Most of us have grown up in the Western world of plenty. Let’s face it. We who live in the modern world are attached to creating a comfortable life—bigger homes, more love in our relationships, better jobs and on an on. Striving to create constant comfort is the main goal.
Once we believe we should have continuous comfort, we reject anxiety or sadness that may arise when our life is not always comfortable. We either strive for more pleasant feelings or we numb the anxiety because we tell ourselves something is wrong if we don’t feel comfortable.
We think we’re the only ones who don’t have everything (an example of the Victim mentality that says “why me?”) Once this takes hold we turn on ourselves, (example of the inner Persecuting conversation that develops) and say: “We’re not enough. Something is wrong with me that I don’t feel constant pleasure.”
This story helped Donna to understand how feeling uncomfortable can be a teaching lesson:
She recently had a flight delay and went to the United Club to take a break from airport noise. Donna chose a quiet corner and soon a man turned up the sound on his computer to watch a movie. She noticed how uncomfortable it became that her desire for quiet was interrupted. Donna got up to ask him to turn down the sound, and noticed this question arise: “Can I be okay with this sound?” Without talking with the man, she returned to her chair and decided to practice being uncomfortable and not needing to immediately fix the source of her distress. (Interesting side note—once she accepted that she could relax in spite of the sound, he shut off his computer and left.) It was an important teaching moment that she could learn to find contentment in the midst of unease.
The comfort-seeking drama cycle can be traced back to our desire to look for happiness in something other than what we currently have. What we tell ourselves is that we will be happier, more comfortable, if we have something else. How do we get out of this cycle?
- To reverse this trap, bring your attention back to the present moment and hold the tension of your uncomfortable feelings.
- When you notice the uncomfortableness, take a moment to breathe, relax and be with the unease. While relaxed, focus on one thing that is comfortable.
- Shift your beliefs about uncomfortableness. There’s nothing you have to do or say to deny the existence of feeling uncomfortable. It is part of life. You are okay.
As you learn to hold uncomfortable feelings, the Creator in you has a chance to emerge and ask more profound questions such as: “What is meaningful for me in this moment?” The brief encounter in the airport was, for Donna, an insightful teaching moment about learning to be comfortable with discomfort.