A client texted me, “I get so frustrated / disappointed when I’m hit with waves of sadness or anger. I have this belief that if I was doing my inner work “right,” I wouldn’t be experiencing those big waves of emotion.”

We think there’s a point where we should be “done” with our inner work.

The myth goes like this:

“I’m flawed. Okay, I see that so I’ll do a bunch of work on myself to fix it. There, now I spent that time and did some hard stuff, so I should be all good, right?”

Some time passes…

“Oh no, why do I feel terribly sad? This wasn’t supposed to ever happen again! What am I doing wrong?!

We want to believe that getting to a good state of being is permanent. But that’s kind of like owning a home or a car and thinking it will always function perfectly without any maintenance.


image of a car pulled over to the side of the road and smoke coming out of the front


In reality, everything needs ongoing work to keep in good health, whether it’s your home, your car, your body, or your mind and heart. And when we are trying to heal trauma and teach the nervous system how to be more calm, it’s definitely a gradual dance of improvement.

If you can start to see that personal growth is a dance, not a linear march, you develop more tolerance for the variation of good feelings and hard feelings. Not the commonly cited “one step forward, two steps back,” though. More like “a couple steps forward, then rock back and twist.”


gif of a basketball referee dancing on the court using lots of footwork and body twisting

So, you’re saying that having these waves of emotions is totally normal?

Yes! When you’re feeling like you’re broken, or doing it wrong, or like it’s all too exhausting, remember all the steps you’ve taken. Know that you’ve built inner strength through the struggles you’ve tackled and won.

Also, feelings are not facts. They are just emotions to breathe through and acknowledge that they exist. It’s okay to REST in the rock back of your dance step and wait for the music of life to lift you up again.

When you stop believing that you’re going to reach “done,” you’re going to see that you’ve progressed so much more than you realized. It’s beyond time to celebrate your wins, now and every day moving forward.

If you need support in putting your personal growth work into daily practice, you can now get a free chat with me on Wednesdays between 10am and 12pm. I can help you figure out a plan to start actually DOING what you’ve been promising yourself to do. Find out more here. 

Rock back, twist, and groove.

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