Discomfort and Safety

We tend to want to run from the feeling of discomfort. By definition discomfort is not pleasant. Discomfort often comes paired with the assurance that pain or hard work is in our future.

We all desire to feel good, content, energized, and happy. So, we often chase those feelings and in our quest to experience the best in life, our tolerance for discomfort and uncertainty shrinks. Yet, sitting in and moving through discomfort is 100% essential to growth work. There’s just no possible way around it. Avoiding discomfort essentially keeps us stuck in the status quo.

When participating in any kind of intentional growth, we need to brace ourselves for a lot of discomfort. This is the case whether we are switching majors, learning to play guitar, advocating for ourselves with a professor, learning to cook for the first time, going back to school for the first time after high school, or unpacking our unconscious biases.

It is important to change the way we interact with the kind of discomfort that disrupts our status quo. If we want growth, we need to get more comfortable with discomfort by actually seeking it, welcoming it, and leaning into it.

Of course discomfort is just plain hard. Shaking up our strongly held beliefs is not for the faint of heart. It’s a courageous act. Know that intentionally choosing discomfort – and the uncertainty that comes with growth – are also exactly where possibility and hope can be born.

It’s also important to note that discomfort and safety are not mutually exclusive. You can be safe and uncomfortable AT THE SAME TIME. The discomfort that comes with growth is safe, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. It is essential that we learn to expand our tolerance for discomfort and to treat ourselves with kindness and compassion at the same time, because this is hard work.

So we know that learning brings up discomfort. And we know that there is uncertainty in discomfort. Remember that one of the best antidotes to uncertainty is wonder and adventure.

We hope that this journey will be one of wonder and adventure for you.


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Post-Secondary Peer Support Training Curriculum Copyright © 2022 by Jenn Cusick is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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