I’m currently reading Brene Brown’s most recent book, Dare to Lead. As always, she’s beautifully woven together personal experience, research and practical tools to help anyone and everyone, not just leaders, be better human beings.
The nugget that has resonated most powerfully with me, and one that I’ve put into action, is her advice to choose discomfort over resentment. We often avoid the hard conversations for fear of upsetting the apple cart; we don’t want to risk not belonging or disconnection from the larger group. Instead, we opt to hold onto whatever emotions we didn’t have the courage to express for months, perhaps even longer. Resentment is not a pleasant emotion to let fester – trust me.
This stood out to me because it’s something, even for a very honest lady, I do often – I hold onto to shit and try to let it die a natural death or let it out in other passive aggressive lameness down the road. But seeing as I’m an adult, and one that wants to live a wholehearted life, I’ve decided to road test this beauty. In the last 48 hours, I’ve sent two challenging texts and two emails to important people in my life. With grace and tact, I wrote honestly about how the person’s actions or words hurt me and the impact they were having. In one case, I wrote about what I needed to help make a transition easier. And guess what? Every single response has been profoundly positive. Every. Single. Response.
Does this mean that I’ll have a perfect track record from here on out? Nope. I’ll definitely burn some bridges. But if I reflect back on the moments in my life when I’ve been raw and open with people that I care deeply about, it has always strengthened our bond.
Brown suggests that saying or sending something difficult requires us to feel 8 seconds of discomfort – that’s it. So why not opt for 8 seconds vs. 6 months or in some cases, years of resentment over something that could be resolved right now. Today. This moment.
I’m opting for discomfort over resentment. Are you?