Thought for Food Blog

The Power of Sitting in Discomfort or Fear

You feel like you are being overwhelmed with emotion.  You try desperately to stop the discomfort.  You try desperately to stop the fear welling up inside of you.  Like a river rising after a heavy rain, you cannot stop it.  Try as you might, you cannot stop your feelings. 

Trust me, I am one of the biggest optimists; I believe in what is possible!  I can see potential from a mile away.  AND, I have been thinking lately…in the ever popular search for--and emphasis on--happiness, I’m wondering if we have overlooked the necessary place of discomfort?  Just to be clear, by allowing ourselves to feel discomfort, pain, or fear, we are not choosing to stay stuck in that space.  We are simply allowing ourselves to feel all emotions.  We are allowing ourselves to learn from all aspects of our lives, the ones that bring us joy and the ones that bring us pain.

Discomfort can mean many things.  Sometimes discomfort shows up as pain.  Sometimes it shows up as confusion.  Sometimes it is a sign that growth is taking place.  Whatever the cause, maybe we should not be so quick to try and push it away or avoid it.  Maybe we should not be so quick to try and rid ourselves of the moment that the discomfort has brought to our attention.  When we allow ourselves to feel our fears and our pain, without judgement, we can learn from them and grow. 

  • Consider welcoming fear, pain, or discomfort in when it shows up.  Tara Brach has a wonderful article about Inviting Mara to Tea and a mediation.
  • Our feelings are a form of communication.  Consider asking yourself the following questions:
    • What message is trying to be communicated through my feelings?  
    • Is there something I am ready to learn?
    • Is there something I am ready to release?
    • Is this a new situation, or an old reoccurring pattern? 
    • If it is an old pattern, does what I am experiencing still serve me? 
    • Is it still helping me in some way? 
    • Am I ready for a new way of relating or being? 
    • If it is a new situation, what, if anything, do I want to do about this?
    • Sometimes the best action is no action but a decision to allow your feelings to take their natural course, just as the river does.  The waters will return to their normal levels.

Remember you do not have to do this alone.  It can be helpful, even necessary, to have someone to process these feeling with--an objective mind that can hear what your soul is trying to communicate.