There’s a common misconception in the personal development/self-help spaces that doing the right thing will always feel good. Some people even wear the idea like a badge of honor symbolizing their level of alignment or growth, claiming that even the hard things feel good.
I don’t buy it.
Similarly, self-care often gets the reputation of being nothing more than bubble baths and manicures…and as I said before, I love both of those things, AND recognize that the list doesn’t end there.
This is why I talk about self-kindness and differentiate it from self-care. Softer things like bubble baths and manicures are definitely a component that fall into the self-care category. Self-kindness goes further and includes deeper work like managing your inner critic, setting boundaries and expanding your comfort zone.
Back to doing the right thing…and how I don’t buy the whole notion that there’s some special level of spiritual growth or personal alignment that makes even doing taxes feel good. Taxes are a great example. They have to be done. It’s the right thing to do. Even my accountant doesn’t love doing them! We do them because it’s right and it’s OK that it doesn’t feel good.
Similarly, I was working with someone recently who was feeling very burnt out. She has a demanding high-profile job and some heavy duty personal stuff going on right now. She kept saying that she needed a break and knew it was the right thing to do; she just had to wait until it felt good. I interjected there and gave her a permission slip: “Even if it doesn’t feel good, it’s OK to do the right thing and take a break this weekend.”
Change and growth are often uncomfortable and that’s absolutely OK. In fact, I’d say that if your growth isn’t uncomfortable, it might not actually be growth. Making new choices and establishing new habits that support you doesn’t always feel good…and it’s still the right thing to do.