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The Power of Uncomfortable Emotions

The Power of Uncomfortable Emotions

We are creatures of comfort. Our cozy, safe spaces both in our heads and in our physical environments can be our preferred areas of habitation, even if they keep us small, discontent, or unhappy. As long as it feels familiar and known, we often remain there, heels buried and feet rooted deeply in the steady mud of comfort. Yet, the discomfort is where the magic lies.

The beauty that comes from this space of unfamiliarity is boundless. We’ve most likely all been encouraged to move outside our comfort zones at one point or another. Most of us see this expanding as a positive endeavor, as we know that stepping off the stable, reliable platform we’ve confined ourselves to can lead us to truly incredible places. It becomes not only extremely healthy to be able to adjust to the new and unknown, but it also gives us so much power through choosing to rest in the discomfort.

The power of uncomfortable emotions is twofold, as the discomfort can spread as a result of enduring emotions that feel negative, as well as from pleasant but unfamiliar emotions.

The first strength comes from recognizing that the discomfort is a symptom of the actions you’ve been taking in your life and employing that awareness to create positive change. The second is being able to exist within the discomfort of emotions that feel pleasurable yet strange as they may have been forgotten over time and allow the new sensations to occur.

Uncomfortable emotions birth magic.

Imagine being in a job, place, or relationship you dislike, one that leaves you feeling irritated and dissatisfied. The frustration begins to boil beneath you, lights a fire below your feet, and it makes you leap. When the uncomfortable emotions become intense enough, they urge you to make a necessary change.

They tell you what is not working and where you need to go. They force you to jump from the frustration fire burning underneath you and propel yourself into something far better.

So, you quit the job you hate, for instance, and decide you must begin doing work that makes your heart sing, the work that your soul demands from you and that the world needs you to do. It may be terrifying, and storms of various emotions may collide with your body in walls of water, waves that may knock you down. And then, you rise and you leap. You get into the work you were meant to do, you feel happier and more fulfilled, and you feel so immensely grateful for the uncomfortable emotions that catapulted you into this new, far greater reality.

If the discomfort had not come, perhaps you would have let yourself stay stuck, remained in a situation that was simply fine or mediocre, and time would have wasted away.

The frustration, the anger, the sadness, the dissatisfaction, they all got you to this beautiful place. When you feel joyful, content, inspired, or passionate, you can thank the discomfort for pushing you there.

You may not have left the situation that didn’t work for you if the fire hadn’t burned fiercely enough under you with anger and irritation. If you run from the discomfort immediately, busying your mind with distractions like television or social media, you won’t be able to hear what the frustration is trying to tell you and you will remain stuck.

Not turning to a screen or a distraction and simply being present in your mind, meeting every emotion and welcoming them all into your headspace will not only lessen the control your emotions have over you, but it will also help you see where you need to go next and what you truly desire to change.

After making necessary adjustments, a new realm of uncomfortable emotions will most likely enter because you may feel unaccustomed to them. Now you are satisfied, content, and pleased with yourself for taking the leap, because look how beautifully it eventually worked out for you. Perhaps these pleasant feelings have been unknown for so long that if you can avoid self sabotaging, the unfamiliarity will leave you disoriented. Feeling uncomfortable in these ways is healthy. It means you are broadening your comfort zone and living more limitlessly. It means you are expanding into the full expression of your life and who you need to be.

Once joy, passion, and fulfillment enter your bones, fear may trickle in along with the pleasure.

Joy can be terrifying because it is the most vulnerable emotion. We often fear the ground will fall from beneath us if we allow joy into our lives, or the happiness will be ripped away once we get our grip on it.

Emotions that feel pleasant can be uncomfortable because we may feel there’s more to lose, or that we need to hold on more tightly. We want to remain where it’s comfortable, because our brains are creatures of habit. It’s ingrained in us to want to feel safe in order to survive.

However, when we no longer need to fight for survival in the same ways we did ages ago, the instinct turns to anxiety in our heads. Fear begins to rise around real or imagined threats. Our brains register the unknown with trepidation; we fear the unfamiliar because we don’t know if it’s dangerous or if we need to run from it. It becomes internalized as a threat whether it’s valid or not. We imagine the harm that could unfold if we exist in a new state of being, one defined by joy and satisfaction, but also discomfort because it’s new and scary, and we are left with heels up, ready to run.

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Sitting deep in that discomfort, leaning into it, staring the fear right in the face and holding its hand in yours, reassuring it that it’s safe to feel these new things, is how we own our power.

Staying with the foreign feelings and resting in the discomfort allows us to create vital change in our lives. If we run every time we feel uncomfortable or strange or different, we will only remain stuck in the same things that still do not work for us. Embracing the discomfort, recognizing the fear and proceeding nonetheless, and relaxing into uncertainty, is magic. Uncomfortable emotions hold immense power if you are willing to listen to them.

About the Author

Isabela Minogue

Isabela attended Lewis and Clark College, the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, and Matthew Kenney Culinary Academy. Her interests include ceramics, baking, being outside, poetry, and dancing. Her long term career goal is to do positive and loving work in the world to help people, and to inspire, lift, and spread as much light as possible to other humans.