Nov 06, 2022
For the most part, we don’t like to be uncomfortable. Our quest for comfort has led to many wonderful inventions: Air conditioners, adjustable mattresses, fleece pajamas, heated toilet seats, and macaroni and cheese. I’m not going to lie; I do love feeling warm and comfortable in my fleece pajamas when it’s cold. Anyway, we spend a great deal of our lives trying to find comfort. And there is nothing wrong with that unless our search for comfort keeps us from growing.
Growth happens when we are uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable challenges us; it forces us to adapt mentally, physically, and even spiritually. It’s okay to find pockets of comfort and reprieve in life, but it’s probably not optimal for us to try to cocoon ourselves inside of comfort. We need to expose ourselves to being uncomfortable so we can grow and adapt to the variables of life.
Being uncomfortable is our teacher.
It teaches us to solve problems, endure hardships, build strength, to find purpose.
Comfort, like a lullaby, lulls us to complacency, to sleep, and even to indifference.
When we expose ourselves to being uncomfortable, we are actually learning how to be fluid and flexible in life. When we seek to only be comfortable, we become rigid and fragile. This is true for all areas of life.
Want a stronger body? Get uncomfortable by stressing it and forcing it to adapt.
Want a stronger mind? Get uncomfortable by challenging it with new ways of thinking and introducing it to new problems.
Want a stronger heart? Get uncomfortable by trying to understand someone else’s perspective. Imagine living in their shoes, home, marriage, and experiences.
It’s all too easy to be comfortable in life and allow ourselves to shrink in body, mind, and soul. It doesn’t challenge us to grow, so our best qualities begin to atrophy. Use them or lose them, right? Next thing you know, we suffer when the temperature is greater than 72º or lower than 50º. Or maybe we forget how to do arithmetic or fail to communicate well because we have a narrow vocabulary. Or worse, maybe we dehumanize our neighbors because we only see them as avatars, tweets, and radical, asinine opinion producers on social media platforms. Being comfortable diminishes our growth potential and can rob us of our compassion.
Life is found in the textures it presents. There is nothing wrong with being comfortable, especially if the comfort is providing rest from struggle. Struggle leads to growth, and comfort can lead to recovery. Life is found both in the “good” and “bad” times. It’s found in the relaxation of comfort and the strain of discomfort. We need both to flourish.
But we need both.
We need to be uncomfortable. We need to struggle with issues, movement, grammar, thought, and beliefs. Without struggle, we can’t grow forward, we can’t shine brighter. Struggle provides us with more context and allows us to learn and experience our way through life. It makes us better. It makes us stronger. It can even make us gentler and kinder - forms of strength we were designed to yield.
You were designed to grow throughout your entire life; to learn, to love, and to shine. Growth is uncomfortable. Don’t seek a life of comfort. Be uncomfortable.
Here are some simple ways to get started:
- Make eye contact with strangers.
- Try to understand differing opinions from your own. Really, make an effort.
- Try to eat a new vegetable every day.
- Take the long way home from work.
- Have that awkward conversation with your spouse, your dad, your boss, etc.
- Walk barefoot in the grass.
- Smile at your “frienemy.”
- Stare at your body naked In the mirror and see it as a marvel instead of a disappointment.
- Forgive yourself for your past and let it go.
- Love, really try to love, your neighbor. See into them.
You can do all of this and so much more.