I have to get uncomfortable to grow? Not interested...
Updated: Sep 6
I woke up these last couple of days feeling very negative. As I probed the reason or reasons for this, I came to realize the my “comfort” has been disrupted. I am a “people person,” and this lock down and social distancing has taken a toll on me, as well as countless others. But like my blog post from a couple of days ago, what “me” is being impacted?
“I” or “me” is what we call ourselves. But WHAT is that? As newborn infants, they have no “personality,” meaning that they have no ideas, opinions (that eventually become crystallized into certainties, “truths,” and beliefs), no likes or dislikes, no preferences. We learn that in child and adolescent development. We learn also how to develop “false” parts of our personality that are tied to parental upbringing, traumas, successes and failures, and belief systems and then begin to search for fulfillment in what we see as missing or lacking.
One of my spiritual fathers, Thomas Keating, called it our “programs for happiness.” This is our personality’s “learned” search for the needs of security and survival, esteem and affection, power and control. It‘s the very nature of “the human condition” to seek fulfillment of these needs, creating comfort.
So, for me, the need for affection was always pursued. I see that when that need dominates me, it makes me desire it more, leading to reactions and behaviors that are not always pleasant for others around me. Did you ever feel resentful to a child or spouse because they weren’t appreciative enough? How did you respond? In my past, and even now when I’m not conscious of it, I can respond by being passive aggressive toward that person, even withhold my love and affection for them. See how it works? Tit for tat.
Coming back to life as it is at present, I am removed from those that provide that “esteem and affection.” My ego is not being fed and reminded how I make an impact. It’s like a desert. Each day seems like Ground Hog Day. I’m taking summer Greek for my seminary pursuits and it's rote memory and drills. No “meat on the bone” in terms of creativity and exchange. I do the “Dad things” and notice feeling resentful that my kids are not saying “You’re the greatest Dad in the world” on a daily basis.
American author, Neal Donald Walsch, coined the phrase that “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” The End??
Well, through resistance to this idea, then acceptance through life events, he is absolutely correct. We do not grow unless we are put in discomfort! And what better time than now in American history to be put in discomfort?
Through my years in life coaching and personal experience, human beings REALLY don’t change unless they are forced to. Something happens that we did not anticipate; something that was not part of the master plan. Relationships fail (and keep failing), we lose a job, we did not get a promotion or the position we pursued, a loss of a loved one, or a pandemic.
So, if you’re like me, and thrust into discomfort (as I expect that the majority of us are), how about join me in embracing it? If we don’t consciously choose to embrace it, our ego/personality takes over and wants to take the discomfort away. That’s its job. Subconsciously, the ego will offer blame and justification for relationship failure, convince you to pick up your phone mindlessly, grab a drink or smoke, binge watch something on tv….ANYTHING but feel the discomfort of the moment.
Let’s practice embracing the moment and saying a colossal “yes” to it. Thank you, Universe, for this discomfort. There is something I will learn from it, if I choose to see life as my teacher and not some random cause and effect system.
Simply, try to like something that you dislike. If you watch the liberal news, watch some conservative news. Or vice versa. If you can’t seem to wake up early, set an alarm, get up and go for a walk. Changing our routine can sometimes change our perspective, too. Little changes lead to big ones.
A seed has to die to its life as a seed to become what its potential is, right? If we just believe we are a seed, and nothing more, no future tree or flower will come. We must care for the seed, plant it and water it. But we do not make it grow. Something else does that. The Source of our being will see to it that if you believe you’re more than a seed, you will be. Let’s get to planting ourselves and see what happens. What do we have to lose?
How about you?