No matter who we are; how successful, rich, influential etc- all of us will experience discomfort during our lifetimes whether it be physically or emotionally or both. It is one of life's certainties and is part of being human. Yet, discomfort is seen exclusively as something to be avoided for many. People will go to extremes to avoid dealing with discomfort, using escapist strategies including extreme ones such as drugs or drinking which only serves to exacerbate the discomfort in the long run - providing a brief delusional pyrrhic victory. Still, such approaches never deal with the causes of the original source of the discomfort.
However, paradoxically, there are several major benefits to facing your discomfort and some of these are life-changing.
1 It teaches you about the value of control which in turn helps you deal with difficult situations.
By choosing to face your discomfort, you have already made a conscious decision indicating you are in control of the situation. You have already taken an important first step that shows you are NOT powerless in such situations. Part of that control involves how you deal with your myriad of conscious thoughts relating to your discomfort. . I have written about the power of thoughts in previous blogs so learning to control your thoughts, especially unreasoned illogical negative thoughts will have a huge bearing on the extent and length of the discomfort you face.
2 No matter how difficult the discomfort, it will pass.
From my own experiences, whether it be discomfort from extreme physical pain from dealing with multiple heart attacks or mental stress from dealing with a very uncompassionate employer - it will pass. Like life itself, discomfort is transitory and will pass. Remembering that dealing with difficult situations can be and has proved to me to be transformational.
3 It broadens your tolerances to future discomforts.
Once you have dealt with an existing discomfort, you will be better able to handle future discomforts. Each time you deal with your discomforts it increases and broadens your tolerances and capabilities to deal with discomforts. You acquire new skills and capabilities. E.g. improving your resilience.
4 Dealing with discomfort is essential for our personal growth
Dealing with discomfort helps us learn more about ourselves, and the growth comes from our learning from facing discomfort... how we deal with difficulties and how our thinking has evolved from such scenarios. Over time, we become stronger, more compassionate and more resilient as we learn from our discomfort. We can also learn the value of patience and stoicism as a result of dealing with our discomforts.
5 It teaches us acceptance
Change is inevitable, whether we like it or not, and so is discomfort. Discomfort becomes easier to deal with once we accept that. Everyone has discomfort at some point in their lives- that is normal. Acceptance is a vital first step in the quest to deal with discomfort. Batting and fighting with yourself whether it be with emotions such as anger, frustration, pity or despair does not resolve the discomfort but accepting the situation will give you some peace of mind and enable you to find other ways of dealing with your discomfort.
Being able to accept and face your discomfort is an essential trait of being resilient. It's not easy to do so, especially when some of those discomforts are so painful, but over time, as I've discovered from my own personal journey, dealing with those dark times has been the greatest opportunity for my own personal growth. And without growth, we stagnate and cannot fulfil our unique potential.
I would love to hear your comments and views on this topic and also what some of your strategies are for dealing with your moments of discomfort. Please email me at XtraClarity.com.