Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable
When was the last time you were uncomfortable? Not I-have-a-wedgie uncomfortable. More like the discomfort you feel when you are venturing into unfamiliar territory in your life, doing something you’re not used to, something that scares you a little (or a lot). When was the last time you felt that feeling? Has it been a while? Can you even remember the last time?
The last couple of years have been full of that discomfort for me. The last year I’ve experienced it almost daily. I previously lived a very routine, safe life. I was painfully boring and painfully bored. I also had totally wrong ideas about who I was and what I wanted. I made some crappy choices, trying to create some short-lived excitement in my life instead of attempting to fix the real problem.
I have always felt insignificant, worthless, inferior, and invisible. My actions and behaviour have always reflected that. I have worked very hard at not standing out. I avoided any situation where I might be the focus of attention. I even had trouble walking across a restaurant to go to the bathroom because I didn’t want people to look at me. It was really frickin sad.I finally pulled my head out of my ass and took an honest look at myself and my life. I was so tired of watching the days, weeks, months, and years go by and having nothing to show for it. I was tired of being a victim of my circumstances. My fear of being seen, looking stupid, and making mistakes was over powered by my fear of a wasted life.
Unfortunately, I went from one extreme to the other. Rather than easing myself into it, I jumped in head first with my eyes shut. I said yes to everything. I decided to try everything and anything new that crossed my path. I made a lot of mistakes. Tons of stupid choices. I made decisions that were way out of line with who I was because I was still trying to figure that out. After enough mistakes and enough soul searching, though, something shifted and I started to find myself.
As I stepped into new, unfamiliar experiences with people I didn’t know, I felt hugely uncomfortable. So much so that I would almost become physically sick. I remember when I went to rugby the first time. I was super unhealthy and had never played or even watched rugby. I didn’t know any of the girls and most of them were 10-15 years younger than me, super fit, and had been playing rugby since high school or longer. So many times I wanted to quit. It was hard being the slowest on the team and not knowing what I was doing. But I kept at it. It has turned out to be a life changing experience for me. It’s given me confidence. It’s gotten me in the best shape of my life. It’s given me a community of support and encouragement that I have never found anywhere else. I can’t imagine my life without it.
After a few months of this new policy of putting myself out there and being uncomfortable, the weirdest thing happened…I started to have fun. Like stupid, carefree, I-don’t-give-a-shit-what-you-think-cause-I’m-having-fun kinda fun. I found my life full of incredible, passionate, fun people who were creating adventurous, exciting lives for themselves. I stopped judging people (and myself). I let go of my expectations and opened my mind. I started wearing colorful clothes and dyed my hair bright purple. People look at me all the time now. And I don’t care.
The point of me sharing this with you is not to toot my own horn and tell you how awesome I am (though I am awesome and wildly proud of how far I’ve come), but to offer you encouragement and hope where you’re at right now. And to challenge you to step out and do something that scares the crackers out of you. And then another. And then another. Let go of what you believe you’re capable of. Don’t worry about what other people think you’re capable of. Stop taking yourself so seriously.
Wouldn’t it be better to experience everything you possibly can and have buttloads of fun and discover a bunch of new passions and meet a crap ton of exciting, inspiring people than to be comfortable?