What I’m Learning: Power in Slowing Down
From surface level to a deeper understanding
The more I learn and teach, the more I learn how little I know. And that's ok. Growth thrives in the environment of vulnerability, humility, openness, and willingness. We strangle growth with ego, pride, fear, unwillingness, and resistance. I can speak to this first hand. I've learned (and taught!) about the concepts of life being 50/50, being willing to feel any emotion - negative or positive, the damage resisting and avoiding emotions can cause, that we're not supposed to be happy all of the time and that being human, not happy, is the goal. And yet. I didn't really know it. Honestly, I still don't fully grasp these concepts. This has become painfully clear to me in my many, many attempts to spend less time on my phone.
I took what I had heard from various authors, teachers, and business owners about social media use and consuming the news and filtered it through a very judgmental and negative lens. The result were thoughts like:
- "Any time I spend on my phone is negative."
- "I shouldn't spend time on my phone."
- "I could be doing way more productive things."
- "I'm wasting my time."
All of these thoughts lead to shame, self-loathing, and of course, maddeningly enough - increased phone use.
Why? Well, it's two fold. I didn't examine what these authors, teachers, and business owners were saying and see what, if anything, rang true for me. I didn't slow down and try on these new beliefs. I just filtered them through my "I'm doing this all wrong" lens and papered them over my beliefs that I kind of really enjoy Twitter. I think Sarah Cooper is hilarious and I really want to see her work. I also like connecting with people on Instagram. I love being in my 2k for 2k Facebook group, aka the only Facebook group I've ever loved. I like social media and I like reading the news. When I tried to blindly adopt the belief that social media and the news are evil and a waste of time, I kept butting up against my true beliefs. This lead to feeling terrible. For a long time. Like, a year. Straight. And it lead to me hating myself for not being able to "fix" my problem. I didn't realize my actual problem was I wasn't acting in integrity with what I truly wanted to believe. It only exacerbated the behavior I was trying to extinguish.
This also bled into my belief that I should be using that time I was spending on my phone and any extra down time I had to work on my business. Which lead to not only more phone use, but also me being wildly impatient with myself, my fur babies and husband when I was doing anything that wasn't directly related to my business: walking the dogs, making dinner, spending time with my husband. You know, normal life things. I can see now how I was acting from shame, self-judgement, and fear - to name a few. All because I adopted other people's beliefs and assumed since they were "successful" that I was clearly wrong, and they were right. I just figured I had to take the beliefs on as my own without asking myself: What do I believe about this? What do I want to believe? I realize I've made these error in other areas of my life, too. And it really comes from a belief that others know more about what's right for me than I do.
This leads me to my next point. Only when my coach pointed out the benefits of "off time" or diffuse time, and how our brains use that time to make connections and come up with really good ideas. Only then was I open to seeing walking the dogs and any other activity that wasn't directly business related, as valuable. Seriously. Even as I'm writing this now, I'm like, really Gretta? That's insane. But it's 100% where my mind was at. My coach and I had that conversation almost a week ago and I've been mulling it over since. Trying to see how she could be right. My eyes were further opened by a colleague in my beloved 2k group - Ruth Duren. She stated, "When I heard 'your level of success is determined by your willingness to be uncomfortable,' I thought I accepted it and I thought I understood it. Yeah I did not." She went on to provide several examples where this showed up for her. She went on to say, "When I said I was doing everything and not getting the results, I meant I was doing all of the actions and missing the second piece. feeling all the emotions. As an action person this has been hard, but the best thing I've done yet."
That resonated with me so deeply. That's EXACTLY what I had been missing. Feeling. And it's why I kept chasing my tail with using my phone. Trying to avoid feeling shame for using my phone, lead to more shame and more phone use.
She then went on to list all the positive results she's gained by feeling her emotions and finished by offering, "Slow down, step back, feel your emotions and take the actions from a different energy and see what is in store for you."
YES. So that's what I'm learning. It's deepening my understanding of the concept of feeling emotions. It's taking what others say and filtering it through curiosity and asking myself, how might this be true for me? How might this be for me? Also, intentionally allowing myself to feel emotions - especially the negative emotions. Truly being willing to be uncomfortable. To sit in discomfort. In order to do this, I have to slow down and stop being in a hurry. Do less and feel more.
Thank you Ruth, for sharing your wisdom.