Helen McKillen

helenmckillen surfing the urge


Moving outside your comfort zone

Over the years I have read many self help books but found it difficult to maintain changes. Giving in was always an easy option for me.  I knew I needed to develop the ability to surf the urge of wanting to give up.  Like most people I don’t like feeling uncomfortable.

This was brought home to me recently when I was caught up in a lot of  insecure thinking about moving outside my comfort zone. Ongoing feelings of  fear and anxiety were manifesting as an outbreak of hives over my body. To make matters worse I could not control my impulse to scratch at them.

The urge to get away from unpleasant feelings

Our body is always speaking to us, so its important to pay attention.

My inner distress was manifesting as an outbreak of hives. For you, it might be lack of sleep, sore back, aches and  pains, or high blood pressure to name just a few symptoms.

It was only when I saw the damage I was doing to my body that I realized this cannot go on.

On reflection, I could see that I was itching to get away from my feelings of insecurity and fear.

What might it be for you? Boredom? Loneliness? Overwhelm? Exhaustion? What feelings do you seek relief from?

As human beings we naturally seek to feel comfortable and secure and want to avoid any discomfort or pain. That’s a natural response but it is not always possible.

Feelings are an indicator of our thinking

Our feelings are a good indicator of our how we are thinking.

When our  mind is caught in insecure thinking patterns we will experience feelings of insecurity. These feelings may show up in our body as they did with me.

Even though I have been doing personal  growth work for years, I can still get caught up in insecure thinking patterns . This can happen to anyone – its part of the human condition.

Insecure thinking will always be a part of our lives but we don’t need to let it impact our wellbeing.

Its not people places or things that triggers unpleasant feelings.   It’s what we are thinking about those people, places or things that causes us to feel a certain way.

Be kind to yourself

So rather than being critical of yourself when you feel overwhelmed with certain feelings and emotions – have some compassion for yourself. This is not self-pity. Its  a simple acknowledgement that life can be challenging. Treat yourself with the same care and respect that you would a good friend.

My practise of self-compassion was to make a commitment to myself. I would not give in to the urge to scratch the hives no matter how much discomfort I would feel. I would allow the wave of discomfort to pass through me.

This practise of ‘surfing the urge’ is used in the treatment of addictions but can be applied to any uncomfortable feelings.  https://motivationandchange.com/urge-surfing/

Feelings always pass

Running away from unpleasant feelings and seeking temporary relief in certain habits is not the answer.

Our feelings always pass,  because they are impermanent.  Its learning to allow all feelings to be present and not fear them – this is what builds resiliency.

Within a few days the itching in my body had subsided and the hives had begun to heal.

I am left with some scars but I know in time these will fade. For now they are a reminder to let go and learn to be present and allow all feelings to show up and pass through.

Our lessons in life show up in the most unexpected of ways. Through this experience I’ve learned that not every itch needs to be scratched. Or to put it another way, not everything that happens to me needs a reaction from me.

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