While no one likes discomfort, it is actually a powerful ally — an expression of intuition and guidance to be acknowledged and embraced
In a world that aims for greater comfort in everything from shoes to furniture to our state of mind, being at ease with discomfort is, well, an uncomfortable idea. Having courage with discomfort, however, can be a tremendous gift to our lives.
We have labeled discomfort as something bad and wrong and something to avoid. It’s not recognized as having any value.
What if discomfort was actually the entryway to the adventure of living your best life?
Living life as an adventure is where new possibilities are perpetually invited in that allow everything to be greater. Rather than only maintaining comfort — which is what most people choose that massively limits their lives — discovering the value of discomfort and having the courage to explore it can lead you to a living beyond what you ever imagined possible.
What are the hidden gifts of discomfort and how can we access them? With courage, a few questions, and some changes in perspective:
What if discomfort is not wrong?
When discomfort shows up, how quickly do you try to get rid of it? We’ve learned to go directly into judgment of ourselves or our situation as soon as discomfort is present and change it as soon as possible. Most people have decided it means there’s a problem. It’s their sign that something’s wrong.
Discomfort is actually an awareness of something. It may be that your life is asking for a change, or perhaps you’re already making changes and have ventured into unknown territory. It could be a sign that there’s something you need to pay attention to.
Ask yourself some questions. What is the discomfort showing you? If you didn’t make it wrong, how could it contribute to you?
Have you decided that comfort is what’s right? Neither comfort or discomfort is either good or bad, right or wrong. When we let go of the judgments and conclusions we have about discomfort – or ourselves for having it – we can begin to receive the value of our own awareness and get curious about what else is possible.
What have you misidentified as discomfort that isn’t?
What if the discomfort you’re having is actually something else? Could it be excitement that you’ve misidentified? Is it your body’s desire for something different? What do you know that you’re not acknowledging?
Concluding that you’re experiencing discomfort and attempting to change it rather than looking at what else it could be distracts you from discovering the gifts that are available. We’ve learned to misidentify and clump a whole lot under the discomfort umbrella. Through asking ourselves what we might be misidentifying, we can tune into what’s actually going on.
When discomfort comes up, ask yourself, “Is this discomfort or something else?”
Is this the change you’ve been asking for showing up in a way you did not expect?
How many people are looking for something different in their lives with a specific vision of how it should be or show up? How often have you asked for something that has presented itself exactly as you imagined? It almost always shows up in ways we don’t expect.
Being in discomfort can be indicative of the change you desire that’s coming about in unexpected ways. For example, if you’re asking to double your income but you end up getting fired from your job, you may be uncomfortable with the sudden loss of salary. However, it could be that entirely new possibilities are right around the corner that you couldn’t have known or received while still employed with that company. What is the gift in discomfort that you haven’t considered?
When you’re asking for change, everything that doesn’t allow that change has to show up first so that the path can open up.
It might require of you to look at places within yourself that you haven’t yet had the courage to explore. Don’t let discomfort stop you. Wherever you’re experiencing it, be willing to ask if it’s the change you’ve been asking for showing up in unexpected ways.
Lean into discomfort and make it bigger.
While it’s compelling to avoid discomfort, what if you did the exact opposite? It sounds counter-intuitive, but what if you leaned in? What you resist doesn’t go away. Avoidance is a subtle form of resistance. When you don’t avoid discomfort, it gets easier.
Avoidance is one of the things that makes discomfort so uneasy. If you’re actually willing to have something change, ask yourself, “What is it that I’m truly avoiding here?” It’s not the discomfort itself. What’s behind it that you’re not looking at that if you did, would allow you to create so much more with your life? Are you making avoiding discomfort more valuable than you?
Leaning into discomfort is definitely not what we’re encouraged to do. Making it bigger can actually be the most direct route to experiencing more ease and grace.
Whatever the world has taught you to do or be in the face of discomfort, choosing to ask questions and change some perspectives will invite new possibilities for exploring the true adventure of living.
Having courage with discomfort is where possibility expands and where your best life – and best self – awaits.
You may also enjoy reading Embracing Resistance as an Intuitive Guide at Work and Beyond, by Justine Pattantyus