10 Ways to Embrace Discomfort
What does it mean to have comfort in the discomfort? To be comfortable in an uncomfortable situation or environment? To be in the unknown is terrifying to many, and they have a right to be so. Our mind tells us to stop and return to where it is safe, where things are known and comfortable. But how do we grow if everything is known? How would we know what we like if we don’t venture out and try it? It is not an easy task to be comfortable in any discomfort. Some people already do it naturally, but for many others, it has to be learned.
Difference Between Being Uncomfortable and Being Scared
Being uncomfortable means, you are slightly worried or embraced, not relaxed or confident; a feeling of uneasy or awkwardness, unfamiliar and unpredictable.1
The definition of being scared is in a state of fear, fright, or panic. 2
Being uncomfortable can be REALLY scary. The question is, will you let that fear hold you back from something new and exciting?
Importance of Being Uncomfortable for Personal Growth
Here’s a conversation I had with a friend of mine.
Friend: My job is so draining, and I do not enjoy my work. I want to quit and find something else.
Me: Well, why don’t you? There’s no reason to stay somewhere you don’t like and don’t see a future.
Friend: Ahhhh, I don’t know. This would mean I would have to apply and have interviews.
Me: But you don’t like your job, right? You’re smart and can do pretty much anything you put your mind to. Why stay?
Friend: Because I know what I am doing when I come into work, I don’t have to try to do something I don’t know anything about.
This conversation with my friend was an eye-opener because it made me realize that people in this world would stay at a job they do not enjoy just because it is familiar. I learned in this conversation that she was not taught that way. Her parents have been with the same companies, so she thought she had to do the same.
So, putting that in the perspective of healing mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, would you take that next step into the unknown or stay where you are because it is what you have known all your life?
10 Ways to Embrace Discomfort
Learning to be comfortable in the unknown is hard, but it can be taught. It is a slow learning process, and you must remember that each step you take is closer to embracing change.
Step 1: Acknowledge the Feeling
Acknowledging the feeling is always the first step. To be able to say that you are uncomfortable is power in itself because you recognize that a situation is making you uncomfortable and accept your feelings. It is okay to feel your feelings; they are there for a reason.
Step 2: Identify the Feeling
Once acknowledging the feeling, it is time to put a name to it and the source. There is power in a name, and once you can say the name of the feeling, it will no longer have control over you. Then find the source. What is making you feel this way? In my friend’s case, it made her feel disloyal to leave her job, and she thought she should be thankful to be hired there and put up with the nonsense.
Step 3: Practice Staying Grounded
It can feel overwhelming or even nauseating when you start going down this path. Well, at least it did for me. When you start uncovering the emotions and the reasoning behind them and why you should start changing. It can feel like your whole world is flipping around. Practicing to stay grounded and in the present moment can help you catch your breath and remind you that everything is okay. Meditation 3 or walking outside 4 are good easy ways to stay present and grounded.
Step 4: Visualization
A way to help you stay calm during this process is to visualize a safe and relaxed place. Somewhere you can feel at peace in turmoil—the eye of the storm. My place is in a sunny field, lying in the grass.
Step 5: Take a Break
Taking a break is VERY important. Being too hard on yourself can hurt you more in this journey. You must be kind to yourself and recognize that it will take time. Rome was not built in a day! And you definitely cannot heal yourself in one. Taking a break from whatever is causing Discomfort can give you time to regroup and find the inner strength to continue on that path.
Step 6: Discomfort is Temporary
The feeling of Discomfort is temporary. All emotions are fleeting. And it is essential to realize that. The state of Discomfort will pass as time moves on.
Step 7: Reframe the Experience
Thinking of the experience of Discomfort can make us want to crawl back into our shells. Try to change the perspective of the experience to something of growth and learning. In my friend’s case, instead of feeling disloyal to her job, she feels loyal to herself to want to go somewhere that would make her happy.
Step 8: Reach Out for Support
Asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of. Talk to a friend, family member, or a mental health professional about your feelings. Getting an outside view can help us learn more about ourselves and receive advice on the situation.
Step 9: Challenge Yourself
Once grounded and have the strength to do so, take on a challenge. Do something that you usually wouldn’t do. And start small. If you don’t like trying new foods, try something new. I did not like being anywhere alone. So, I took myself out on a lunch date.
Step 10: Celebrate Success
No matter how small it is, congratulate all of your successes, from trying new foods to putting yourself out there to start your own business. Give yourself credit for taking on the challenge.
My Discomfort Story
My spiritual journey has been full of unlearning and relearning information and experiences. Acknowledging that I felt unhappy and unfulfilled with what I was doing with my life, just floating through with no real purpose—playing the victim in trauma and sitting with it, thinking that it was expected, to now actively healing myself and reframing all those traumas as lessons. Realizing that without those experiences, I would be the person I am today. And I am a strong and resilient person. My journey has led me to this path of realizing my purpose is to help others on their life journey, which is what makes my life whole.