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Comfort & Discomfort

Posted on by Marie Elena

I awoke this morning delighted that it was Sunday. I love Sundays. Even though it was after 7am, it was still quiet. I was so comfortable. My bed, my organic cotton sheets and “comforter,” the crisp morning air coming through my open window, gentle light flowing in from behind my curtains…all of my senses were heightened. I smiled. I felt safe, secure and at peace.

What in your life brings you comfort? Are you aware of those things that relax your nervous system and soothe your soul? If not, perhaps you can observe the experiences in your life – even those that seem simple. Sometimes, in the simplicity, we find the greatest satisfaction.

Then, of course, there’s the opposite feeling – that of discomfort. One basic definition of discomfort is “mental or bodily distress.” In certain circumstances, we can use this definition to avoid potential suffering (for example, we might stop running if feel discomfort in our knee). Other definitions of discomfort include: “uneasiness, nervousness, inconvenience.” Or, merely, “lack of comfort.”

There’s a good portion of the time when I experience being uncomfortable – or out of my comfort zone. Whether working on a new project, teaching a class to an unfamiliar group, anticipating a coaching session, paying bills…as Gilda Radner said, “It’s always something.”

The contrast between comfort and discomfort can be stark. And, as Maslow states, there are certain needs, such as food, clothing and shelter that, when left unmet, threaten our survival. But, is there such a thing as healthy discomfort?

Our sense of comfort or discomfort can be a useful tool in navigating our lives. When we are too comfortable, we can get stuck – meaning our comfort is actually creating discomfort. From this perspective, discomfort can be an opportunity to grow, develop and evolve. And, a time to surrender to something new, experience the unfamiliar and embrace a little uneasiness.

Where in your life are you uncomfortable? Is this a place where you are stretching beyond the familiar and choosing to expand? Could it be healthy discomfort?

And the day came when the risk (it took) to remain tight in the bud was more painful than
the risk it took to blossom.
–Anais Nin

In support of you stepping out of your comfort zone.

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