The Only Way Out Is Through
How to dive into discomfort and lean into uncertainty.
Posted July 2, 2019 | Reviewed by Jessica Schrader
I used to tell myself that I would only do something once I felt comfortable.
I thought that was a healthy boundary—I thought that was the right way to go about things. Rarely does something feel comfortable, however, until we walk directly through our discomfort.
I've been meaning to get around to writing more of my book, but it hasn't felt comfortable. I've wanted to apply myself to more public speaking opportunities, but it hasn't felt comfortable. A few years ago, I wanted to start going to therapy, but it was absolutely not a comfortable thought. I was in graduate school for Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and I thought I should "have it all figured out by now," and "time heals all wounds so I'm probably fine."
How wrong I was.
When I first walked in a 12-step meeting and asked for help, it was uncomfortable.
When I had my first session with my current therapist and broke down crying, I was uncomfortable.
When I moved to a brand new town four years ago, it was uncomfortable.
When I got into a relationship after a year of intensive therapy, working on myself, and staying very far away from intimacy and commitment, it was the epitome of uncomfortable.
When I applied for the job I have today, I was sure I wasn't going to get it. If a friend hadn't basically forced me to apply, I probably wouldn't have. My interview was uncomfortable as all hell.
When I started setting healthier boundaries with those in my life, it was uncomfortable.
But my life started to become more and more full, more and more whole.
I started to become more whole.
What if I backed away from all of those experiences due to discomfort? What if I passed up on the ability to grow through my discomfort and become the woman I am today?
If I am truly trusting my gut, discomfort is part of the package. The more self-awareness I have, the more likely I am to feel a level of discomfort while stepping out of my comfort zone and into the arena of the unknown. Of vulnerability.
Every time I write a new post, I have to walk directly through my negative self-talk, self-doubt, and shame narratives about how I'm not a good writer and no one reads these anyway.
But we can't go around our fear, our pain, our discomfort.
We can try; God knows how many of us utilize avoidance techniques like alcohol or other substances, powerful defense mechanisms like denial, passivity, or life distractions like throwing ourselves into our work or our family.
Even if we put off dealing with ourselves, getting comfortable in our own skin, and processing our underlying emotional issues, they will ultimately manifest in other destructive ways.
We can look at grief as an example.
We can tell ourselves the fallacy that time heals all wounds, and convince ourselves that we will simply heal as time goes on. But do we really heal? Or does our heart become calloused as we try harder and harder to push down the unavoidable grief?
Do we build bigger, taller walls to protect ourselves against getting hurt by loss again? Or do we simply avoid the existence of a tiny hole in ourselves, which we attempt to pour anything and everything into in order to not feel?
We need to walk through the fire.
We need to confront our fears head-on.
We need to walk through our pain.
We need to walk through the discomfort of uncertainty and vulnerability, into the world of authenticity and wholeness.
We do not have to do this alone, but we do have to do this.
If you are even reading this post, something inside of you compelled you to click the link and read into the intricacies of emotional wellness. Many people will continue scrolling through their Facebook feed, but you stopped and clicked this.
What, in you, do you need to confront?
What is blocking you from doing this?
Journal. Reach out to a trusted friend. Send me an anonymous message. Get on your knees and pray. Schedule an appointment with a therapist. Do what you need to do to allow yourself to dive in.
Welcome to the journey.