I Bought Anbesol To NUMB The Pain

I Bought Anbesol To NUMB The Pain

I just got braces. They’re the invisible kind that fit over my teeth, and they’re also a constant foreign object in my mouth.

I got them the day before we started a 3-day class. (I probably should have thought that through better, however, there is no benefit in “shoulding” on myself.)

It was a class that required me to talk. A LOT. By the end of day one my gums were torn up and on fire. Since it wasn’t feasible for me to stop talking for the next two days of class, I asked one of the staff to run out and buy something to numb the pain. He did, and it got me through. Kind of. I ended up using almost 10 times the recommended amount because it would only numb my pain for a few minutes, and instead of applying it the suggested four times per day, it was closer to 40.

I’m still here, so all is good. I had an outcome to get to and the class was amazing!

It got me thinking, though, while reading Brené Brown’s latest book Dare to Lead. In the book, she talks about numbing. While temporarily numbing the mouth pain makes sense, where are we, or where am I, numbing emotions?

I believe we all numb ourselves at times in our lives to escape feeling emotions we want to avoid. It could be that you numb with work, food, social media, Netflix, video games, alcohol, gambling, porn, or shopping, just to name a few. It may be one of those, or it may be several.

We do it to take the edge off when things get too intense. If we do it compulsively, and all the time, then it’s addiction. And while numbing doesn’t necessarily have the same consequences as addiction, it is important we address it because it impacts our lives on a broader scale. As Brené tells us “We cannot selectively numb emotions. When we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.” By limiting the discomfort, we also limit our capacity to feel good. To feel joy.

What would be possible if, instead of numbing, we leaned into the discomfort, felt the emotion, identified the story we were telling ourselves and then wrote a new positive story? A story that focuses on our outcomes. One that benefits us and our families and teams.

I understand that part of us that wants to run and hide. I really do. My numbing agent of choice has always been food, up until now. However, I’ve rewritten that story. Now on my fridge are post-it notes that give me permission to feel the emotion, respect my body and remind me to ask what else is possible.

Feel what’s real and choose you! You are worth it!

Choose JOY!


What’s happening in your life that is causing you to numb? What would you like to happen in your life that just hasn’t happened yet? If you are ready to look at the answers to these questions, let’s set up a call and explore. It’s free. Email me at barb@high5leadership.com to set it up!

High5 Choices lead to High5 Moments to create your High5 Life!