Pick your pain

"I can't lift my coffee mug."

That's what I said shortly after going indoor climbing for the first time. My forearms were so spent, it was a struggle to click a mouse, type an email, or drink coffee (which is my lifeblood). Those first few times climbing were hard. Not only did I feel like I was doing it all wrong, but it was hard on my body (especially my arms). Starting to learn the skill of climbing was unpleasant. It was downright painful. But now, after going to the climbing gym consistently and practicing for just a few months, I am a much better climber. My arms don't feel like jelly anymore. I feel much more confident. While some days are still difficult, I've built some skill and some strength so that I can confidentiality climb and continue to progress. Here's an important thing to remember: It would be impossible for me to get to this place without going through those initial times of discomfort and pain. The third step in the P.A.T.H. Plan, after pausing, and acknowledging, is to set a timer for ten minutes. During those ten minutes, you are allowing the urge to be there. You're giving it permission and space to be heard. You simply continue on throughout your day during this time, but you are not pushing the feeling away, fighting against it, or resisting it (remember, what you resist persists, but what you allow alleviates). Here's the thing, these ten minutes are not pleasant. In fact, they are painful. I remember a few specific instances when I was first implementing this strategy. Those were some intense moments. It was hard. But I found that allowing the urges for ten minutes, as unpleasant and painful as it was, was THE missing piece that ultimately led to true, lasting freedom. Here's the reminder for you: as you implement the P.A.T.H. Plan, expect it to be hard in the beginning. Expect those ten minutes to be unpleasant. Just like doing a workout at the gym. Just like learning to climb. It is uncomfortable. It is painful. But what is that discomfort and pain leading you TO? True, lasting, exhilarating freedom. The pain and discomfort of those ten minute periods is the price of admission. And consider, what's the alternative? The alternative is pain that is ten times worse in the long run: guilt, shame, the feeling that you are not the man you should be, the fear of being found out. So really, it's not a question of whether there will be pain. Rather, it's a question of which pain will you choose? And, what is that pain ultimately leading you to? I know which destination I truly desire for you. True, amazing, and exciting freedom is waiting for you. But what will you choose? Decide today which path you will take. Pick your pain. -Dan

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