Finding Comfort in Discomfort

Why are we so quick to judge uncomfortable feelings?  Why do we want to push them away so fast?  Why, when we feel fear, do we also fear the fear, thus creating an even bigger landslide of fear within us?  Perhaps you don’t struggle with this.  Perhaps you welcome fear and uncomfortable emotions like you would a guest in your house.  I bow down to those of you that don’t have to think twice about accepting these emotions.  But for those of you who can relate in any way, read on.  And for those of you who don’t struggle with this, you are more than welcome to live vicariously through me!  🙂

A very important detail of this story is that it happened TODAY.  Yes, TODAY!!!  So even though I’ve spent a couple of years life coaching myself and 7 months in Martha Beck’s fabulous life coach training program, I still can get caught up in panic.  But I’m getting better!  And that’s definitely something to celebrate.  Once my inner wise guide and coaching tools kick in, I begin to set myself free.

I sit on my yoga mat.  I feel like I have just a tad too much energy pulsating throughout my body.  It’s nervous energy.  But there’s a reason for it.  After yoga class I’m taking a turtle step towards my coaching career and it involves face to face interaction.  EEK!!  This is my first attempt at talking face to face with a business owner in hopes to strike a small deal with them to help promote my business.  Emphasis on small.  But still big enough to make my body feel as if I’m thumping techno music in a room filled with meditating nuns.  Can you say uncomfortable?  And I know this feeling – this anxious, nervous, uncomfortable feeling.  This feeling that makes me want to flee from everyone and hide Meghan in a far, far away land.  So I sit on my yoga mat and notice my anxious energy.  And if it stopped there and I just felt it and that was that, the feeling would pass and everything would be golden.  But of course it doesn’t stop there.  My thoughts about what was happening wanted to get involved.  I started to think things like: “Oh no, I don’t want this to happen.”  “Oh no, I hate this feeling.”  “Oh no, I can’t feel like this.”  “I will do anything to prevent this feeling.”  I start to re-think my turtle step.  I can e-mail her later, or I can wait until next week.  Anything to make myself feel comfort and ease again.  But I want to do it TODAY!!  I need to be able to do these things!  If I don’t do it now I’ll NEVER do it!  So I sit in my yoga class and panic (oxymoron much)?  I sit and my body is shaking, my stomach feels queasy, and I fear the fear that I’m feeling.  And then it hits me.  Wait a second.  I’m feeling so icky because I am not only feeling fear of performing my turtle step, I’m also feeling scared of having this fear!  A-ha!  Once I simply noticed what was really going on I was able to detach from those thoughts and let that dirty fear slip away. I still felt discomfort, but less.  Ok, no big deal.  I’ll just sit here and feel my fear without all those extra anxiety-provoking thoughts piled on top.  I was getting comfortable in my state of discomfort.  I sat there and shook.  I felt my heart pound.  I felt the warmth of my body against the sticky yoga mat.  I even cracked a smile in my discomfort.  I got curious with what was happening, not panicked.  After all, what’s so bad with feeling a little fear?  I was able to focus on my yoga practice.  The discomfort faded away.

If we can’t get comfortable with feeling discomfort and if we always want to put ourselves in situations that make us feel safe and comfortable, how will we lead a fulfilling life and live out our dreams?  I stumbled upon a powerful quote in Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” asserted by Robert Browning: “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s heaven for?”  If we’re never willing to put ourselves in these uncomfortable or unfamiliar situations because we are scared of feeling “negative” feelings, we will never grow as individuals and achieve our dreams.

So if you plan on taking hold of your life and coming out as the rock star you are, expect to feel some discomfort, but don’t shy away from taking bold steps that bring you closer to your right life because you fear this.  Just be curious about the sensations of the uncomfortable emotion.  Focus on what it feels like, not on the thoughts you have about it.  This will help you get comfortable in the discomfort.

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