Uncomfortable Situations Are Good for You
No one likes uncomfortable situations. That’s basically a given, right? However, allowing yourself to experience those less-than-ideal feelings and situations can stretch you in ways that staying in your comfort zone simply can’t. Here are five ways being uncomfortable helps you grow in new, unexpected ways.
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1. It calls into question what makes you uncomfortable.
When you’re put in uncomfortable situations, you may find that your discomfort is misplaced and you can grow and change to overcome it. For instance, perhaps you’re uncomfortable with the idea of eating in a restaurant all by yourself. Just thinking about it may make you uncomfortable to the point where you’d rather throw random things together at home instead of having a more satisfying meal outside of your house. But questioning why this situation makes you feel uncomfortable could reveal something about yourself you never considered before. And that realization helps you grow. This model works for anything that you feel uncomfortable about or disagree with.
2. It reveals how you react to discomfort.
You can’t always change your circumstances but you can change your behavior because of (or in spite of) them. When you’re put in uncomfortable situations, you discover your immediate reaction to them: Is it anger? Anxiety? A desire to run away? Whatever your knee-jerk response is, you may consider how that reaction serves you (and others around you) or doesn’t. Perhaps there is a calmer, less stressful way to respond instead. The more you experience discomfort, the better you’ll get at modifying your response to one that’s more effective and functional for you.
3. It helps you understand where your limits are.
Boundaries are an important part of every relationship we have. When we feel uncomfortable, we can start to understand where these core boundaries truly lie. These limits are important for establishing bonds with other people that are healthy and meaningful for both of you.
4. It allows you to practice patience.
It can be very difficult to find that zen place when you’re in an uncomfortable situation. For many of us, the experience of feeling discomfort makes us want to get out of Dodge—ASAP. But the more you get uncomfortable, the more you can practice sitting with those feelings that arise and learn to find patience within that feeling. Since uncomfortable situations are part of life, learning to deal with them calmly is a crucial skill you’ll utilize throughout all of your years. The sooner we start to welcome that discomfort and discover how to healthily transcend it, the better.
5. It forces you to engage in self-advocacy.
If you’re the demure type who always acquiesces to others and rarely sticks up for yourself, being in uncomfortable situations gives you the chance to get out of that behavior. When people invade your space—from your home to your emotional bubble—and you feel uncomfortable, you have two choices: take it or say something. When your default is to keep mum and hope the moment passes, being in uncomfortable situations gives you the chance to express your discomfort and learn how to stand up for yourself.
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