As part of my studies to become a transformational coach, I’ve started to have some coaching myself. This is so that I can personally see the benefits of coaching in my life and to learn more about the coaching process as a participant.
I had my first session on Wednesday night and what I learnt from the process touched me deeply. I want to share this experience and what I learnt with you if that’s ok, dear friend.
Before I started my session, I wrote down what I wanted to get from the coaching process and decided that the main aim was about how I can become more comfortable in situations of conflict and in times where I need to challenge someone, be it at work or in my personal life.
We started by talking about how I shy away from conflict and what this was really about. I soon discovered that it wasn’t about wanting to step up and become an authoritarian leader who commands what people do. That’s not who I am or how I want to be as I progress in becoming someone with influence at work and in my personal life.
So what was the problem about conflict that made me identify it as an area that I wanted to work on? And how do I want to be with situations of conflict going forward?
I was unsure at the start but after some questioning, I started to build an understanding of why conflict is such a big thing for me…it’s because I’m trying to protect myself from experiencing any discomfort. Conflict, which makes me feel very anxious, is a prime example of what I want to protect myself from.
Whenever I hear people arguing or there’s a moment of uncomfortable silence or I think I might have upset someone, it’s like alarm bells are ringing in my head, blaring “resolve it, stop it, distract from it!” Because it’s uncomfortable to be in that space of tension and animosity. To not know where I stand.
I then started to think how I’ve coped with these feelings in the past before – how I’ve protected myself. And I connected immediately to my past issues with eating.
- Starving myself as an anorexic to stop feeling difficult emotions and experiences.
- Bingeing as a compulsive eater to push down my feelings of discomfort.
- Distracting myself and others from situations of conflict as I currently do.
And you know what, although I don’t want to distract and ‘protect’ myself by running away from conflict or discomfort for the rest of my life, I could see in that moment that I’m doing the best with what I’ve got.
Doing the best with what I’ve got
What sweet, sweet words of kindness I heard coming out of my mouth. Recognition that life is tricky. That I’m trying to find my way as best I can. That it’s ok to not constantly toil away for perfect resolution but to acknowledge how far I’ve come and how I am doing my best.
I felt in that moment that ‘my best’ is enough.
Perhaps not enough for forever – I’d like to be able to experience conflict one day without feeling the need to distract, to resolve or stop the situation – but enough for now.
I’m doing the best with what I’ve got and it feels so beautifully gentle and generous to tell myself this.