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Embrace the Discomfort

Ahh our old friend "discomfort." Who enjoys it? I certainly don’t.

When something becomes uncomfortable, our instinctive response is to avoid it, to leave, to stop whatever it is that is causing the discomfort.

But looking back on the 46 years of my life, I’ve noticed a pattern -

Every uncomfortable experience in my life has led to growth - some sort of change for the better.

As a young gymnast, the fears I overcame on the balance beam translated into fearlessness in defending myself when someone teased me on the playground. And the post-workout sore muscles lead to clear gains in strength, power and flexibility.

As a runner, the same is true. Every time I've pushed through, in spite of searing pain or extreme exhaustion, I've realized an even deeper strength within myself.

Running is such a powerful metaphor for life.

But beyond the physical, the periods of emotional discomfort have been life changing.

My first marriage ended in a painful divorce. But having no idea what to do after that “failure,” and feeling such powerful devastation lead me to jump in my car and move halfway across the country to Colorado, all by myself - something I would NEVER have done pre-divorce. Yes, there were many lonely nights and loads of tears and self-doubt, but in the end, the pain from my failed marriage propelled me to an incredible change, not only of scenery, but also of who I believed I was and what I was capable of.

And then of course there was the experience of watching my dad pass. I have discussed this many times, but it bears repeating that I have never felt pain even remotely close to the pain I felt watching him take his last breath. I went into deep mourning after that. I even broke a few things in my house in fits of rage. I was mad at God and mad at life and mad at everything. Not just for taking my dad, but for stealing the last decade of his life as well.

But going through that extreme discomfort has given me so much -

I live fearlessly now, because I understand - on a soul level - that there is truly nothing to fear.

That realization gives me strength to pursue my dreams and help others do the same.

Because life is so short, and our dreams are so worth it.

So the next time discomfort strikes, fight the natural urge to flee, and instead try something new – Take a few seconds and acknowledge the pain, open your heart to the possibility that there is growth wrapped somewhere inside that discomfort. Know that the pain is temporary, but the growth is forever.

We can never go back to who we were before we were hurt. But honestly, why would we want to? The pain makes us strong, and our scars make us beautiful.

xx Jen


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