your suffering is optional

while i don’t recall the moment i first heard haruki murakami’s quote, i distinctly remember the feeling in my body. my jaw clenched and my shoulders rolled back and tightened as i began to embody a fighting stance. i was under attack and preparing myself for battle. i was ready to defend my suffering. i was set to argue against anyone who would dare try to take my limitations away.

now, as i reflect on that version of me, i feel a sadness for her. but her aggressively defensive behavior makes sense to me.

when i was told my suffering was optional, i made it mean that it was a choice. and i didn’t want to hear that i was CHOOSING to suffer.

why?

because that would mean i would no longer be able to blame my mom or my dad or my life or those people over there or this circumstance here or my finances or that one person from 15 years ago who called me fat or that teacher who wouldn’t help me or that guy that broke my heart or that girl who said those things mean things.

if my suffering was a choice, i’d have to stop saying it was “them” keeping me down and admit that it was me.

and friend, i didn’t like that one bit.

but, here’s the thing that’s important to understand if you want to live an empowered life– your experience is 100% within your control.

if we are suffering, it is our choice.

if you are suffering, it is your choice.

i was reading an article that described it like this: it is possible to experience pain and not suffer as much as it’s possible to suffer and not be in any physical pain.

to me, the suffering kicks in when we become emotionally entangled in our pain. when we take our pain and we attach who we are to that pain we will suffer. when we beat ourselves up (physically, mentally, or emotionally) for our pain, we will suffer. when we continue our self-abuse with guilt and shame, we will continue our suffering.

THESE are the things that are our choice.

the painful or traumatic or painful thing that happened? that’s not on you.

but, making that event(s) mean something negative about who you are, beating yourself up again and again for your perceived mistake(s), and torturing yourself with guilt and shame… friend, those things are your choice.

if you believe you’ve suffered enough, comment below or send me an email at michelle@coachmichellemoore.com. i’d love to support you. and if you haven’t suffered enough, carry on. but, as you carry on, do it will full ownership that at this point, the suffering you’re experiencing is YOUR CHOICE.

blame is easier, but it’s never healed a hurting human. please don’t try to be the first.

xo

how to stop giving a sh*t about what other people think

people frequently ask me this question:

how do i stop giving a sh*t about what other people think?

my answer?

you can’t.

i kid. but not really. the truth is, anyone who isn’t a sociopath is going to care what other people think.

so, the question is flawed. i’ll explain.

i have a friend who acts without attachment to the opinions of others. i have always viewed her as a mythical creature possessing a skill i desperately desired. we were hanging out a few years ago when i asked her, “have you always been able to not care what other people think?” i can clearly remember how i felt when she replied, “i’ve always been this way. it’s just who i am.”

it was a gut punch.

dang. so, what? i’m destined to be stuck in this perpetual cycle of people pleasing for the rest of my life?

now, i’m not saying that answer wasn’t true for her. in fact, i believe it is and i believe it is for many. the problem was, i wasn’t the many.

and if you are not the many either, keep reading…

first, let’s change the question:

how can i care deeply, AND not give a sh*t?

friend, you can learn how to care deeply AND not give a sh*t. you can hear the opinions of others AND not be stopped by them. you can learn to process feedback as feedback AND not take it as a personal attack. you can learn to understand that other people are sharing their experiences of you AND not take on their experiences as your own truth.

now, this is an individual conversation filled with individual answers, but from my experience– both as a coach and as someone who lived most of her life addicted to attention and approval; most of us who are in the cycle of people-pleasing have equated our safety and stability with making others happy.

i will be okay if everyone else is okay.

the danger here is that when we outsource our stability, safety, and security; we are not in control of the one thing we have any control over: OURSELVES.

we become paranoid in our compulsive obsession of what other people are thinking, preoccupied with personal manipulation in an attempt to please them, and completely sacrificing self in the process.

you can care deeply and not be stopped by their opinions, but in order to do that, you have to be willing to confront and heal your relationship to your own judgments of you.

nothing anyone says about you has the power to shake you; unless there is a part of you that believes the things they are saying.

we have to first, heal our relationship with our reflection.

when there is no longer personal pain projected, we are much better equipped to take action on our goals without weaving our judgments into the conversation pretending they belong to others.

i’d love to hear your thoughts…

xo