stop-avoiding-discomfort-image

A lot of people talk about wanting to change their lives, and no one wants to be someone who is all talk, no action. So consider this provocative question: Do you avoid anything that makes you uncomfortable? Maybe it’s time to stop avoiding discomfort.

Here’s a great way to tell whether or not you avoid that which makes you uncomfortable:

Think of a life change that you know you’ve really, really wanted to make. Go deep with this. Consider not just “I want to start going to yoga regularly” but get more vulnerable:

“I want to be closer to my husband/partner.”

“I want to start speaking my truth.”

“I want to stop feeling so bad about my body and love it no matter what it looks like.”

And now: What actions have you taken, consistently and daily, for the past seven days, to make this happen?

If you’re like most people, you’re coming up with…nada. Most of us (and yep, I have to pay attention to this, too) want changes, but change feels uncomfortable, so we don’t do the things we need to do in order to make the change happen.

Now–this used to be one of my stumbling blocks–I’d immediately fall upon anyone who pointed this out to me with, “But I don’t know what to do! If I knew what to do, of course I’d change!”

Then someone–my coach-counselor-guru-man, Matthew–started calling bullshit on that one. I did know of things that I could do. I just wasn’t doing them. He said this because he loved me and he cared (and, by the way, he always said it kindly).

For Instance

If you want to be closer to your husband, you can clarify why you’re not close, you can clarify exactly what the relationship could be, you could resolve to tell him one nice thing every single day, you could initiate a date night, you could go to counseling, you could surprise him with an impromptu card.

You could do all of this even if it feels weird and uncomfortable
because you’ve been stuck in a dynamic with him for a long time and aren’t sure how to get out. You could do this even if he rejects every single action you take, because you aren’t doing this to get a result from him–you’re doing it because the change is important to you.

If you want to start speaking your truth, you could identify the most important relationships for doing that, you could speak your truth once daily and build from there, you could clarify where you tend to hide your truth.

If you want to start loving your body no matter what it looks like, you could look in the mirror daily and say loving things; you could read a book that gets to the heart of why we don’t love our bodies (Geneen Roth’s Women, Food & God is a classic); you could practice self-massage; you could get involved with the Curvy Yoga community.

The Discomfort? Still There

You wouldn’t “get out of” the discomfort if you tried any of this. You’ve got to stop avoiding discomfort. Change would feel new, and unfamiliar, and the inner critic voice would come up. (So do you know how to work with that, when it happens?).

With time, you would get more comfortable, and you would be able to tell yourself, “I do what it takes to make the changes that I desire, even when they are uncomfortable.”

That, in and of itself, would be what it looks like to practice courage.

That, in and of itself, would make a difference in how you feel when you look yourself in the mirror–because you’d know that you’re not bullshitting yourself. You have desires for your life, and you put something behind creating them for yourself.

Go ahead and aim for the discomfort.

Point your arrow right at the heart center of it.

A willingness to be uncomfortable in service to your truest desires isn’t just courage in action, it’s the path to them.