Are You Comfortable Being Uncomfortable?

Last week’s article about Human Trafficking was not the only difficult conversation I’ve had recently.

Within the last two weeks I’ve talked with trusted friends about:

  • being picky in your friendships
  • why I choose to homeschool
  • immigration
  • taking in refugees
  • patriotism
  • abortion
  • capitalism
  • specific beliefs about God and heaven (including eternal marriage, sin, and being saved)
  • shame
  • pornography
  • divorce
  • mental health issues
  • racism
  • finances
  • the concept of attractiveness
  • terminal illness

(You get the picture.)

It isn’t easy…

Honestly, sometimes it’s overwhelming. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I hope I’ve said enough. Sometimes I worry I’ve said too much. Even with the people I trust!!!

Sometimes my lack of education or expertise becomes glaringly apparent.

Sometimes I just want to take a break! (And talk about who will win this season of The Bachelor, or how I met my husband).

And all of those feelings are completely valid!

The question is: will you let that stop you?

Should we never talk about something unless we are 100% versed in all of its intricacies? Never let ourselves get red in the face? What is lost in doing so?

Or, rather, what does getting comfortable with the uncomfortable accomplish?

Perhaps:

  • Truer friendships. The more someone proves themselves to be a safe space to learn and grow, the more you can be yourself around them.
  • Stronger love. As Sam Keen said, “We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” My relationship with God, my spouse, and my friends grows when I royally screw up, yet they love me anyway.
  • Deeper knowledge. This is one of the reasons why I’m so passionate about interdenominational conversations. Learning what I don’t know strengthens my roots in what I do know, and it gives me a huge amount of respect for another person’s story and perspective. We are all different, but that isn’t a fault; it’s an opportunity to learn something new.
  • Added patience and compassion. The more you get to know someone on a first name basis, versus a label or stereotype derived from their point of view, the more patience you have for sitting with them in their feelings, even when you know you disagree.
  • Greater self-awareness. When you sit in discomfort, you are almost forced to confront exactly what you are feeling and why. Rather than brush it off or numb out, you learn to tune in to your internal compass.
This is me waxing bold…

Or, in the words of Brene Brown:

I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few.”

Allow me to reiterate: “Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity…”

Wow.

Where do I sign up?

5 Steps to Sitting with Discomfort

  1. Either assume the best, or just don’t assume. What I’m saying is, leave the labels out of it. Sometimes we assume we know what direction the conversation will go or where someone is coming from based on a stereotype: political party, ethnicity, gender, age, etc… Or even based on a popular opinion! Instead, give people the benefit of the doubt, and allow yourself to see where it is going.
  2. Get to know the person behind the point. If the conversation goes somewhere you don’t like, or someone says something you find completely ridiculous! — At least listen long enough to find out why they believe what they believe. This can often be so telling, and it allows you to disagree with compassion. Get to know people as a person and as a friend, and you will see that the issues you once thought to be black and white, may be more complex than you thought. This doesn’t mean you have to change your opinion; so don’t let fear get the better of you! It just means that you choose to come from a place a love when your values don’t align. #WWJD
  3. Get to know yourself! What are you completely rooted in, and what are you willing to be open-minded about? There will come a point when you know everything you need to know to decide where you stand Sometimes it’s best to make those boundaries clear, sometimes it’s best to keep quiet rather than rehash them, and sometimes you know there is room for change. The ball is in your court. Just get to know yourself well enough to feel comfortable making uncomfortable decisions.
  4. Learn to apologize freely, and to admit when you are wrong. In any uncomfortable situation, whether it’s a disagreement, a discussion of boundaries, or an outright confrontation, learn to be objective about yourself. Sadly, none of us is right ALL of the time. The more you can humbly admit when you are wrong, the more it matters when you decide to plant your flag.
  5. Make teamwork your go-to, rather than blame. At the risk of being redundant to one of my core beliefs, it is critically important to come at any uncomfortable situation from an angle of ME AND YOU vs. THE PROBLEM, rather than ME vs. YOU. Take a solution-based approach. In the end, the real opponent is the adversary; not your neighbor.

So, give it a try!

The more we expose ourselves to the possibility of discomfort, the more comfortable we grow with being uncomfortable. And I believe it’s worth it. How about you??

Here’s to the quiet courage it takes to know both the good and the hard in this world, and love the experience anyway.

❤ Jenny

20 thoughts on “Are You Comfortable Being Uncomfortable?

  1. Surely it’s very important to have uncomfortable conversations. None of the revolutions or change would have happened if people didn’t speak out and about the status quo. You can choose your medium, your group and even your commitment in doing so. Personally for me, I don’t do it on social media especially FB, since I realize that’s being chosen as a medium to put a sound byte to get likes rather than to be used to have an effectively knowledgeable conversation. But yes through blogging and responsible communication, you can and should learn and educate as much as possible. Great post!
    I feel like, had we be in the same town or something, I would have loved to chat with you over coffee!! 😃

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I would truly love that, meeting up in person. But, in the meantime, I’m so glad I found you here, Pallavi!!

      You make a great point about where these kinds of conversations take place. I still have Facebook “PTSD” from my postpartum days, so I’m almost never on there. I do use IG for the podcast, and I’ve met a lot of amazing women there ❤️, but my favorite ways to talk about things that matter are in person, on Marco Polo, or through writing it out here. My dear friends on WordPress have absolutely proven themselves a safe space, and you have each taught me so much as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ms Jenny I can understand all of your points and concerns. I wish we could all feel free and safe to talk about any and all things under the sun and be open, honest and try to understand the other person’s point of view. If we could feel safe to be open and vulnerable our world would benefit. We continue to pray and hope.
    Thank you for this post.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
    ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

    Great post friend! ❤️ reading your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I reckon with this. Sometimes we have to get through the uncomfortable feeling in times when we are letting out to someone new before we can know the real intent in them reaching out.

    The awkward is good at times. At least it is for a while. 😁

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s so true! This is very applicable to making friends, and being honest and genuine with each other, but also knowing when it isn’t a safe space, if , like you say it goes on too long. Thank you for sharing ❤️.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent post Jenny! I enjoyed reading this and the 5 points are really helpful. I especially like the idea of #2-get to know the person behind the point. It pays to view others with compassion and love. We may not always agree with everyone about everything but showing love never fails.

    Liked by 1 person

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