How long does it take for something that touched your heart to really hit you?

For me, it’s almost always time-delayed by at least three or four days. Sometimes it’s three or four months.

It’s not that I don’t feel whatever I went through as it happened. It’s just that the impact often doesn’t sink in right away.

Sometimes it can take years. While I was facilitating with a colleague in Costa Rica in February, the weight of 2015 and early 2016 finally hit me.

There are times when I’m frustrated that it can take so long for something to make that deep impact because I know that until it does, I can’t really work my way through it and let it go. It’s in there, often weighing me down in ways I’m not aware of, but when I become aware of it, it makes sense of my energy and decisions. At the same time, I’m also grateful for how the automatic time-delay has helped me stay standing, on-mission, and resilient throughout all of these years.

I’m bringing this up not to suggest that you work on changing your time-delay one way or the other, but so that you become more aware of what your time-delay is. Frustration/shame/anxiety spirals can often be triggered because we’re frustrated, ashamed, and anxious about the frustration, shame, and anxiety we’re feeling. All too often, what we’re feeling now may actually be something that happened to us three days ago that’s just now affecting us, compounded with something that we’re feeling in this moment.

So, if you’re reaching a point of emotional overwhelm, reflect on what’s happened to you over the last few days (or maybe months) to see if something is just now hitting you. It can be something relatively “minor” and unrelated to what you’re experiencing now. See if there’s way to sit with what happened then so you can move with and through it — or at least not compound it with what’s happening now.

Questions for reflection:

  • How long does it take things to really hit you?
  • Is there something that happened in the last few days, weeks, or months that’s finally hit you and is adding to what you’re currently experiencing?
  • What do you need to sit with that’s finally coming up for you full force?

And, if you’re already on a spiral, I hope seeing that something is just now hitting you helps curb the worst of it. Seeing it may provide just enough release that you can anchor yourself again.

Originally published at


  • Charlie Gilkey

    Author, Speaker, Business Strategist, Coach

    Charlie Gilkey helps people start finish the stuff that matters. He's the founder of Productive Flourishing, author of the forthcoming Start Finishing and The Small Business Lifecycle, and host of the Productive Flourishing podcast. Prior to starting Productive Flourishing, Charlie was a Joint Force Military Logistics Coordinator while simultaneously pursuing a PhD in Philosophy. He lives with his wife, Angela, in Portland, Oregon.