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Is your discomfort a symptom?

My daughter was "reading" a book to me today that I know really well. She would tell me the story as she remembered it based on the pictures and kept looking at me for confirmation that she w

as getting it right. Most of the time, I love these times that we have together in the quiet before a nap or bedtime and love all of her improvisations in books. But today, I noticed I felt agitated and frustrated with how long it was taking and with her not getting it "right." Every other day this week, I have laughed and smiled easily with her with the same behavior. So, what gives?


After some quick internal personal investigation, I realized that I have been required to attend to other people's pace all morning at work and I was uncomfortable with keeping pace with her. I wanted to hurry through it to get on with my to-do list for the afternoon. I was tired, run down and had not had space to process some heavy emotions from the week so far. None of this was my daughter's fault or responsibility. She just wanted time with her mom and needed some connection and comfort. But I was uncomfortable with her need for comfort because my own were going unmet. My discomfort with her needs was a symptom for something more going on under the surface for me.


How did I get there? Here are some questions I asked myself....

  1. What is this discomfort I'm feeling? Where is it in my body?

  2. What are the thoughts I'm having around this?

  3. What is the actual emotion I'm feeling?

  4. What do I want to be different and why?

  5. What would make me feel better?

  6. Are #4 and #5 helping me live into my values and who I want to be?

  7. What action needs to be taken to help me live into my values?

Ultimately, I ended up just needing to take a few deep breaths to calm my body and brain and to remind myself that it was ok for my daughter to not get things "right" and that I was happy to give to her what she needed. I chose the discomfort of slowing down over the discomfort of hurrying her along and continuing my annoyance and irritation. And I got a better outcome! Better connection with my girl and with myself! Now, it's off to do some of my own comforting because I clearly need it!

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