Life is meant to be joyful. Peaceful. Pleasurable.
And even so, as we make the decisions that bring us joy, create peace, pursue pleasure, there are rocky spots and rough patches along the way.
It can be tempting to avoid those rough patches, because they don’t feel good: they feel uncomfortable; it can seem a lot more appealing to circumvent them entirely and go the other way when we come across one. You know the one: an icky conversation we can feel creeping up, the end of an unhealthy or otherwise stagnant relationship, a departure from something known to move onto the unknown, or a decision that you know is right, and is also going to piss off a lot of people.
We are pleasure seekers, and pain avoiders – particularly on an emotional and spiritual level. The irony is that for most growth work, we need to experience at least a little bit of pain to get to where we’re going:
- Pain that comes from breaking free from old patterns and habits and transitioning over to adopt new ones.
- Pain that comes from releasing toxic relationships and the grief that follows the initial, in order to receive healthy loving people to your life.
- Pain that comes from the emotional or mental struggle of not getting what you (thought you) wanted.
If you want to grow and expand – and chances are if you are here in this moment, you do want to grow and expand – this kind of discomfort is inevitable. Do you think it feels good for the snake to shed an entire layer of skin? Doubtful – but necessary. And the same is true of our own shedding of the old, and adapting to the new: it isn’t necessarily going to feel great at first. They’re called growing pains for a reason.
But this, like anything, gets easier and more familiar over time.
Once you are familiar with acknowledging “I know what this feeling is” and owning it, you can sink into it for what it is, because you know that you’re strong enough to get through this as well. Inch by inch, day by day, conversation by conversation. After enough practice, it doesn’t feel as scary, and the urge to cut and run might not even come up anymore – you know you’re brave, courageous, and tenacious enough to handle it with grace and ease.
Treat the discomfort as part of the flow of the changes you’re making. Learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, so that when you come to the part of your path in which it feels a little rocky, you’re more mentally ready to just keep going and move through it, knowing that you’ve done this before, you can do it again, emerging stronger than you were before.