81. Are you trading in peace, in your life and relationships, for relief?

I see a theme in the women I life coach. When I ask them what they want in their life, their homes, their motherhood, their relationships, peace (calm, serenity, harmony) is a common answer. 

Peace is something we crave, but we often trade it in for relief. 

The problem is that peace and relief can look similar. Because the pain lessens for a bit. 

But relief is not peace. Relief is a temporary reduction/removal of the pain. Peace is finding calm amongst the pain and stressors. 


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This week my 6-year-old son was having an ‘off day’ – a few of them. Eventually, I kept him home from school with me. I could see he was having a soul fever (a concept from Simplicity Parenting*) and that day allowed him to rest and recenter. 

As an adult, I can relate to how he was feeling. So often I have this strange stressor that is highjacking how I show up – I’m not present and I’m not having any fun or feeling like I am in control of my life. It feels overwhelming. 


What do we want relief from?

So often when we have some kind of discomfort, pain or urge we just want relief. We just want it to stop. We treat it like a hot coal in our hands.

We are acting from a stress response and looking for a quick way to make the pain stop. 


The more seek relief, the more fearful we get of the pain/discomfort

So we lash out, we withdraw, we try to control everyone and everything. This is how we learn to cope with the discomfort of feeling pain. 

The more we do this, the more afraid we become of experiencing this ‘pain’, this ‘hot coal’. We develop coping mechanisms that help us find relief from this perceived pain. 

But when we don’t immediately seek relief, then we can start to sit with this hot coal a little longer. Learn that it won’t hurt us, that we can handle it. 


We need to get through the discomfort in order to move into peace

This is where peace lives. In going through the discomfort of not giving ourselves immediate relief. 

It can show up in motherhood, in marriage, in our life, in our relationships. 

What I am learning is that when I let myself be uncomfortable and get past the need for immediate relief, I move into a space where there is an OPPORTUNITY to experience peace and practice peace – the peace God gives me, the peace I find within, the peace I can offer those around me. 


Peace also requires trust – of ourselves, others and of God

I shared an example of a fight I was about to have with my husband over butter, honey butter to be specific.

In the past, I would dump a conflict onto him and shame him into fixing it. But I decided to sit with the discomfort I was feeling and let myself work to a calmer place –  so I could address this issue with kindness and understanding of myself – rather than blowing it up, in the moment, from a stress response.

I call this the Circle Back. And it isn’t about never addressing the issue, it is about circling back to it from a place of calm. 

But I can do this BECAUSE I trust us. I trust that this is something we can work through. I’ve learned to trust him and myself with conflict resolution.

Peace also requires us to trust ourselves and to put trust in God that he’s got us, his hand is in it, he has the long game. 


Mindful questions:

  • What feels like pain to me? What are my ‘hot coals’?
  • How do I deal with them? What are the responses I have to them?
  • What are the decisions I am making today? Are they bringing me relief or peace?
  • Where can I practice peace today?
  • Where do I often seek relief? How has that impacted my life? How can I have compassion for myself for the relief I had needed in the past?


Fun links mentioned in this episode 

are you trading in peace for relief?

Full transcription 

Hello, welcome. I’m Shawna, your nerdy girlfriend and life coach from simple on purpose.ca Welcome to the simple on purpose show.

This show is all about helping you simplify your home, your heart and your life. So you can show up for your life on purpose. Because I want you to live the life that is headed where you want it to go. Not just where you end up, not just by default, because I have lived both those versions of life. And I’ll tell you which one feels more empowering the life that is headed where you want it to go.

So this past week, I was noticing something happening for my son. So my kids are six, eight, and nine. And my youngest Dawson, he’s in grade one. So that’s I was having some off days, he just seemed like something was really bugging him. He was kind of picking on everyone. He wasn’t really listening. He was just he had no off switch. He was just going and going and kind of acting like trying to act really silly and get attention but then also pushing me away. Like something just didn’t add up. And I tried to talk to him about it, like what’s going on for you. And he wasn’t, he wasn’t really sure about what was going on for him. He just wasn’t in tune with that. So this had been going on for a few days, he was having these off days. And we were getting ready for school on Friday morning. And he just kept crying. Everything was making him cry, and making him really upset. And I mean, sure he cries and gets upset. But this seemed extra.

And I thought like this is kind of he’s reached his breaking point. And a couple of nights before that he had told me that he had a dream. He had to go to school. And he was crying because he had to leave me. And so I’m thinking like, this guy’s got something going on. And I know how much he wants to be home with me instead of being at school. So I thought, like, dude, do you need a day off? Do you just need a day at home with mom? And through his tears, he was just like, yes. And I saw shoulders drop and he kind of calmed down.

I was reading the book simplicity parenting maybe about a year ago, and I was sharing it on my Instagram, you can go see that on my highlight reels under books I read, I summed up each of the chapters. But there’s some information in that book that was really impactful for me about a soul fever, when your kid is just like having a soul fever. And they just need to, like retreat and rest. And I felt like that’s what was happening for him. He just needed to step back from it all, to not feel the need to perform and be doing and to just like I feel like there’s a lot of time so I could totally relate. So we spent the day together. he calmed down, he was relaxed. He was like making eye contact with me and listening to me, I could just see the difference.

And at the end of the night, we were laying together and I was like what did you need a break from what felt really hard for you. And he told me, I have a loose tooth and it won’t come out. And I didn’t think about it all day. So he has his first loose tooth. And he’s the youngest in the family. So he really wants it out. He wants to do what his older siblings have done. He has a friend who recently lost his tooth and he felt jealous about it. This loose tooth was causing him so much anxiety, like it’s not ready to come out yet. But he doesn’t understand. And he just wants it out. And I don’t know about you.

But I can totally relate to this stressor. That’s hard to pinpoint. But it’s giving you anxiety and impacting your whole day. As I reflected on this, I realized like I actually felt like this all weekend, this past weekend, part of my brain was stressed about work the whole weekend, it was really hard for me to show up, well to show up with my values to show up mindfully to show up engaged in the present. Because there was just that part of my brain that was fixated on this one issue.

So we never really know what these stressors are for our kids. But giving them a day of rest where they can just stop and tune into themselves I think is really helpful. And I’m going to lead to this. It’s helpful for us to I think that this story about our weekend because I just like to share stories about our weekend. But this story, what are we can really reflect what I want to talk about today. And that is the concept of peace versus relief. And this had been coming up for me in my work. And it started to come up for me in the coaching I was doing this past week with the women that I live coach, the concept of peace or relief. So I was actually last week early in the week I was praying for guidance on an issue. And I had to make a decision. And as I’m praying I’m like, Okay, this is what I’ve decided, Oh, look at that. I feel peace with that decision. And then right away as soon as I told myself I felt peace, something inside said Is it peace or is it just relief? Like do you just feel better now? Or is this actual peace

 Because relief – it just makes the pain go away? But peace is finding that calm despite the stressors Despite the pain in the life on purpose Academy this month, we’re working on marriage. So I was sharing this week in the life on purpose Academy, a concept of something I’m trying my marriage that I call the circle back. Maybe it has some name out there. But the circle back is noticing when I’m feeling discomfort, and like there’s conflict, but circling back to addressing it after I’ve sorted through it a little bit, but not like just withdrawing and being mean the whole time, but actually still being present while I sort through it.

So conflict comes up, it comes up in decisions we have to make in parenting, in our marriage, conflict comes up and conflict causes pain. And what do we want, we just want the pain to stop when we’re in pain, we just want relief. So when this conflict came up in my marriage this other week, I would naturally turn to my spouse, I would tell him how he caused it. So he should make it stop because he’s the cause of it. And I’m stressed, right? This pain is causing us stress, even like emotional pain can put us into a stress response. So I’m not really showing up thinking logically and calmly, I’m thinking from a stress state. I just want the pain to stop, I want relief. I want relief. But really, I want peace. I don’t want to cry over tomatoes. In my kitchen. I don’t want to have a fight about butter with my husband. I don’t want to fight about how much fun everyone is having except me.

I want the peace. And in order to get to peace, I need to override my drive for relief for that instant relief. So what do you want relief from? We want relief from pain, emotional pain, physical pain, we want relief from discomfort. And lots of things can cause us discomfort, having to figure something out having to put ourselves out there having to try something new. We also want relief from urges, we just want to satisfy the urge

All of this to me, it’s like holding a hot coal, just get rid of it. But what if you could get better at holding that hot coal? And what if it turned out to not be that hot? After all? What if you found out that you could hold it a little longer each time? Because then you’re not so scared of that hot coal, you’re not so afraid of it, you don’t need to fear it. So think of the things that you often want really from what if you didn’t need to fear them? conflict with your family, negative emotions about your life, stress of motherhood, discomfort, physical or emotional, seeing your kid upset, being mad at your husband? None of these things feel good. But we’re just looking for relief from them.

But remember, relief is not peace. And here’s the problem. It’s hard to tell relief can really feel like peace. It can. But the relief is temporary. It’s treating the symptoms and not the problem. It’s saying yes to your kids to make them stop asking rather than just the discomfort of following through on what you said. It’s the relief of getting mad at your husband for saying the wrong thing. Rather than choosing to start having discussions with humility and kindness and a common goal. It’s satisfying that craving in the moment, rather than saying no for your future self, just turning to relieve every time keeps us in the mindset that that hot cold in our hands, it’s still something to be afraid of.

Relief stops the pain. It gives you instant gratification. It lets you think it solve the problem. But when it includes things like snapping at people, when you actually don’t want to shutting everyone out, instead of working on it, numbing yourself to avoid the situation dumping all of your feelings onto bystanders. I’m raising my hand along with you guys, if anyone else is raising their hands, telling people they need to fix this issue plus all the other side issues this brings up like in marriage, it’s not about the butter. Now it’s about respect. And maybe we’re not even right for one another. We’re taking it all the way to the other side. Now.

None of this will bring you peace. And can you see how these are often all a stress response to fight, flight or freeze that becomes our way of dealing with struggle, they become our favourite coping mechanisms.

So don’t feel bad here. Because if you are someone who seeks relief instead of peace, you’re doing exactly what your brain is wired to do, to seek pleasure, avoid pain and be efficient. So it really makes sense that relief is the best option. And it’s probably gotten you through a lot and helped you cope with a lot in your life. It makes sense. And so often it comes from a stress response. So don’t make yourself feel worse, about already feeling bad.

But maybe now that you can start to see it. You feel this need for something deeper, more mature than relief. Maybe you feel the desire for peace pieces about meeting your long term needs rather than the short term ones. Peace means the discomfort of learning how to be uncomfortable now, so you can have more calm and peace in the future. It also means becoming very present in the moment and getting really clear on what the issue is, what is upsetting me? Why is that upsetting? For me, this is where you gain leverage over the pain that you feel seeing what the pain is telling you.

So to bring it back to the circle back the concept that I was sharing about marriage, it was about a fight I was having in my kitchen with my husband about butter, honey butter to be specific. And he was using this honey butter. And I had asked him not to, I wasn’t gonna share this. But here we go. And I could feel this arising in me that I was, I was having conflict, I was getting frustrated with him. And I knew that if I just approached him and got aggressive with him, maybe like laid it down, that I could have this fight and it would solve my discomfort. But I also knew from years of working on conflict with my husband, that I don’t actually have to be afraid of this conflict. This is not a hot coal anymore. I knew that I was safe here, I knew that I could calm down from my stress response. And I knew that I could talk to him about this later, when I wasn’t really making honey butter, this huge, big issue it didn’t need to be, I could get a little bit more clear on what what the actual story was for me on what needs I needed to meet why this pain was showing up.

What I want you to see here is that peace comes down to trust. Like it really does. And I think that’s the hard part. trusting yourself, trusting the people in the situation trusting God, that whatever decision you make, it’s going to be okay that he’s got a hand in it.

So some times to be aware of and ask yourself is this peace or relief when you’re making a decision on what to do or not do whether that’s in business or a relationship or work decision.

When you’re about to bring up an issue in your relationship. And I don’t mean to never deal with it. I mean, to just give it some breathing space and resolve it from a calm place instead of from a stressed place.

When you’re deciding what to do with your anxiety and stress because we often will turn to immediate gratification rather than are allowing ourselves to go through the process of feeling our feelings in Yeah, feeling our feelings is not fun. But it is very necessary and healthy at moving forward.

When you’re making a parenting decision. And we really go on autopilot with a lot of our parenting making snap decisions. Yes, no, yes, no. But just stopping once in a while and saying what I’m doing right now is this relief? Or is this peace? Is this what I want?

One thing I’ve experienced when I stopped looking for instant relief, when I allow myself to be going through the discomfort of seeking peace, that now I get to experience and practice peace, peace that I believe comes from God, peace that I can find within my own heart. letting yourself override the need for relief opens you up to seeing where a piece can be available to you.

When I coach moms and we set vision on the different areas of their lives. Such a common theme is peace, peace in their home, peace in their space, peace in their work, peace in their parenting, peace in their relationships, peace is something we are naturally seeking. So let’s start to practice peace. Let’s put relief to the side and start to practice stepping into opportunities where we can experience peace and move towards peace. And from there share peace.

I know that this makes me sound like I am some like Zen Mama, I’m not. I’m really not.

People have often told me that I’m a peaceful person. And as I learned about myself over the years, through the enneagram, being a type nine, I realized that a lot of it is on the surface, a lot of it was finding relief in the situation, but not actually finding peace and then just shoving everything else down underneath just sweeping it under the rug. So I’ve worked on bringing that out into the light, and fighting for peace through what feels hard through what feels stressful. And I promise you, it’s there. It is available to you.

If you’re going to take something away from this something to do this week. Just pay attention. You don’t have to change your whole life, but just start to notice the decisions you’re making. Am I seeking peace? Or am I seeking relief? And no shame in what you’re seeking. But just ask yourself is do I want to try a different way? Do I want to move into something different? I don’t want to shame anyone if they’ve relied on relief for a lot of the time. Because I know I’ve had my years especially in motherhood, where relief was was just getting me through the day. So I don’t want to shame you for that. Because I know exactly how it feels to just have something that makes it quiet down and stop for a bit.

But ultimately, I think we’re all called up to pursuing peace and I want to keep that in the back of your mind. That you can inspire yourself with that. And you can take small steps towards that.

If this feels like something bigger than you, but it’s something that you want, and if you’re interested, contact me or email me about a life coaching session, we can do one strategy session, or you can sign up for a six week program with me. And we can work through all of these things, setting vision and values for the nine areas of your life. Getting Started in one of those areas and seeking peace, and any other values you have for that area, becoming a person who is peaceful, becoming a person who is living in line with their values and their vision. I can support you in that I can help you in that.

And I just want to remind all you moms out there who now that Thanksgiving has come maybe gone that you have Christmas on the brain. I don’t know if you’ve started Christmas shopping yet or making any Christmas plans. But I do have the planner that can help you with everything. From mindsets to gift lists to budgets to planning out week by week, I’ve got the simple Christmas planner, it’s available on the website at simple on purpose.ca. Stop by and pick yourself up a copy because if you get one copy, you can use it forever, year after year after year. And like it’s $11 Canadian, which come on American friends. This is good for you. All right. So I hope that you grab that it will help you have an intentional Christmas.

And at any time if you want to contact me. You can find me in the Facebook group, the simple on purpose community group. This month we’ve been talking all about gratitude. What gratitude is, or gratitude is not we’ve been talking about scarcity mindset, coping with negative emotions, complaining and venting and now we’re moving into how to be grateful and how to rewire our brain for gratitude. If that’s something you’re interested in, join us in the Facebook group. It’s been a pleasure. Have a great week.

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