Everyone experiences tragedy, disappointment, and misfortune at some juncture in their lives. Yet, the how, when, who, and what of these events varies depending on the individual’s familial background, soul journey, and ancestral lineage. While some people experience hardships from birth, others may be relatively unscathed from external events as children and adolescents. Subsequently, adversities may only emerge as adulthood arrives and the process of seeking purpose and stability in all forms commences. Additionally, illnesses and conditions may manifest in your body in utero or through aging. Because of these factors, pain and discomfort can range from a small annoyance to massive life upheaval. Thus, finding comfort in discomfort may be achievable if you can find contentment along the continuum.
More than an “ouch”
No matter what, enduring physical pain feels unbearable from the moment of its inception. Depending on the origin or diagnosis, physical pain debilitates all aspects of your life whether its temporary or lifelong. Contingent upon the condition or ailment, a variety of medical, spiritual, and/or psychological treatments may alleviate or end the pain. But when pain derives from the discomfort of having to make decisions that transform your life and environment, you can learn to build up a tolerance over time.
Centrally, humans rely on a certain degree of predictability and routine in their lives. Although Eastern philosophies suggest detachment from people, things, and outcomes, achieving a high level of separation from expectations takes years of practice, presence, and purposeful thoughts. Despite having a fundamental understanding of what detachment is and how to attain it, the large majority of people will never reach fully reach it. Read more about the 5 stages of detachment here: https://www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/practice-detachment/
At the same time, being mindful that at any moment that your life circumstances can change without warning brings an awareness to the unpredictability of life. An open heart of gratitude creates an appreciation when a harmonious symphony plays out in your life. When everything in your life stabilizes, even if for just a short while, generate a flow of gratefulness and joy. Granted, it is not often that we feel that everything is just as it should be. For this purpose, foster a deep sense of peace and allow it to pervade the soul. Read more about achieving stillness in the moment here: https://tracinicolesmith.com/practicing-mindfulness-through-meditation/
Seeing the “ouch” coming
On the other hand, because life lessons assist us with learning and evolving, remaining in a predictable life pattern cannot continue without disruption. Therefore, anticipation of an eventual curve ball creates an inner knowing that everything will change, even if that thought evokes discomfort. Finding comfort in discomfort originates from embodying the acceptance of the dynamic nature of life as ever-changing.
Life situations prepare you for how uncomfortable change feels. For example: Many children/adults who are in military families understand that after a certain period of time, a move will occur. This change in scenery may occur within the country of origin or in a brand new country. Even though they know change will come, once the move arrives, the discomfort arises. In the beginning, acculturation and acclimation to a different climate and culture must be an extremely difficult circumstance. This is especially true if they were happy in their present setting. However, over time, many people who have had this experience multiple times remark that moving becomes easier each time and just part of the life. Change is a part of all of our lives.
In retrospect, some of my friends who were children of military parents remarked that even if they hated moving as a child, they can reflect upon the experiences with a fondness and appreciation. In essence, they feel that the process of acculturation and acclimation expanded their capacity to tolerate change and compelled their ethnocentrism to develop into cultural relativism. They committed to finding comfort in discomfort because once they processed their feelings, an acceptance of their new surroundings occurred. Over time, some people move through the discomfort with ease.
Realizing that “ouch” can bring “ah”
Without a doubt, the one constant in life boils down to the acknowledgement that nothing stays the same. But when an unforeseen situation crashes your bliss, time to process the pain of loss or illness may or may not bring peace. If it is ongoing physical pain, relief may only come in finding comfort in discomfort on a temporary basis. But other types of pain can be transformed. Perspective enables pain, which is actually just discomfort, to be viewed as discomfort rather than actual pain.
Nevertheless, when the discomfort evolves from an external event that changes your life circumstances and causes you to feel anxiety, finding comfort in discomfort is possible.
Ways to process discomfort in your body:
- Energy work
- Nature walks
Ultimately, experience with the discomfort you feel will incrementally decrease your reaction to it if you put things in proper perspective. Perseverating on things out of your control will only cause anxiety and stress, which is the opposite of finding comfort in discomfort. Boldly allow yourself to release anything you cannot change and give yourself room to feel your discomfort. Eventually, the peace will come.