For the past few days I’ve focused on Brene’ Brown’s vulnerability studies and how her findings relate to the topic of change and transition. I’ve touched upon wholeheartedness, which is comprised of four elements based upon Dr. Brown’s findings: courage, compassion, connection and embracing one’s vulnerability. There is one last thing I want to highlight from Dr. Brown’s research before moving on to the exploration of identifying with our change; the idea that we numb intense emotions.
Taking the edge off works both ways.
Because vulnerability can be very uncomfortable, at least until we accept it into our sense of being, we, as a culture, have a tendency to numb it. The problem is, when we numb the emotions associated with feeling vulnerable, we also numb the good things such as joy, love, happiness and the sense of belonging.
There are a lot of indicators, such as addiction, over-medication, obesity or debt that suggests we’re numbing quite a bit these days. There are also signs that many within our culture are looking for ways to step away from that numbness (mindfulness, yoga, work/life balance, technology breaks, establishing boundaries), yet the practice of numbing has permeated our culture to the extent that we no longer seem to know quite how to stop. I fall into that category myself, and have been thinking a lot about not just how I numb, but also why.
Do our beliefs drive our desire to numb?
By no means do I have all of the answers (or even any answers at this point), but I do believe that what and why we numb is related to our belief system, which is why it is so important we have a better understanding of how we think about ourselves, others, and our world; how we perpetuate our current thinking patterns; and how to shift those things to be in closer alignment with the lives we want to live.
These are areas that will be explored as we delve deeper into personal principles, which is the fourth and most complex aspect related to a smooth transition to change, but will also show up in the next posts about identifying with our change.
If we numb the more challenging sensations experienced during a change or transition, then it is likely because we find them unpleasant. And it becomes even more difficult to enjoy ourselves if we are numbing the downsides, because we are then also numbing the upsides, making it harder to recognize and appreciate those too.
I realize this post is more contemplation than anything else, but I wanted to put it out there for your consideration, because at least for me, the part about why I’m numbing requires time to reflect and consider. Stay tuned for the first installment about identifying with our change, and some of the barriers we put up that can hinder our smooth transition to change.
As an aside, after completing 31 days in a row of daily blog posts, I have decided to start taking weekends off, but will continue to post daily during the week. Happy Independence Day for those of you residing in the U.S., and a wonderful weekend to everyone!
Share your thoughts.
What do you think about this idea of numbing? Are you aware of when you’re doing it? Are there things you’re actively doing to thwart the impulse to numb? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please share and let’s have a conversation!
About the Author
Megan Rounds, Ed.D. is owner and principle perculator of perculcha, llc.
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