If you are a ‘push through’ and ‘work hard’ kind of person, this post isn’t for you. You don’t need to get better at tolerating pain and discomfort. In fact, if you are in touch with your tough side, but struggle with relaxation, you may like to read my post Make Peace A Priority, as this is probably more relevant to you right now.
Disclaimer out of the way, this is my current perspective on developing an aspect of myself that has suffered ever since I stopped rock climbing, became vegetarian and took up yoga, meditation and massage therapy!
I am very in touch with my soft, compassionate, emotional side. I am extremely sensitive, and I value this quality, but you can definitely have too much of a good thing. I would never want to lose my ability to cry at terrible suffering, a beautiful song, or a cute puppy! However, when my extreme sensitivity paralyses me, causing confusion and a general feeling of wanting to hide from the world, I need to call upon my inner warrior goddess.
My usual approach when undertaking physical challenges is to relax as much as possible in order to conserve energy. This usually works really well. I recently managed to survive an inflatable 5k obstacle race relatively unscathed, despite not having run in years! I really dislike running, and my body was attempting to panic a little at the situation, but my yoga mindset kicked in and I was able to relax and enjoy myself.
Long walks on my recent trip to Ireland really got me though. With blisters and aching feet, a shortage of water, and 5 miles still to walk, my sense of ease was rapidly fading. I usually try to avoid too much physical discomfort, and treat pain as a warning signal from my body. When I can’t escape discomfort my thoughts can rapidly spiral downwards.
This time, however, I was determined to enjoy my day, so I decided I needed to work on my mindset. I tried visualizing being light, joyful and full of energy, but unfortunately it just wasn’t working and I kept getting sucked back into negativity. Then I had a breakthrough.
Since I couldn’t avoid the pain, I decided I may as well embrace it. I would be doing a lot of lying down, eating and relaxing later. My body would have plenty of time to rest, and I could go back to being the sensitive, deep feeling creature I know and love. But for now I needed to toughen the hell up, and be inspired by the more savage aspects of myself.
I visualized ferocious, yet divine, creatures that channelled their monster like qualities into fierce unstoppable power. I saw the absolute beauty in these savage qualities, infinitely capable of surviving the most extreme conditions. It sounds silly, but that was the kind of energy I needed to really enjoy my experience.
I imagined my claws poised ready to tear through any obstacles, and my eyes glowing purple with pure energy. The discomfort became fuel to my inner fire, and I felt like I could take on any challenge.
My blisters felt like battle scars, the pain in my ankles reminded me how far I’d walked, and I thrived on feeling thirsty, hungry and tired. It was such a rapid turn around from how I’d been feeling moments before. The power of the human mind is phenomenal.
By the end of the walk I was feeling euphoric. I was back in the city, and the usual anxiety I feel in crowded places was displaced by an inner strength and power I hadn’t felt for a long time. I also no longer felt the urgency to eat immediately, or the panic about straining my muscles. I had become ever so slightly more badass.
My primary inspiration is still a more gentle divine being, but I loved exploring this lesser developed aspect of myself. We are capable of infinitely many modes of being, and there is great benefit in developing sides of ourselves we may be shying away from. Treasure is often found in the least likely places!
What are your less developed / hidden qualities? Do you want to explore them? If you don’t know where to begin, try thinking of mythical (or real) creatures that embody these qualities, and use them as your inspiration! Let me know how it goes, or any other thoughts, in the comments below 🙂