…Discomfort means nothing to me as long as I can see that the experience will take me to a new level.
“Are you uncomfortable yet?” the yoga instructor asked. Sweat rolled into my eyes, right leg burning, shoulders screaming. Yes. Yes, I am uncomfortable.
He told us that there is a difference between discomfort and pain. You can sit in discomfort. It’s the thing that challenges you, changes you. Pain is different. Pain is a sign to get out. In yoga it’s a sign to get out of the pose. In life it is the sign to get out of the situation or relationship.
Experience has shown me that when I am uncomfortable that I’m stretching beyondwhat I have done before.
It could be physical, like training for a long distance run.
Or mental, like choosing to practice compassion over selfishness.
Or spiritual, like when God seems super quiet.
It’s in this place of the unknown, the unfamiliar, that feels most uncomfortable. It’s also the place where the magic happens.
When I accept the discomfort of a situation, I grow through it. I remember when I first started running. 3 miles? Are you kidding? 1 mile is a long way. I can’t run 3 miles. That’s insane. But over time, 3 miles became not such a big deal. It was the base, then 4 miles. Then 6. Each new challenge was uncomfortable as my feet hurt, my heart hammered, and my legs were heavy. Each stage of discomfort eventually became the new normal.
The secret is to sit in the discomfort until it changes. It will change, it always does. However, if the discomfort turns into pain, it’s time to make a change. No one should be causing you pain, not even you. If you are in a situation causing pain, get out. The pain of staying the same will be less than the discomfort of change.
Just for Today
I will take an honest appraisal of my discomfort. I will measure if it’s truly just uncomfortable or if it’s really painful. If I am in real pain, then I need to get honest with myself and take the necessary actions to relieve that pain. If I’m merely uncomfortable, I will resist the temptation to give up and stay with it until something changes.
My Creator, help me discern the difference between real pain and simple discomfort. Give me the strength and courage to sit with the discomfort and grow through it. Point out where I need to make changes, and provide the resources necessary to make these changes. Help me to move through difficult things knowing that you want the very best for me.
2 thoughts on “Discomfort”
Very thoughtful analysis!
Thank you for this! I’m going to apply it to my conversations with our girl – she’s experiencing some real discomfort at her new school, and I think it will be helpful to help her discern the difference between that and pain.