I used to think that if I felt sad or ill at ease or in any way uncomfortable, it wasn’t a good thing…I had to get rid of that feeling immediately and there was something wrong with me that I allowed those feelings. Because of this belief, the emotions of guilt and shame usually jumped on board.
And boy, did I avoid confrontation at all costs. Confrontation can be really uncomfortable. I simply couldn’t tolerate the feelings that arose from even the idea of bringing up something to be discussed. Of course, the result was feeling resentful, and more guilt for not standing up for myself or making myself heard.
What a conundrum.
And in our culture, with advertising and social media, we receive messages that reinforce these beliefs…if you’re sad, depressed, anxious, lost, feeling out of control, it’s not ok and you need to take a pharmaceutical and then your life will be fantastic.
Society still doesn’t talk about the need to acknowledge and allow our feelings, then allow them to move out—how healthy this is. It’s all about ignoring, avoiding or stuffing them. And as HSPs, this is often more of a challenge. You might realize that this just doesn’t work, but it does help you (temporarily) avoid feeling more uncomfortable.
We can cultivate an acceptance of our feelings and give ourselves permission to be uncomfortable. When we do, this generally leads to growth and a shift in our experiences and relationships.
I’m so glad that I now allow myself to feel whatever I’m feeling and acknowledge when something is uncomfortable and allow that to be ok.
How Can We Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable?
One of the primary ways this comes up in my coaching sessions is while working on developing and maintaining boundaries. I help my clients realize that by setting a boundary, they may experience push back from others, as they’re disrupting the status quo. Preparing for this and allowing themselves to be comfortable with being uncomfortable allows them to work through resistance to following through.
Just recognizing the feelings coming up around the situation requiring a boundary is key. Choosing to allow being uncomfortable while feeling those emotions, then being uncomfortable while setting and sticking to a boundary, is very liberating. Feeling uncomfortable can be a precursor to a huge shift.
And if we avoid discomfort, it can be like trying to take off an old, annoying, really stuck bandaid. If we pull it quickly and with purpose it will hurt (be uncomfortable), yes, but then it will be much better. If we pull ever so lightly around the edges and quit as soon as we feel any amount of discomfort, maybe even try to push it back down to deal with later, the annoyance will remain.
So, if you’re feeling uncomfortable about an emotion or a potential confrontation or setting a boundary you know will help you grow or get your needs met, maybe try to be aware and acknowledge your experience, breathe into the feeling, remind yourself that it’s temporary and that it will help you along your journey.
What potential lies on the other side of your discomfort?