“So what?” This is the question my coach asked me recently after I shared with her how hurt I was about something my husband said to me. At first, I was a little miffed because I didn’t feel exactly supported. And after I quickly got over it, I thought, “Yeah, so what?”
From So What to Now What?
How I decided to interpret my coach’s question was, “OK, your feelings were hurt. You are present to that. Now, what are you going to do about it?” She wasn’t being unfeeling or uncaring. She was prompting me to move through my emotion without staying attached to it, and decide what, if anything, I was going to do about it? And it completely defused my feeling, shifted my perspective and got me focused on what I wanted.
When we get stuck and hold on to an emotion, it’s often because we think we’re right (or that we have been wronged). We hold on tightly to our rightness and our pain. And if we let go of being right and focus instead on what we want, we can move through the emotion and move on. We can choose being in relationship versus being right.
My coach could have said something supportive like “I’m so sorry. I can see why that made you feel bad.” And I would have stayed right where I was, righteously dwelling on my hurt, giving it more energy. And staying stuck. My focus would have stayed on myself and my hurt instead of on my goal of having a great relationship with one of the most important people in my life.
Moving Through Stuck
It is easy for all of us to get stuck in an emotion around a conflict. It is as if that emotion is the period on the sentence, punctuating the experience with a finality that doesn’t exist. “I felt hurt. The end.” The somewhat provocative “So what?” creates an invitation for movement.
What conflict in your life do you want to move through? How can you use “So what?” to create the positive forward movement that your inner light so craves?
BTW, I ultimately decided to tell my husband that I felt hurt by what he said. (duh!) And we had a meaningful dialogue about it and have pledged to communicate better. What’s more, I feel better. I’m no longer holding on to that hurt and feel grateful to have the loving husband I have. What are you holding on to?
Alison Whitmire is a Principal with C-lever Biz. She is a coach to CEOs and entrepreneurs, an organizer and curator of TEDxRockCreekPark and has a passion for helping people discover their “Why” and how to align their companies to it. She provides thoughtful content to CEO roundtables each month to help them become better members for each other and better leaders for themselves.