening that brought her to her knees and landed her in Bali — and what she discovered about healing, genuine sisterhood, letting go of external validation from men, and the beauty in the mess.
Here’s what I loved so much about talking with my friend: there’s so much power in the question she dared to face. That is, What would happen if I finally stopped hiding out from the transformative work that this low period is inviting me into?
She got really tenderly connected to what was going on. She did what we call “feeling for the spot” — locating the place of greatest sensation in her life and trusting where it was leading, even when it didn’t feel pleasurable or easy in the moment.
When we switch our perspective on getting through hard times in this way, we can begin to notice a kind of counter-intuitive magic at work. As we consciously, intentionally, compassionately move towards the pain and the insecurity we’ve been trying to outrun, we see that the wisdom we get in healing is what makes everything that comes after all the more potent.
In other words: what if the pain we’re avoiding right now is the very thing that, when faced honestly, would finally allow us to experience our desires and pleasures at their very fullest?
There’s so much here that’s beautiful, challenging, and 100% relatable. I hope you get as much out of this conversation as I did.
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