Finding Comfort In The Uncomfortable
“Find comfort in the uncomfortable” — words to live by. Un-comfort is the space where growth happens. This phrase is common at Soul Cycle… the analogy being when a ride is hard, if you can overcome in that room, you can train to overcome uncomfort in the world.
Every time I hear the phrase, I get flashbacks of moments when that’s’ exactly what I did, then I think of my next hurdle or goal that I want to surpass.
I’m going to share some of the times I overcame (starting with something minor and escalating to major uncomfortable moments that were life threatening and changing) Here are the times I reflect on often where I found comfort, growth and strength in the uncomfortable…
- Being photographed solo in a picture has always been uncomfortable for me. I never felt comfortable posing and knowing where to put my hands and legs or how to angle my head. Just look at my before picture, I can still see how awkward I am by myself there. It didn’t help that I often felt as if I didn’t fit in or like how I looked. I saw to many flaws in the photos (shouldn’t we be looking at what’s good??), until I worked with Wendy Yalom, a photographer, who was able to make the process painless with her ease. Rather than focusing on me, we focused on fun, experiences and laughter. She came along at the time in my life when the pieces were finally all coming together. Our photo shoot was days before uncomfortable moment #4, and I think because I had made peace with what I was about to do, my imminent comfort and happiness came through beautifully in the pictures, the happiness and comfort are coming from within.
- Being diagnosed with stage one cancer seven years ago may be my biggest uncomfortable / a-ha moment in my life. In that minute, my future was unknown and I experienced fear, regret and anger within hours. The next day, revelation and calm set in that this could be the biggest turning point in my life. I decided to learn and grow from Cancer and not be afraid. This would be an opportunity for me to get it right, slow down, appreciate every special moment and not wait for things to come to me, so I decided to be more aggressive with what I wanted. I made a promise to change what wasn’t working, end toxic relationships, get more clarity with what I wanted, stop putting everyone’s needs before mine and maybe the one best piece of advice was to learn to say No so that my YES would have more value.
- Third moment was when I realized that I had reverted back to some old ways (once I was healthy again) It took some tough life lessons to kick my ass into gear again and remember all that I had changed after my diagnosis and what habits I had let go of, and slipped back into. I still find comfort in this “uncomfortable arena” as I constantly struggle to remember how I felt in those first few weeks and how empowering change was. Communication (although I’m known to often say what’s on my mind) still becomes an issue when it involves being vulnerable or speaking up on sensitive/new topics and situations (follow me??) Having been in a relationship where the communication was superficial and “growth-less”, it’s a skill I have to force myself to master and I will continue to grow, as I’m learning this may be the “answer” to always being who you are, making sure you have what you need and also just as important is being aware of what the people you love also need and want with you, and for their happiness.
- My last life changing moment of getting comfortable in the uncomfortable was the minute I decided to change my life status, 6 months ago. As happy as I was with whom I have been growing into, my business, children and friends…I felt like a hypocrite. It’s so easy to work with clients, listen to friends challenges or help your children find success but something gets lost when you can’t take a stand for yourself and make the same tough decisions for yourself that you can help others to see they may need to make. Living in the uncomfortable reality that I had to make a BIG decision (that effected more than just me) to change in my life in order to really let myself be truly happy from the core, expand my life, grow personally and professionally…I finally decided to let the piece that had been my norm for 24 years go in order to let more in. More of what should’ve been in my life for a long time and to have a future with unlimited possibility, experience, love, life and laughter.
I look forward to my future “uncomfortable” moments, although I feel as I have enough knowledge and confidence now in myself to make sure they are temporary, daily challenges rather than life changing or life threatening. From this one phrase, “find comfort in the uncomfortable” all I’ve learned to accept about myself, my shortcomings, where I needed to and change and/or grow should be enough insurance that my big decisions will be right on the money, as I trust myself and my intuition. My communication will be a work in progress that never stops and will always take both people in the conversation and situation into account, but at the same time, I’ve grown enough to realize that it’s what goes unsaid that can be the most damaging to ourselves. I will always be happy with just me (first) so that I can then add to other people’s happiness at a different level while elevating mine, with what they add to the relationship and vice versa. I’ve learned from all of this you need to be your own best friend and love yourself unconditionally before you’ll ever be able to be the best partner, lover and/or friend to someone else. In other words it takes a strong I before you get to We.
Try thinking about what uncomfortable moments you have had and what good came out of them. Use them throughout life to keep growing into the best version of yourself. These truly may be the points where you have found the most growth for yourself and ultimately where ultimate health and outlooks come from.