39. The Benefits Of Periodic Discomfort

discomfortA Common Misconception

Throughout my encounters with individuals over these last few years, I’ve identified a common misconception. There seems to be a belief that if one has done an adequate amount of internal emotional work, they can be totally vulnerable, yet won’t encounter fear or uncomfortable emotions. As if doing the work in some way exempts us from being triggered or provides immunity to discomfort. This is not the case. Doing the necessary internal work doesn’t eliminate future triggering, it changes how we process and react to those encounters, which in turn can provide the foundation for deep, meaningful relationships and life.

The False Narrative Of Society

Everything we encounter in life is viewed through the lens of our prior experience. The more trauma and wounding, the easier we are to trigger. Society has created a false narrative, a numbing of emotion and denial of feelings that has left the masses in a rather shallow, robotic state. This has rendered many unable to experience depth of emotions, both good and bad. We’ve been taught that being emotional is a liability, a weakness, and something to be overcome. In truth, that viewpoint is nothing more than a protection mechanism, masquerading as brute force of will. This is not strength, it’s fear, and it’s greatly changing how we relate to one another and our environment, and not for the better. To further complicate matters, there has been an onslaught of psychotropic pharmaceutical medications added to the equation. These have the sole purpose of keeping us from feeling, rather than teaching us how to process through and release those emotions in healthy ways that don’t leave us numb.

Universal Viewpoints Limit Willing Vulnerability

There is no doubt we have become an over-fearful society. Just look at the news! Very few are willing to speak their mind in open vulnerability for fear of repercussion or loss of acceptance. Instead, what abounds are universal viewpoints that are postulated as the central belief systems of the masses. Interestingly, if you pull enough people aside in private discourse, you find very few agree with these central beliefs, yet silence abounds and the status quo goes unchallenged. This often leaves individuals feeling as if they are the lone, outside opinion, when more often than not, that’s not the case. What that does to erode individual confidence levels and self esteem is astounding. Most become unwilling to step out in authenticity and vulnerability. I was among those silent masses for far too long. No more.

Perceptions Need To Be Challenged

What the inside work has taught me is that I don’t want to be numb. I have no desire to conform to the central belief system. It is because I am different that I bring skills, tools, and information to the table that may not be otherwise represented. My opinions, beliefs, and feelings are not only valid, but incredibly valuable. Yet it’s also important to point out that my perceptions have been molded by my environment and past, and those perceptions often need to be challenged. We learn and expand in this existence by sharing with one another. If no one is willing to share or challenge ideas, we become stagnant and stifled. If no one is willing to be vulnerable enough to speak their mind, we remain prisoners of our old ways, with no hope of forward progress. This is true in both the business world and within the internal landscape of our personal lives. We have become discontent dwellers, rather than explorers. Somewhere along the line, we’ve been sold a bill of goods that has stunted growth and left us fearful and resigned with mediocrity, rather than reaching for excellence, depth, truth, and meaning, by stepping outside our comfort zones.

The Laying Aside Of Fear

There’s an old saying that basically asserts we become willing to change when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of changing. I have reached that point, and am encouraging others to abandon the ship of mass mentality as well! This world is crying out for authenticity, depth, emotional vulnerability, and a laying aside of fear, that keeps these traits in shackles. We often believe we are the only ones in danger of experiencing pain if we become vulnerable. The truth is, everyone shares equally in that experience. We just don’t discuss our thoughts and fears with others any longer, so we think we are alone. Depth of sharing has become taboo, looked upon with disdain, which in reality is just another mask covering fear. After all, if someone shares in a vulnerable way, perhaps they will expect the same in response from me? Heaven forbid! I can already hear the sounding of the alarms, batten the hatches, prepare for emergency evasive, protective maneuvers! What is it we are so afraid of? I for one am not only willing, I am determined to ask and confront those questions. I want to grow and move beyond the paralysis of fear, yet that requires navigating through some potentially murky waters to get there. Rather than avoiding fear and discomfort, I’m stepping headlong into it, knowing what I will embrace on the other side, far outweighs any negative I may encounter along the way.

The Astounding Benefits Of Periodic Discomfort

Back to the original paragraph… There’s this false belief that if we’ve done the tough, inner work, we won’t experience these fears and discomforts any longer. The truth of the matter is, doing the work means we are often coming face to face with these fears, discomforts, and questions. The difference is we aren’t running, hiding, ignoring, sabotaging, blaming, or bypassing the unpleasantness any longer. We are allowing ourselves to fully experience it and be uncomfortable, while working through the questions that lead us to healing and resolution. How can we possibly appreciate light if we’ve never experienced darkness? There can be no recognition of joy without the contrast of pain. Yes, it can be very difficult at times, but let’s not forget the tremendous benefit that comes from us exploring these often tumultuous depths. We drink deeply from the difficulty of painful self exploration, yet that very depth allows us to feel love, appreciation, joy, and fulfillment in ways we could not otherwise comprehend. I choose depth in all areas and I’m willing to pay the price of periodic discomfort to gain the astounding benefits that far outweigh it. Are you?

Love & Light,
Laura Lum Corby

Also published on Medium.

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