What are you avoiding, and could it be ready to grab your attention?

I almost didn’t know what was going on as I was rushed into hospital last week for an emergency operation to remove my appendix. The pain that I’d been trying to push past, walk off and just ignore for the last 24 hours was suddenly too much and my entire body decided to take my stubbornness into its own hands and get someone else’s attention. It certainly wasn’t having any luck getting the message through to me!

Funnily enough, earlier the same day that everything turned upside down, I’d been sitting in the dentist’s chair having emergency dental work done when this blog idea first came to mind. My tooth had been niggling me a little and was a bit delicate to cold and hot food, but the shiny gold filling right there in the back looked just fine from the outside so I ignored it. I ate softer food. I ate on the other side. It was fine and I most certainly did not have the time to stop and get it checked out – besides, I am a complete wimp when it comes to the dentist. I’d rather toughen up and be brave about the pain than actually go and have to deal with it. That was until the entire back half of my back tooth just sheared off like the side of an iceberg in bath water. Ironically, the shiny gold filling remained intact, even though most of the rest of the tooth had disappeared. It seems that I had let it all go way too long and the dentist battled for more than 2 hours to save my tooth.

I was quite pleased with myself that I’d had inspiration for a new blog at the dentist as I tried desperately to avoid thinking about being at the dentist. Something along the lines of ‘All that glitters isn’t gold – Don’t take gold fillings for granted – take time to look at what’s going on beneath etc.’. A great theme for most of us whose upbringing praised bravery and whose parents, school and society had a Churchillian *KBO principle. What a shame that I didn’t sit down right then to write this and take a dose of my own medicine straight away.

As I sat in the dentist chair, I’d already been suffering with a stabbing pain in my stomach for almost 24 hours. However, I honestly believed:

  • If I ignored it, it would go away

    That I had no time to go and get it looked at

  • That I had made commitments to my clients, friends and family that couldn’t be broken without dire consequences

  • That other people needed me more and came first

  • That, if it was really bad, I wouldn’t be able to keep going like I was, so it must be fine

  • That, perhaps I would get it looked at if it was still as bad on Friday when my calendar looked more flexible

  • That if I did go to the doctor, it would be a wasted morning or afternoon

  • That if the doctor said it was nothing I would feel like a right numpty.


And then there was the belief that it took me a little too long to notice; that if I stop and we look at this pain to find out it IS something bad, something dangerously on the edge of exploding – then that would be terrifying…

…better just hope for the best and put a brave face on it. Even feel secretly proud for my stamina and high pain tolerance level.

Can you guess what my hospital bed lesson has been? I admitted that it had been time to slow down, stop, check-in with my needs and look after myself for quite some time. It had just never been the right time and there had always been a really good and thoroughly valid reason for putting it off.

So, is it just me or could you share a little of my lesson too?

I wonder:

  • What is trying to get your attention?

  • What are you putting up with or avoiding?

  • What are you hoping will sort itself out?


Maybe it’s just a little niggle, but one that isn’t going away?

Maybe, you don’t want to go there because it could take you way out of your comfort zone?

Maybe you are resisting looking at something that is trying to get your attention for all the reasons I had or something different?

Maybe you’re holding something dangerously close to exploding below the surface.

What is it that you believe about that?  What story are you telling yourself?  Who are you choosing to be as you choose to tell yourself that?  In what ways could you possibly be wrong?

Are you going to proudly and stubbornly battle on like me or are you going to take a moment to stop and choose to listen to what messages your body is trying to get through to you? What is it tired of tolerating?

One thing I know for absolute certain is that the little voice that whispered lies about the importance of keeping going and ignoring the pain are only powerful and convincing when they are alone in my own head. They have no power out in the light together with my supervisor or coaching friends!

Assuming that life would be better and easier without the niggle, what would you choose to bring into the light and say goodbye to? Love yourself enough to speak with a trusted friend or coach. It’s time for TLC not KBO.

*Winston Churchill was famous for his motto ‘KBO’ (Keep buggering on).

Comments (1)

  1. Funny enough, there are at least 2 kinds of messages I have come across.
    The first is the one you mention: listen and take care of your needs
    The second one I had last week: Suddenly my foot got swollen, hot and pulsating.
    I checked – no bugs around, just an inflammation. An then a feeling of explosion, releasing things held back in my very body. Three days later everything was fine and I felt more energetic. We are living through a time of “letting go”. The references valid until shortly are no longer available and we are called to step up to chaos and the unknown with confidence and trust in LIfe.

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