communication skills discomfort dr. becky kennedy emotional intelligence parenting tips relationship advice May 13, 2024

Welcome to Weekly Whisper #148.

Are you willing to sit with discomfort?

I’ve been a fan of Dr. Becky Kennedy for a while now. I recommend her for anyone thinking about how to deal with some of the parenting challenges they are facing now and in the future.

Despite most of her advice being directed for parents of school aged kids, I’ve found some of the insights apply to adult relationships too. More recently, she has expanded into relationships in general – some great ideas and counsel.

In clip 14:27 - 17:26 of the Lewis Howes Podcast, The School of Greatness, Dr. Becky is discussing a parent’s willingness and capability to sit with the uncomfortable feelings, disguised as statements, that come from one of their children.

Despite how the initial problem presents… I’m the only one who can’t…, it’s a signal and bid for connection. It’s possibly a tentative ask to be seen, heard and held.

As Becky comments, many parents would jump in to solve the immediate distress – me included – thinking that was the best thing to do to protect their child. And subsequently, protecting themselves from having to navigate and sit with the discomfort.

Is there any greater pain than seeing a loved one going through pain?

As Becky states “Our job as parents is not to prevent our children from feeling discomfort, but to teach them how to navigate it”.

Of course, it could be a micro example of a pattern of thinking or an isolated incident hence the advice should be contextualised.

However, it struck me that in our adult relationships it can play out very similar.

e.g. A bid for connection disguised as a throw away comment like ‘I’ve got nothing to wear’.

It would be easy for me to not pay full attention and respond with something tactically like ‘Your wardrobe is full of barely worn clothes’ which is factually correct but missed the mark in terms of connection.

Of course, the answer is true but the sub-text question being asked could be a lot deeper.

If the subtext was “I’m feeling vulnerable about how I look right now’ and I was listening for the sub-text then I might be able to respond to the sub-text rather than answer the comment factually.

So, I’m wondering how often we jump to placate or avoid the discomfort in service of the surface comment versus seeking the sub-text and bid for connection and addressing that instead.

Over to you, are you willing to sit with the discomfort of that?

Quote of the week:
When we are able to stay even a moment with uncomfortable energy, we gradually learn not to fear it - Pema Chodron

Learning to expect and welcome the discomfort builds the muscle that helps us navigate the hidden fear beneath it.

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