Getting comfortable being uncomfortable
We often avoid uncomfortable situations and experiences, but it doesn’t work as a long-term strategy. We will (routinely if we’re able to be vulnerable, or eventually if we’re not), have the opportunity to face what we have been avoiding. If and when we do, we will have the opportunity to learn and grow. If we run away from the challenge, we will fall down, inevitably.
Significant change is always felt personally and is often deeply unsettling, for example:
- we might realise that by avoiding a difficult conversation we have unwittingly created further problems which have spun out of control
- we might admit that we have taken part in something immoral or ugly that we haven’t wanted to honestly acknowledge to ourselves
- we might have expected life to be fair and just and that people behave reasonably, and aren't ready to let this expectation go and accept the ruthless and brutal way people (and us as well) sometimes behave
- we might come to realise that our fear of dis-empowerment, failure or weakness has underpinned an exaggerated confidence, or a need to be powerful and in control, and we might become more aware over time that this strategy has left a trail of casualties, limited opportunities, and lost connections.
- we might realise that our happiness and fulfilment will increasingly come from serving something greater than our personal interests
The acknowledgement of painful emotional truths, requires the tolerance of feelings we’ve been avoiding, sometimes for many years (it is understandably a tall order). However, facing our fears and dealing with such issues enables us grow. We will become more mature and self-aware, wise and compassionate, and with more mature attitudes, new ways to live will become apparent to us.
When there is a reality that doesn’t conform with our sense of ourselves or the way we expect the world to operate, we try to avoid it and yet we suffer anyway. If we stop avoiding the feelings that frighten us, then we grow through the difficulty.
When what was avoided in ourselves has been unpacked and understood, we’ll discover that we’ve changed.