What Rhymes with Spit?
Take another guess. Grit rhymes with spit along with your first choice. I have grit when I spit. Grit is defined, as a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual's perseverance of effort combined with the passion for a particular long-term goal or end state. I run to be physically healthier, therefore I have grit. I do hard in relationships to be mentally healthier, therefore I have grit. On my morning run my brain usually starts to write a blog of some sort, this morning was no different. If you didn’t know I run, please check out the early blog into my running journey, https://havenscounseling.com/blogs/havens-blog/i-do-hard-things. Sometimes it makes it to the website (https://havenscounseling.com/) or Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/havenscounseling/), but more often than not I have forgotten all about it by the time I get back home. I still don’t really enjoy running, but I don’t detest it like I did when I began at the “Wow, I ran a mile straight without throwing up” stage. So why did I start this blog talking about spit, because sometimes my run is so hard, I have to spit. Yep, just being real. I used to think it was gross, but I have reframed it. Therapist are good at this. Reframing is a fancy word for spinning it. Spitting shows I am doing something that requires perseverance of effort, which means I have grit. Spit helps me be accountable. If I could carry on a conversation during my 4-mile run, it would mean it was a lot easier than a 5-spit run. I also use an app on my phone to keep me accountable. It tells me my distance and my pace. Without a way to prove my word as true, I could lie and tell you I run marathons. Accountability helps keep us honest. If you have been betrayed in a relationship, without accountability trust will almost be impossible to rebuild. If I ran with someone, they could be my accountability partner. But, I am a solo runner, which is best since my aim is not so good.
When I run, I notice how my body feels. Sometimes it is sluggish, sometimes I it is light. I also notice if I slightly adjust how I move my arms, I actually move faster. If I position my feet differently my body doesn’t hurt so much. When we do this throughout our life we have better results. When we change one small thing in how we communicate and interact with people, we connect on a deeper level. For example, if you are an eye roller and stop looking up and down, the conversation may last longer. If it is difficult to make eye contact when you speak to someone, stay in the uncomfortable and look at them while speaking, the topic may go deeper. A very common occurrence in my office when a client is speaking to me, is my interrupting and asking, “your breathing changed, your foot is shaking, I saw emotion, what is your body saying?” I want the client to bring me in to his or her experience. By noticing how are body is responding to an experience, we take the experience deeper. When I can journey alongside my client, we share a connection. Undoing aloneness is an intimacy we all long for.
I also notice when I run, the music I listen to affects how I behave. I was running with a partner a few months ago and when a certain song came on, my feet started moving faster and there was dust flying. That is how it felt to me. What we hear affects how we behave. If I don’t like the song on my station, I change it, or I put my focus elsewhere because it is hard to hold a phone while I am moving so fast. Ha ha. Just like during a conversation, if what is coming into our ears is hurtful and causes us to want to react in a way that has a negative effect, change the channel. Put boundaries in place so you are emotionally in control. As I say in my office, cut the tree limb that is in your yard. You are 100% responsible for the health of your yard. If my neighbor (my partner) has a tree that is verbally abusive and drops anger and negativity that begins to turn my grass brown, I must take care of the limb on my property. Boundaries are like a slated fence, good comes in, bad stays out. You are the gate keeper of your yard. When words fly into your yard, get curious, is there truth in the words or are they a lie. I get to decide. Evaluating what others say about you shows the health of your yard. When we swallow the words or dismiss quickly, we may be missing out on needed truth.
The temperature affects me as well. If I wait till after 9 am, I run slower. The outside temperature holds me accountable. It tells me I spent too much time in bed or drinking coffee, I am out of my routine. Tension and disconnect are a temperature we feel in relationships which can cause us to behave differently. The behavior may be to pursue or use a withdraw action. When we let things go unresolved and do not repair, the relationship may become sluggish and feel heavy. Just like in bed, eyes closed, not paying attention. It is not comfortable to get up early and run, it is also uncomfortable to not fit in a pair of jeans the way I want to. So, I choose which uncomfortableness I want in my life. Choose to do the hard thing and spit, have some grit, get in the uncomfortable and work it out. The comfortable will come usually a moment before the next uncomfortable. It does not come when we do not do hard things, complacency comes. Settling, familiar, “it’s ust the way it is”. Life is hard. If anyone tells you it is easy, ask them where the key to their “I don’t give a bleep (rhymes with spit)” dumpster is because it stinks to high heaven and needs some airing out. When they remove the mask, they might just get a whiff. We all know this. Life can also be amazing. My runs are hard, but they can feel wonderful when I am done. I feel like I accomplished something hard, because my spits, my apps, my body tells me I did. I feel stronger, healthier and sometimes even fierce. You can feel this way too when you do hard things in life. Whether it is a run, setting boundaries, having hard conversations. If you feel weak, fragile, or like a victim, pick one thing that would be hard and do it. Notice how your body feels, can you stay at it a little longer? Go ahead spit, say your first rhyming word if you need to, even yell “I got grit” as you spit. Wipe the dribble off your chin, it will happen if you speak while you spit, and keep placing one foot in front of the other. Bring your elbows back a little further and watch your body adjust. Breathe. You got this. You are amazing.
If you are a client reading this and at the end of our session I get up a little slower than usual, please ask me how many spits my morning run was. Encouragement from my clients who all do hard things is very motivating.
Elizabeth Havens, LMFT