Have you ever felt like leaving a room when someone is speaking to you because you don’t want to listen? Have you put a task on your calendar and when it comes time to do it you wanted to do something else? Respond to someone by yelling or using hurtful words, because you are so angry? All of these examples are you processing emotions of discomfort. Most of the time with discomfort we want to react, resist, or avoid, like the examples above. This week’s blog is about allow discomfort to take its place in your life and decide to process it.
Processing discomfort is a skill and I have been challenging myself to do this every chance I get. I will be completely honest, sitting and feeling discomfort is not at all something I want to do on the regular. I would so much rather feel good all the time. Actually, if I can feel just a little bit better than discomfort, I would take that, too. We, and our primal limbic system, want to do all we can to not have to feel discomfort. Anything but that!
If you were to take a moment to look over the ads that pop up on your computer, infesting your phone, surrounding your freeway and city drive you would notice that much that is being advertised to us has to do with selling us on how we can feel better and take away discomfort. Most are temporary fixes. So why do we want this feeling gone? What is it that is so terrible that we are willing to throw money at it to take the emotion away?
Discomfort happens to everyone, even someone who looks as though they have it all together, also at times in their life, has felt discomfort. The difference between them and you might be that they have decided to allow discomfort instead of react, avoid or resist it. For me, the emotion I have on the regular is self-doubt. Let me share how I process this emotion of discomfort.
I have a task before me, writing this week’s blog, and I am thinking, “I don’t know enough about this topic.”
Then I have the feeling Self-doubt.
So, I spin in thought, do more research, get up and get a snack, call my sister, get on Facebook, go for a walk. My result? Yup, you guessed it. No blog, or it took me twice to four times as long to write it because I allowed the feeling self-doubt to be in control.
Here is me allowing self-doubt in a healthy way:
The same thought comes up and I again have self-doubt. But instead of letting that emotion and thought take hold, I recognize I am having self-doubt, that my mind spins when I feel this emotion and the action does not produce the result I want.
I want to do my blog because it is a commitment I made to myself and to the subscribers who receive it. I am going to time myself for 5 minutes and allow this emotion to process through me. Sitting in self-doubt on purpose. 5 minutes pass. Still feeling a bit of self-doubt but not nearly as strong as before. Perhaps if I think instead, “It’s time to write my blog, I can do this.” My new thought makes me feel encouraged. So, I begin to write my blog, allow the writing mistakes to take place, and in 1 hour have it complete, and ready to be edited.
So, as a result, not only is my blog completed, I feel my words I wrote are of encouragement. Which in turn shows me I can do hard things by building my resilience to allow myself to sit in purposeful discomfort.
Discomfort doesn’t go away, but you grow resilience for it. You can learn how to lean into it and process the emotion contributing to your discomfort as you move forward.