I had a realization over the past week of why it is so hard to “sit with the discomfort.” It’s a great practice when it comes to your inner work. But it’s so hard, as it is when you’re going through something painful. I try to embrace it in stride, knowing that I’m working towards a breakthrough. Sometimes, though, I don’t just sit in the discomfort. I drown in the discomfort. Have you ever just had a pity party for yourself? Like when one aspect of our life is momentarily down and we don’t correct it quick enough and distraction seeps in. It pulls us from the original discomfort and calls us to examine another aspect of our lives. And, because we’re coming from an uncomfortable perspective, we’re drawn to all the discomfort of the next thing we look towards.
For me, the snowball effect takes place. I get discouraged. I feel helpless – the one feeling I think is the very worst to feel. These feelings are uncharacteristic of me. I’m always happy and hopeful. I’m always the strong one that listens to and guides others through their problems. I never share my own or ask for help working through them. So, when I’m sitting there feeling depressed about my career, relationships, home, future, whatever it may be, I become lost in the dark.
And when this happened recently, when I felt lost in the dark, I began to notice something. I felt bad about feeling bad about the hard parts of discomfort. It made me realize how much pressure we put on ourselves to always be happy. If there’s a moment throughout the day, or a day throughout the week, when we feel sad or discouraged, we can’t just sit with it and let it be. It’s nearly impossible to sit with the true discomfort without feeling uncomfortable about being uncomfortable. Because then we’re not being positive and happy. So, we get down on ourselves. We feel guilty and not good enough for the joy of life.
I began to think — I consider myself pretty happy with most areas and elements of my life, generally speaking. But how much of that is accurate, true happiness? If I consider my true desires and my best life, is it living in a 3-bedroom apartment with 2 randoms? Is it working a job that doesn’t really have a clear growth pattern? Is it rocking the single life while noticing the longing to share this life with my person? Not at all. But I tell myself I’m satisfied with those things because who am I to complain? I must make lemons out of lemonade and put on a happy face. I’m doing what society tells me to do.
I guess what I’m sharing is that I’m discovering what a fine line there is between the balance of happiness and realness. In the moments of darkness and discomfort, a light might be shone on areas of opportunity in your life. And that’s okay. It’s a sign that there’s room for growth and improvement and that you actually do know what your goals are and where you want to be. The fact that there’s darkness doesn’t mean you did something wrong, or that you’re stuck with no way out. It doesn’t mean you’re feeling a way that you shouldn’t feel. It just means there’s room for your light. It’s a reminder of how bad you want it. And that discomfort precedes amazing breakthroughs, each and every time. It means you’re human and alive and living and feeling and that it’s okay if it isn’t 100% perfect 100% of the time.