Get comfortable with discomfort.
A few year’s ago I would have rolled my eyes at this saying that OBVIOUSLY does not apply to me. Now, this saying is like a daily reminder about how I want the live life
A few years ago it hit me that I was living my life on auto.
I was complacent in my health, my relationships, my parenting, my home, in everything.
I just let life happen to me. Then I complained about how crappy it was.
Why was I stuck on autopilot?
One part was that I never opened my eyes to my right/responsibility to be the guide of my life. The other major part was because it was familiar, it was comfortable.
The Cost Of Autopiloting Living.
When we are on autopilot we are asleep to where we have control in our lives and how we can use this control to build up the last few we want to live.
When we live by default we will spend our daily life in a cycle of avoiding pain and seeking pleasure. It is the easiest way to get through the day.
We are making decisions to stay comfortable, but in this comfort, we are also not really pursuing the life that we crave, the thing that would be fruitful in our lives. We aren’t taking action that we feel deeply proud of. We are just getting through the day
And so, we aren’t doing to much to feel deep satisfaction with.
We Aren’t Feeling Happy.
And here is where we have let ourselves down, we think that it is normal to always be happy. Therefore something is wrong with us if we are unhappy (or even worse when those around us are unhappy)
Then we feel unhappy about being unhappy (we double down on unhappiness.) At this point, most of us turn to little ways to make ourselves feel better and avoid feeling the ick. Usually, we turn to the nearest available indulgence, an easy hit. We turn to social media, food, drink, complaining judging, and shopping.
I don’t say this to point fingers. I say this because I live this way too.
What do we turn to, to make us feel better and more comfortable! It’s serving us? Is it life-giving or. Ultimately, making our life harder?
We might be choosing ways to seek comfort that are actually making us more uncomfortable in the long run. Habits, addiction, steam eating the pantry at nap time, pulling away from others.
These things do not make our lives better, they usually make them harder.
Living a life that fulfills us, feels authentic, feels life-giving is an uncomfortable thing to get. In my experience, it is uncomfortable to muster up bravery, to make hard decisions, to operate commitment rather than comfort, and to do the hard work rather than look for the easy way out.
But as we go through the motions. What we learn is that avoiding discomfort keeps us stuck which can sometimes be a lot more painful than experiencing the discomfort itself.
What happens When We Keep Avoiding The Discomfort Of Showing Up For Our Life?
We tune out our emotional self and loss touch with how we are feeling and why ( then we wonder why others tune us out.)
We develop a very low tolerance for negative emotions in ourselves and those around us. And raise emotionally intelligent children.)
We start to rely on these false pleasures to help us numb out our negative feelings (which might lead us to addictive or habits we feel shame over.
We spend a lot of energy avoiding negative feelings and it burns us out (which makes us feel even crappier.)
We just stop showing up for our life because it isn’t happy and then we are bummed out that our life isn’t what we wanted it to be (What is the life you want?)
Over the last few years, I’ve been practicing being uncomfortable. I wanted to live an actual life as it was, negative and uncomfortable feelings and all-rather than coast on comfortable
It sucks. It sucks realizing the things that make me uncomfortable. Try this, make a list of the things that you’ve tried to avoid or flat out avoided because they made you feel uncomfortable. Things you avoid in parenting, in relationships, in your health, in your heart, in your home.
I made this list and it was awful to be honest but also, so eye-opening to the life I was avoiding.
It also plain sucks sitting with this discomfort. Just letting it be there without reacting to it (stress and negative self-talk) or distracting from it ( give me all the sugar and quick fixes.) When this discomfort shows up in my brain instantly spazzes into a fury of wines and doubts about it because it just wants to do what it has always done; stay comfortable and avoid pain.
Before I started looking for ways to let myself sit with the discomfort I would have thought this clinched saying “get comfortable with discomfort was only for hustling mega-prenuers or professional volleyball players. No, it is for everyone because everyday life is uncomfortable.
When someone disagrees with you (like my husband is allowed to think whatever he wants and doesn’t have to agree with me
When you’re alone at home and you feel restless or lonely.
When you’re frustrated but can’t quite put your finger on it so you start looking for reasons to be mad at life.
When you’re talking to someone and you aren’t sure if they like you or dislike your if you’re in your own head and reading into everything (can I ever just assume the best? What is that about?)
When your children have been crying/ whining/fighting and it’s 5:00 pm and you are mentally exhausted (every day) and you want to punch the clock on parenting and just make the tension go away.
As I said, this is gross and humbling. This is the work of living life on purpose, of being intentional, of making a change – this is the work people don’t often share because it isn’t glamorous and self-promoting
But what is this telling us? See where the light shines through the cracks? On relationships, on living a passionate life, on being responsible for your own feelings, on showing up in your life, your work, your marriage, your motherhood. The hard and life-giving work of experiencing life.