Life lies on the other side of discomfort. Should you run or lean in?
When discomfort is present, we must look inward, always.
Discomfort is a feeling within your body attempting to communicate with you.
If you feel discomfort when talking to someone, take a look at why.
Our instinct is to shut down and avoid the situation altogether.
This may actually be the best thing we can do, but more often than not, it’s better to lean into it and break through the blockage.
I think Will Smith said, “Life lies on the other side of fear.”
The word fear could easily be changed to discomfort.
“Life lies on the other side of discomfort.
Fear and excitement are the top feelings that come with discomfort.
Ask yourself at that moment, why do I feel uncomfortable.
Some Likely Reasons You Feel Uncomfortable
- Your body thinks that your life is at risk
Our body can’t always distinguish the difference between an uncomfortable conversation and a lion coming to kill you. The same things happen in the body, just at different levels.
Connection with others can easily be synonymous with survival inside the body.
We need social interaction and connection to survive.
Your body may shut down and try to avoid the conversation due to the weight you’ve just placed on yourself. You are no longer present, but instead, you’re thinking, “I can’t wait for this to be over so I can go back to being comfortable.”
Try this instead: Be aware of what is happening in your body. The more it happens, the easier it will be to pick up on the patterns. When you feel it happening, take a deep breath to calm your nervous system and then shift your focus to a curiosity you have about them and what they are saying. Ask a question and listen.
- Your Ego has control of the steering wheel
The ego exists for a reason. You cannot destroy it. To attempt to kill it is to attempt to kill an important part of your humanness. A part of you that will fight back with even stronger forces.
The ego flies below the radar. Its goal is to take control without being noticed. It has good intentions—to protect you—with mostly bad results.
This mean, your ego will creep into many situations, without you knowing, and wreak havoc.
Try this instead: Be aware of what is happening in your body. When the ego creeps in, give it a name. Labeling it gives you power over it. From here, either take space or lean into your curiosity for this person while putting your ego in the back seat for the time being.
- Expectations or attachment to an outcome
Let’s say you really like someone. While talking to them and learning how awesome they are, you begin to attach yourself to the idea of being friends with them.
Thoughts arise such as, “don’t screw this up,” and “what can I do to make them like me” out of fear of missing out on an awesome relationship.
All of a sudden, you’ve gone from being your self to being what you think they want you to be. The trick here is that you’re most attractive when you’re being yourself. So, this often backfires.
Try this instead: Be yourself. Yes, easier said than done for some, but it really is that simple. Let go of the outcome. Release yourself from the pressure of what they want and focus on what you want. Tap back into your genuine curiosity for this person and ask a real question.
- You’re just not jiving and you need to create space
It’s possible that this discomfort is your body telling you to leave the conversation. Maybe this person is stealing your energy or negatively affecting you. If this is the case, listen to the message and make the decision to create space.
We all know what is best for us. If another person is hurting you verbally or energetically (or even physically), walk away.
Try this instead: For example, I recently attended a social hour at a coworking space. I met some amazing people and had great conversations. I then found myself in an uncomfortable three-way conversation. One person in the group was aggressively talking about politics and all the things he hated about the world. He was loud and cutting people off. I didn’t agree with his energy, so I left the circle. I gave it about 7 minutes before I listened to my intuition and stepped away. Looking back, I could have left even earlier.
The trick to all of the above is understanding the message. When you feel discomfort, it’s your job to question it and make a decision about how to proceed.
More often than not, it’s worth leaning into the discomfort in order to move past a blockage.
Use the tools above to practice, but know that you’re not perfect and you will not always be able to handle each situation perfectly. With practice, you’ll be able to read these messages and confidently move forward.
On the other side, you’ll meet life head-on.