Making Friends with Discomfort

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I’d planned on today being the start of a new blog series on intuitive eating.

But as I learned in the past week, the Universe had other plans. When the Universe shows up with another plan, you make adjustments. I’ve learned the hard way that if you don’t listen up the first time, the Universe doesn’t just stop nudging you. The Universe will get a lot louder in order for you to start picking up what it is putting down. Like the saying goes: listen to the whispers before they become screams.

Why I am talking about discomfort again

If you’ve been reading along with me here for some time, you may remember I’ve discussed discomfort before in another blog. In my opinion, discomfort cannot be examined too much! I may not write about it every single week, but I am constantly dealing with discomfort in my own life. Why is that? Because personal growth causes discomfort. Stepping out of your known -your comfort zone- into an unknown is uncomfortable. This past July (is that all it’s been!?) after years of just wishing, I made the decision to bet on myself and start a freelance business for real. Anytime you make a decision that big, all kinds of discomfort is going to bubble up inside you. I’ve found that the reason for this is two-fold.

Because you show up differently

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The first reason a major decision can cause discomfort is that you show up differently when you make a decision. You took the first step in the process of creating a new reality. Decisions happen when you were faced with a choice between multiple options, and you chose one over the others. Your reality moving forward is going to take form based on the choice you made. You are naturally going to show up differently as a human based on that decision. Which brings us to the second part…

Something even bigger (and a little scarier)

The second part of decisions leading to discomfort is a big one. The second reason decisions cause discomfort is that in order to create your new reality… you are also creating a new identity. I know – whaaat? Yes. Let it sink in. The old you created the old reality, so it absolutely stands to reason that a new version of you is required to create this new reality. If you’ve decided to do something you’ve never done before, the only way to do it is by becoming someone you’ve never been before. I can attest to this because I am living it right. now.

The struggle is real

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It’s scary as hell to be immersed in true discomfort, especially if it’s been a while. Immersion was the case for me back in July when I decided to pursue my freelance coaching and writing business, and discomfort has come up on a regular basis ever since. It can be a real struggle to wrap your mind around being present with your discomfort instead of escaping it by any means necessary. But the only way to make that discomfort mean something is to learn from it.

My recent discomfort

This past week I recognized discomfort’s approach like a storm. I had to consciously decide and re-decide each day that I would not try to squirm away from it. It. Was. Hard. But I let the discomfort come and sat with it as long as needed. I knew from past experience that discomfort meant I would have to give myself permission to feel my feelings. Fully feeling the spectrum of emotions is exhausting for an HSP since we process things very slowly and on a very deep level, but that can’t be an excuse to avoid discomfort. Discomfort is there for a reason. In order to learn from discomfort, you have to feel it. There’s no way around except through.

What can be done about discomfort

Feel it.

This cannot be overstated, my friend: the only way to manage discomfort is by going through it, not avoiding it. It isn’t easy, but it is so rewarding when you discover the reason behind the reason behind the reason for your discomfort (because our brain likes to hide those things from us in a really hard-to-reach place). Here is the silver lining: there are ways we can manage our thoughts while digging through discomfort. It can help so much to have a plan of action ready when you feel discomfort creeping into your mind. Here are some of my action steps for when discomfort’s wave crashes over me:

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  • Identify it. Recall times in the past when you’ve felt discomfort’s effects and realize this is what you are feeling now. If you’ve truly never felt discomfort before, it feels something like “Mmm nope I don’t like this- how do I make it stop?” Discomfort may feel intense when you’re in its throes, but it isn’t life or death. You will survive it and learn something amazing about yourself in the process.
  • Give yourself permission to be uncomfortable. Often times when we feel discomfort, we think it is that we have done something wrong and discomfort is the result, so we need to change what we’ve been doing. Hard stop. Who said life needed to feel good all the time in order to live a good human existence? It’s impossible to feel good all the time. Only when I learned to allow myself to feel uncomfortable without judgment did I find the lessons to be learned from discomfort.

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  • Journal. Discomfort is all an inner conflict because discomfort is only caused by one thing – our thoughts. In order to sort out my thoughts, I have to know exactly what they are, and journaling helps me get to the true root of what I am thinking and where my uncomfortable thoughts are coming from.

After discomfort passes

Have you noticed the patterns of discomfort in your own life? Do they stem from big life decisions? What else do they stem from? Tell me I’m not the only one still mindblown by that bit about your new reality requiring a new version of yourself!

4 Comments

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  1. Hi Kacey, loved this. I don’t think you can talk about discomfort too much! 🙂 We’ve all experienced it, are currently living with it or, more often than not, have spent far too long trying to run away from it. I love that you walk through the stages of discomfort (leading up to, during and after) because I’m willing to bet each one of your readers can relate. I certainly can. It just shows that none of us should feel alone. And by identifying the feeling, sitting in it, and even being grateful for what we’re meant to learn from it — in a way we’re taking back our power and we can come out the other side stronger and more resilient. Thank you for another thought-provoking post, Kacey. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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