Discomfort is…. unpleasant! When we feel anxious or depressed, our first instinct is that we want to stop feeling that way, and the sooner the better. We all want this and it’s understandable. But there is actually a very beautiful silver lining to feeling some discomfort in your life.
Hear me out! This might sound very counter intuitive to you, especially if you have like so many others spent a lot of energy trying to avoid feeling discomfort. You can’t imagine why and I hear you.
The thing is, harnessing these uncomfortable feelings, we can use them as fuel to motivate ourselves to improve our current situations. Imagine there is a recurring stressor in your life, a negative situation of any sort and you respond by feeling discomfort (this happens to all of us unless you are a robot). If you feel discomfort, you may choose to respond by problem solving and actively advocating for comfort. Then, it is possible that you may come out of that situation better off than before you felt that discomfort. I imagine that this would be better than, say, you felt totally accepting and comfortable within a less-than-ideal situation, and never sought out a better arrangement. If you felt no discomfort, what would trigger you to stand up for your values and rights? Without discomfort, essentially anything in the world could happen and you would just smile and take it.
When people are able to appreciate the silver lining of discomfort, we can sometimes befriend that discomfort. You start to see the discomfort as a red flag that something needs attention. This also means that the discomfort is no longer primarily an experience to be avoided, but is now a map to guide you toward something better. Note that sometimes our discomfort (perhaps in the form of anxiety or depression) may become intense enough that it overwhelms our ability to think through the situation. In these instances it can be very helpful to first reach out to a professional who can patiently work with you to cope with the intensity of emotions, provide a safe space, and guide you to approaching discomfort in this new way. If you would like to schedule a free 30-minute consultation, I would be happy to discuss with you how we can shift your approach to addressing discomfort in your life.