Moving closer to discomfort

A bed of rusty nails, pointing up

Our natural response to discomfort is to move away from it – quickly.

It’s a reflex, designed to protect us from things which make us feel bad. From the things which threaten our wellbeing.

But in many ways, it’s a maladaptive behaviour – it has not evolved to suit our currently physical or social environment. These days, how many things uncomfortable things in our life will get better if we just walk away from them?

When it comes to discomfort, we can choose to be more deliberate. We can feel it, acknowledge and then, before making a decision about what to do with it – we can choose to examine it. To understand it. To know where it comes from. What is generating it.

We’re obsessed with the provenance of our food and our clothes (where did they come from? Are they organic?), but we don’t seem to give a shit when it comes to our our feelings, especially discomfort.

Once we know where the discomfort actually comes from, then we can make better decisions about how best to deal with it.

It might be that the best thing to do is move away from it. But that should be a choice, not a reflex – and we can only make that choice, if we get closer discomfort in the first place.

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