How Being Uncomfortable Pushes You to Grow
It took so long for me to recognize the feeling of being uncomfortable. I know that sounds dumb. And I don’t mean that I didn’t know what the feeling felt like, but more so that as it came I would immediately retreat into an action or behavior that would help me try to bypass the feeling of being uncomfortable altogether. Maybe that sounds totally normal? As I have come to learn, it isn’t. Or at least, it shouldn’t be. No one likes feeling uncomfortable. Most of the time its there to tell us something is wrong and to stop doing or being around whatever it is that is making us feel that way, or death will be upon us. I mean, obviously you are not going to die from sitting and feeling all of your feelings, though it can for sure feel that way.
So this is what I have pretty much always done and not even realized it. As soon as something would be too difficult or I failed or something didn’t work out the way that I had hoped or wanted, I would dive into the destructive art of avoidance. I would use food to comfort me, I would beat myself up and tell myself I don’t know why I even thought I could do something like that and that I should never try again so that I can always stay in a soft fluffy place of never failing or looking stupid. And that alone is so stupid.
I have been working with my therapist for about two years now (normalize mental health y’all) and it has been the most incredible and exhausting adventure of figuring out why I am the way I am. Yes I suffered sexual abuse as a child, yes my mother passed away when I was three, yes I was abused by nannies… Those experiences are obviously traumatic and would fuck anyone up. But because that all happened when I was so young, I didn’t really have the emotional capability to cope or process these traumatic events. So on I continued with a life of not truly feeling my feelings, avoiding them when they did come up, and eventually continuing the cycle of abuse by treating those that I loved with little regard to their feelings. Its a horrible cycle and one that is so hard to break. Step one, recognize it. Step two through one hundred, work through it. This is how being uncomfortable pushes you to grow.
I was standing in my house one day, because that’s a thing that I do, I stand and stare and move from room to room looking at things and taking them in and pondering whatever it is running through my mind. Its when I do my best thinking. Don’t judge me. So, there I was standing and staring and wandering inanely from room to room, and suddenly my chest got tight and I had the urge to go to the kitchen and look in the pantry or the fridge for something to snack and chew and consume for some instant gratification to make me feel better. And I realized then that that is what I have always done to avoid exploring the deep and difficult thoughts that come up.
When something tough is going on and it starts to really hit me, I get squirmy and uncomfortable and I want to crawl out of my skin. Anything to get away from feeling those things. And that’s exactly what you have to recognize. When something hits you, makes your chest feel tight or your skin crawl, just sit with it for a minute. I know it might make you feel like you can’t breathe or that you need to consume a bag of chips, but don’t. Just, sit. Wait it out. Give it a few minutes. If you can’t make it a few minutes, count to twenty. Just start somewhere. Not getting up to go do something the moment you feel a wave hit you, that’s the hardest part. You don’t even have to work through it right then, just feel it.
Being uncomfortable is when you are pushing your boundaries. Pushing past doing what you’ve always done, or not done. Its putting yourself out there, making yourself heard, no matter how hard it is. There will be failures, but you will survive. The first step I had to take of putting myself out there, was to be honest with myself. I knew if I couldn’t do that then I wouldn’t get anywhere. Boom, growing.
Something I’m working on to help me start recognizing when I am avoiding: When a feeling shows up suddenly, can you pinpoint where it came from? Did something just happen, a thought, an action, that triggered the feelings to hit you? This, I have found, takes a lot of work. Or at least, for me it does. Every day I am working on it. Good news, it does get easier.
What can you do to help yourself recognize the thought or action that is making you uncomfortable? Let us know in the comments!
You can also check out this writing prompts freebie to learn how to rewire your mindset!