Oh, holy wow do I know how to give myself an out!
I’ve noticed that the work of building up my own self compassion has historically equated to hardcore flaking. I also recognize that whiteness has encouraged this mentality by allowing myself to distance from anything regarding race. In order to become more conscious around this so-very-natural ability of mine, I began to push myself, refusing to walk away, planting my feet firmly in any and all moments of discomfort even when it was unsafe.
This is not self-compassion. It’s also not “wrong.”
Whether speaking to emotional or physical exhaustion, anti-racist work, or moving past victim mentality, pushing through is typically the beginner’s attempt to “show up” in life. And as necessary as this is for the starting point, I’ve now learned the power of leaning in and wanted to share this with you as a resource I wish I had.
Below I’ve identified differences between pushing through and leaning in based on my somatic inquiry.
Invitation: Instead of following mine, I encourage you to use these as a lighthouse to guide you within your own somatic process to unlock how these show up in your own body.
Leaning In vs. Pushing Through
1. Leaning In feels like an invitation // Pushing Through feels like an obligation
2. Leaning In stems from curiosity // Pushing Through stems from a completion mentality (I want to get this done!)
3. Leaning In can feel risky, uncomfortable, but I am safe in my own body // Pushing Through feels like I or someone else has crossed a boundary that makes me feel unsafe.
NOTE - This one is very important to feel into your own somatic experience, as boundaries are different than privilege. I invite you to stay in a conversation where your privilege is triggered. If YOU are actually triggered, see if you can lean in and if not, walk away.
4. Leaning In is an act of vulnerability // Pushing Through is an act of aggression.
5. Leaning In allows for deeper empathy for others and wider self compassion // Pushing Through creates resentment towards others and self aggression
Here’s what these may look like in daily life..
Today I am on my period, had a long day yesterday filled with physical labor, and both my back and uterus are feeling ALL the things. Here’s what leaning in looks like for me today...
I showed up for each SuperConscious Coaching call, collaborations, and group facilitation just as I am. I did not need to change my energy level AND I also didn’t need to cancel.
Pushing through would’ve looked like… Drinking a caffeinated beverage, putting on the boisterous and bubbly Brittany smile and showing up as something other than the truth of who I am this morning. This would have left me feeling even more exhausted, like a fake, and resentful that I had clients scheduled. How dare they disturb me during my flow?! ARGH! ;)
The other option… cancel. This one is tricky. Just be clear on your intention to do so. Is it for self care or are you bypassing? In a world of Cancel Culture and especially coming from a recovering-flake, I’ve found that even when I’m low energy I still hold magic in my bones, I still create space for others easily, and they receive me perhaps more openly, because if I show up just as I am it gives them permission to do so as well.
This process of leaning in also includes white fragility and race matters. White folx, will you be uncomfortable? Hell, yes. Will it even perhaps feel like you’re pushing through in the beginning? Maybe. So… How do you turn a push through to a lean in?
Remind yourself of your intention to be here in the first place.
~ Why is this work important? Why do black lives matter? How is staying silent as a white person causing harm?
~ Why do you have your own business where you have a diverse schedule each week that doesn’t always align with your menstrual cycle?
~ Why did you marry your partner and now have in-laws that you are in constant communication with regardless of their lack of woke-ness?
~ Why did you enter this degree program in the first place and why do you keep saying yes to it?
When in doubt, ASK A QUESTION. From curiosity stems empathy, for others AND yourself.
If the answer isn’t clear or nothing pleasant or beneficial is entering your mind, then I invite you to reconfigure your life. Why push through when you can lean in? And if you can’t find a way to lean in then LEAVE.
*Again, this is not applicable to anti-racism work. There is no option to leave this system. Go back in, find a way to lean in. Until then, yes, push through. I believe in you.
Notice also, does this binary feel restrictive? Safe? Useful? Harmful? There will always be a flow of leaning in, pushing through, canceling for self care, and leaving the situation entirely. As always, what works for YOU is what works best.
Remember your power. Use your privilege. Honor your whole self.
Life is a choice not a chore.