Digging Into Discomfort
If you’re like me at all (or maybe if you’re human in general), you have things in life that make you uncomfortable. And if something makes you uncomfortable, of course you want to avoid it at all costs right!? Duh. What I’ve been learning over these past few years is how to dig into things that bring me discomfort. And one thing I’ve learned is there is beauty that lies beneath discomfort.
The thing I did today that makes me uncomfortable: went on a walk by myself. If you know me, you understand why this would cause me some anxiety. If you don’t, you are probably thinking “this girl is weird”. Being alone doesn’t make me anxious from a safety perspective. Being alone makes me feel anxious because I don’t like creating a space for my feelings to be accessed so directly. For me, filling me schedule with plans and staying busy is a security blanket away from feelings, such as sadness, anger or guilt.
Through time spent in counseling, I learned the importance of accessing your feelings instead of suppressing them.
They will come to the surface eventually, no matter how much you numb yourself to them. And for me, I learned that the things that bring me discomfort are the things that open doors for feelings to walk right in (I’m a 7 on the Enneagram okay..), meaning anything related to pain, feelings and talking about hard things. When I’m alone, whether it’s walking, sitting on the couch at home, etc., it’s a time where feelings want to be processed but my fear/discomfort wants to punch those feelings out the door.
In my practice, I journey with clients in realizing that food has become a way to mask what makes them feel uncomfortable. It can present itself in so many ways — binging to avoid the discomfort of expressing feelings, restricting to relieve discomfort with their body or controlling every bite they consume because it’s the only thing in life where control can be felt.
We are wired so uniquely. No one person is the same. So it’s normal for us to have different things that trigger discomfort, that may bring comfort to someone else. And that’s okay. I can think of so many friends who crave walks alone because of the rest and comfort it brings them.
Don’t compare your discomfort to someone else’s comfort.
One thing I’ve learned in this healing process is yes, discomfort is obviously uncomfortable. But that doesn’t mean we should run from it. There’s beauty, growth, joy and even hard, messy things found in it.
As I walk with my clients through the relationship they have with their body and food, my hope is that one day they will find comfort in something that once made them uncomfortable.
That food will become a way they feed and honor their body, and that I can help them uncover ways to wrestle through the feelings they are trying to tuck away. It’s a journey for sure, but digging into discomfort often times reveals so much strength and beauty.
So today I was reminded that doing something uncomfortable (the walk) allowed me a space to process and find peace at the end of a busy week. Know that discomfort isn’t the end. It’ll lead you to joy, rest and so much more.
I want to challenge you - do one thing that makes you uncomfortable. This could be going on a walk by yourself, trying a new food, drinking more water or having a conversation that scares you. Like I said it’s different for everyone, but you are not alone in having something that brings you discomfort. This could be one thing a day, one thing a week or one thing a year that makes you uncomfortable. Whatever it looks like for you, step into it and see the growth that comes from it. And then celebrate yourself - because it takes bravery and vulnerability to face those giants!
If you want to, please share things you did to break out of comfortable. I want to hear from you as you journey in it. And if you’re reading this and realize food is something you use to mask discomfort, I’d love to meet with you! More info that here.