Being Comfortable with Discomfort

We like things to feel right; our innate need for feeling safe likes neutrality, homeostasis, the feeling that all is right in the world.  But we also have a system that is built to survive; our instincts help to decipher threat.

When our comfort system is threatened, we often struggle with the discomfort that brings. We want the feeling to immediately go away, and when it doesn’t, our anxiety rises and we begin to feel out of control. As a result, we will try and return to homeostasis – sometimes we can do this in a healthy way; other times we return to familiar habits, behaviours or relationships that may not be so healthy, but work to ease the discomfort, albeit temporarily.

The process of grief brings us discomfort, so can loss of a relationship or job. Boundary setting brings with it unease, as does worry. Quitting an addictive substance, learning a new way of being, coping with changes that happen in the world – all examples of discomfort.

And yet, discomfort helps us grow. Through unease, we learn valuable information about ourselves in our quest for creating a satisfying and content life. Recognizing that discomfort is a part of the process is a first step in being able to navigate stormy seas. In being about to set the sails in the right direction and ride out the storm.

Getting to shore requires patience, determination, and curiosity; it is the process of being comfortable with discomfort, leaning into the underlying belief that “No matter what I will be okay.”

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