Wendy Kimelman, LMHC, RN, BSN, therapist in Orlando, specializes in working with people in the medical field

Wendy Kimelman, is a psychotherapist and registered nurse based in Orlando. She helps teens and adults to shift out of old stories that no longer suit them and move into a new narrative for their life that gets them to a place of joy.

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Welcome to my happy spot! I have a small flower garden outside my bedroom and you can often find me here sipping coffee, reading a book, talking to my family or friends, or attempting to take slow, full, deep, breaths. LBL Counseling, Happy Spot, Gardening, GardenIt is always a restorative time for me to sit here, even for 5 minutes, between the busy days that define my life.

I planted the flowers here myself and I sometimes talk to them about how beautiful they are, inquiring as to what they need to be happy. This summer, we have had more rain than usual. With the hot Florida sun, this makes for extra sticky days and more weeds than usual. I knew I needed to go out and tend to my garden, but my inner five-year-old told me no way no how! She was not having it.

I have a long and complex relationship with discomfort. Hot, sticky weather pushes me to discomfort quicker than anything else I can think of. Getting up the motivation to go into my little flower bed and pull weeds can be difficult. I talk to myself, often for days in advance, telling myself how good it will feel when it is done. I remind myself how much I enjoy being able to better see my pretty little flowers after the large, invasive weeds and grass have been pulled. But these rational concepts are not powerful enough to sway the five-year-old girl that spent years being told to “get outside and play” in the hot Florida sun. Her complaints of discomfort generally were met with a variety of phrases that all meant the same thing. Suck it up!

Sucking it up is something I have almost as much experience with as the hot sticky Florida summer weather. It is my belief that sucking it up is a necessary coping strategy that I must keep in my coping resource bag at all times. But like another coping strategy you will often hear me speak of, cookies, it cannot be the primary coping method I use. When I notice myself going to the “suck it up” option more often than usual, it is time to get curious about what is going on for me.

Sucking it up is great for time sensitive or short-term challenges. Sucking it up is great as a temporary bridge over unpleasant or difficult life requirements like doing your taxes, getting a colonoscopy, taking statistics, or my daughter’s favorite, cleaning her room. Long-term sucking it up has become a cultural practice that allows those with the power to keep those without power in their place.

Sucking up pain for too long can result in health conditions that could have been manageable, instead of becoming more advanced or irreversible. Sucking up emotions can lead to resentment and fractures in relationships which can disconnect us from people, especially those we love when we want to be connected to them the most. The universal truth about all things in balance definitely applies to sucking it up. I recommend it in small doses and only when necessary. The really tough choice, the growth response, is learning to sit in discomfort. Ask it what it is trying to teach you. Appreciate the beauty before you, instead of being distracted by what someone has told you it could be or should be.

So today, I am going to pay attention to the sweet, sunny flowers in my little garden that makes me smile and feel childlike. Today, I am going to focus on my flowers and not my weeds.

I love a good metaphor!

Be Well!

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