Feeling Out of Sorts (Plus FREE Boundaries Download)

This blog is hard to write today. I feel out of sorts. Unfortunately, because I’ve committed to doing courageous work everyday, I’m trying really hard to “feel” my way through it vs. numbing it. So I’m trying to practice what I preach and well…that’s shitty.

Feeling your way through something is WAY harder than just glossing over it and forcing a smile. It’s hard to articulate what I’m feeling and not numbing is completely foreign and unnatural for me. Just naming the emotions is difficult. Am I sad? Am I frustrated? Am I hurt? Am I depressed? I don’t even know really. Guys – I literally pulled up a Feeling Wheel visual and a dictionary to see if I could sort my feelings out. Based on the atlas that is my psyche – I’m visiting the SadMad District of my emotions today and I’m lost somewhere between Distant Ave. and Inferior Lane. This neighborhood feels a little familiar. Clearly, I’ve visited here before.

Let me be very real with you for a minute though, this is the very first time I’ve actually stopped to look at the landscape. Until today, I believed it was a sketchy or bad place – a place I should avoid. It was uncomfortable place. But the brave steps I’m taking require me to open my eyes to see it so I can experience it. I been told (or shown) my whole life that to be ‘normal or good’ you needed to find the quickest way out of this scary place because it’s not safe. I listened to those warnings, and I know all the shortcuts.

My shortcut of choice is the one that takes me directly to Camp Cheetos where me and my orange fingers can quickly be swept away by the steady stream of Social Media. Although this route gets me out of the SadMad District in no time flat, it requires an indefinite stay in SoLo – which is sometimes called the Brow Beating District.

But by just opening my eyes and walking these tough streets, I’m not feeling so afraid today. It does feel new and uncomfortable, but I’m not in danger. I can see that my attempts to be ‘normal or good’ by getting out of here quickly in the past didn’t venture out of the the familiar parts of my brain, to explore places like:

Literally, just by feeling my way through with self-compassion and getting it out of my head writing this little update, I feel better. I feel confident, and to be honest, a little surprised. Just an hour ago, I was all up in my head that I would not be able to put out a blog feeling like this…and guess what. I just did.

And I know these experiences and the pain and process of working through them are worth it because they are building my resilience. Resilience is that bounce-back strength needed to tackle hard things. Resilience makes us better equipped to face life when we are surprised with big and terrifying things that weave through our brutiful lives. The things most of us just worry about. Let’s use the energy it takes to worry and numb pain to face it and work through it together. Let’s compound courage together so we are ready with resilience when we need it. Here are a few tips to get you started:


Identify what you’re feeling. We are more than good or bad. So are our kids and family members – use a feeling wheel to help identify what you are feeling and use it to help them too. Feeling Wheel link


Write stuff out – get the crap out of your head! I have journaled three times today and you should see the first entry compared to this thoughtful post. Here’s a quick glimpse of what transpired in three quick overviews:

Journal Entry #1: I hate everyone – They all suck. Oh my god, I deserve better than this!

Journal Entry #2: I hate myself – I’m the worst. I’m a garbage human being.

Journal Entry #3: I feel alone and inferior. That’s okay. Feelings are okay. Human beings have feelings. You are a human being. OMG – how fucking lucky and am I that I get to experience life as a human being? Holy shit, when I focus on how grateful I am be a human being I don’t feel so alone & inadequate.


Learn from the brave wilderness dwellers like Brene Brown. Here what she says about courage. “Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences – good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as “ordinary courage.”

Be brave,


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Julie Stephenson

Julie is one of the founders of Compounding Courage, a company that provides personal growth and leadership development programs. CLICK HERE to learn more.