When I became a therapist, my hope was to help others get rid of, or ‘fix’, anything that caused them to be uncomfortable. Physical pain, intense emotions, troublesome relationship patterns; I wanted to get rid of it all. I thought that without discomfort clouding their vision they could do what they needed to, to be less stressed and feel better. Although this intention was rooted in wanting the best for my clients, I now know that this way of thinking couldn’t be further from being supportive.
What I began to recognize was that those that could tolerate facing things that were uncomfortable in session, left our time together feeling more calm and clear-minded. And if they could lean into the discomfort, something even bigger occurred. By listening to and interpreting the messages coming from this feeling, they could create a roadmap of not only how to address the discomfort, but how to overcome it completely by eliminating its root cause.
How is that even possible? Here’s what I’ve found:
- Discomfort tells us what to pay attention to.
Discomfort highlights what needs our attention. Take for example, you notice that after a day at work, you have pain in your foot that extends through the night. After recognizing this, your attention is devoted to figuring out what you can about that pain and discomfort. You explore the specifics of the pain, what contributes to it, and what makes it feel better. With that information, you might start enacting changes to address the pain, like switching out the shoes you’re wearing, incorporating more rest, or making an appointment to see a specialist.
The same process should be applied to stress and the discomfort paired with it. When we begin noticing what people, places, events, or situations contribute to its growth, and what helps alleviate it we have the information we need to begin making powerfully relevant changes.
2. Discomfort motivates us to make changes.
As the intensity of discomfort grows, we can use the energy that comes with it to spur us into action. Say, for example, your foot pain is back and now it reaches a level 9 out of 10. With intensity near its maximum, there’s little else that you are able to focus on as your whole world seems to wrap around doing whatever it takes to resolve the pain and discomfort. You spend time trying different pain management techniques, seeing different specialists, and researching what else might help.
Discomfort that’s paired with stress is no different. The greater our stress and discomfort grows, the more focus we can have on doing what we need to address and resolve it. By pairing this with information initially highlighted by discomfort, we have the drive and energy we need to make changes we know we need to, but hadn’t prioritized before.
Ready to begin tackling the discomfort and stress you experience? Learn how to put your new awareness to use in ‘Why I’d Rather You Be Uncomfortable – Part 2’, coming soon.
If you’re ready to begin releasing your stress and confidently stepping into life on your own terms, schedule your free pre-consultation today by clicking here or via email at Jakkie@NorthernEdgeCounseling.com.