In my previous article The Truth About Negative Emotions I talked about negative emotions like loneliness and depression, why we get these negative emotions and how to deal with them probably.
However, there are emotions which are not negative like depression or stress but they are: uncomfortable.
Like when you push yourself to wake up early in the morning, or when you force yourself to go to the gym when you don’t feel like it, during these times you will feel some uncomfortable emotions.
Or when you want to overcome shyness and improve your social skills, there will be pressure and uncomfortable emotions, like fear, and they will hold you back if you don’t deal with them probably.
Call them uncomfortable emotions or call it emotional pain. They are the emotions that you experience when you step out of your comfort zone, and if you can’t handle them you’ll go back inside your comfort zone again, and no need to remind you of what you’ll achieve there; nothing!
Procrastination and lack of discipline are nothing but a direct result of someone’s inability to handle those uncomfortable emotions.
Avoiding these uncomfortable/painful emotions will cost you a lot, I believe that the quality of your life is a direct proportion of the way you handle uncomfortable emotions.
The best example: if you are shy, you have to do some effort to face your fears and destroy your shyness by talking in social gatherings, if you don’t face those uncomfortable emotions you will never overcome shyness.
Also if you want to become successful at anything, and no matter how much you love what you’re doing, there will come a time when you don’t feel like it, and you have to push through these uncomfortable emotions to get the job done. (See: What to Do When You Run out of Motivation).
Are You Stuck in Your Comfort Zone?
Comfort zone is where you don’t push yourself to do anything, and as a result you never grow or become better.
Comfort is when you never do anything that challenges you, just sitting there watching T.V and eating junk food instead of going to the gym and eating healthy food.
Comfort is when you stay inside of your house playing video games all the time or watching porn while knowing that you need to work on your social life.
And worse, comfort is when you lie to yourself pretending that everything is OK while it’s not.
As you can see, being stuck inside of your comfort zone is the worst thing you can ever do. It means that you’re afraid of showing up and doing something about your situation.
Nothing grows inside of the comfort zone, everything dies!
Everything from your self-confidence to your motivation. It’s like a graveyard for your dreams and goals.
All the negative emotions we talked about in the previous article (depression, loneliness, anxiety …etc) are felt when you’re inside your comfort zone. In other words avoiding uncomfortable emotions (by staying inside of the comfort zone) will lead you to feel negative emotions.
On the other hand, if you want to get out of the comfort zone you need to face discomfort and uncomfortable emotions. And the harsh truth is that if you’re not welling to do that, you’ll stay inside of the comfort zone forever.
The Discomfort Zone
Discomfort zone, on the other hand, is where life really is, it’s where you grow, it’s where you achieve your goals, it’s where you build your self-confidence and it’s where you overcome your negative emotions.
Discomfort is when you force yourself to go out there and talk to people to overcome your shyness.
Discomfort is when you go out there and look fear right in the eye and do a public speech or a presentation for the first time.
Discomfort is when you force yourself to workout when it’s the last thing you want to do, is when you wake up early in the morning while everybody is sleeping to work on something that means a lot to you.
Discomfort is when you pursue what you want, even if during that pursuit everybody considered you an idiot, an outsider, an alien, a stranger, a freak, or a foolish naïve child.
Discomfort is where you learn more about yourself and the world, is where you grow as a person, where you really feel all the great feeling that you will never feel inside of your comfort zone.
Unlike negative emotions which can be treated by simply acknowledging them and taking action, uncomfortable emotions can only be handled by training and conditioning yourself to do that.
Going from comfort zone to discomfort zone can help you treat most of your negative emotions, the trick is to learn how to actually handle the uncomfortable emotions.
Most people think that there’s a magical fix for that, some technique which they can apply and suddenly be able to tolerate discomfort, let me tell you that there’s no such thing.
The only way to handle uncomfortable emotions is by training and conditioning yourself to do that, period. And looking for a quick fix to handle discomfort is actually seeking comfort.
Below I’m going to show you how to start conditioning yourself to face discomfort and pain, apply these tips and you’ll be doing yourself a great favor because this is the best skill to learn when it comes to developing yourself.
The Ugly Truth: There’s No Easy-Way nor a Quick Fix
In order to be able to handle discomfort, in order to be able to tolerate the uncomfortable feelings and emotional pain, you need to push very hard.
There’s no shortcuts.
It’s like building a strong body, training your muscles is the only way, and it won’t happen overnight.
Sure you can take steroids as a shortcut, but it’s going to backfire on the long-term.
And your ability to tolerate discomfort works the same way, you have to train it.
I don’t believe in shortcuts and quick-fixes. And if you’re serious about success or improving yourself you must realize that discomfort is a part of the process.
And there’s only one way to handle the discomfort and pain, to feel them and push through them.
I wish I know an easy way to overcome shyness, a method where you just do some visualization session and be turn immediately into a social butterfly.
I wish I know a method to immediately feel motivated when you don’t feel like doing anything at all.
I wish I know how to succeed on the first time.
I wish I know how to eliminate the fear I feel before giving a public speech.
I wish I know an effective technique to make all the emotional pain and uncomfortable emotions go away, if I had I known that, this article would have been a breakthrough.
Had I known all these things, my own journey to improve myself would have been very smooth, comfortable and easy.
Had I known that I would have shared it with you to make your journey easy too.
But I got to tell you the truth, pain is going to be there. There’s no method or technique to make the discomfort go away, you have to face it and push through it.
You know that saying about courage isn’t the lack of fear, it’s just the ability to act despite of it? It’s so damn true.
Success or self-improvement require learning how to deal with the pain, discomfort and uncomfortable emotions that come along the road, from fear to the “I-don’t-feel-like-it”.
And the only way to deal with pain is to face it and push through it, to act despite of it.
I’ll say this again and again, there’s no magical fix. You have to force yourself to face discomfort and push through those uncomfortable feelings.
The more you do that, the stronger you become.
Now that we got this very clear, conditioning and training yourself to tolerate uncomfortable emotions is the only way, let me give you some tips.
How To Train Yourself To Sit With Uncomfortable Emotions
Before we start, you will find tips that you can start applying and you can only see results from them if you are consistent and serious.
And I hope, by now, that you’re serious about facing discomfort and stepping more into your discomfort zone.
You already know deep within you that nothing will be achieved from comfort zone, that comfort zone will bring you negative emotions, and that discomfort zone is where you fulfill your dreams and build your character.
Let’s get right into it, to condition yourself to tolerate discomfort you need to do that consciously, you need to consciously realize few stuffs and make a decision.
Let me show you.
1. Consciously Put Yourself in Uncomfortable Situations
It may sound a little bit cliché to say that you need to put yourself in uncomfortable situations to train yourself to handle discomfort, but it’s totally true.
The best way to master anything is to practice it, and by putting yourself in uncomfortable situations you’re practicing your ability to handle the uncomfortable emotions that come with them.
Now look, life may force you to face some uncomfortable situations sometimes, but you can’t rely only on that, you need a better strategy for your life.
So consciously facing your fears and experiencing discomfort is a must.
That will give you a cutting edge when it comes to doing the hard things that most people are afraid of doing.
Not only you’ll get more done as a result of taking action, but also you’ll build your own strength, the more you get used to discomfort the stronger you’ll become.
The results of consciously putting yourself in uncomfortable situations are usually increased self-confidence, happiness, becoming more resilient and learning a lot of things along the road.
Why do you think so many people these days are talking about taking cold showers? The idea behind that is consciously putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation every morning.
Also there’s a challenge that I’ve come across in a sub-reddit before, basically it’s a 100 days challenge of rejection where you simply go out there and get rejected, and you do that for 100 days (not necessary in a raw).
And if that’s not enough, there are challenges which are called Comfort Zone Crushers where you do some crazy things like laying on the street, howling in public …etc.
Why do people do such crazy things? And are these things effective or not?
Well, depending on how you do it, consciously putting yourself out there can help you build self-confidence and get used to discomfort.
Now I’m not asking you to go out there and do these crazy things, you can but you don’t have to.
“Uncomfortable situations” are different for everybody, and sometimes you need to go strategically about it taking small steps instead of a big one jump.
Exposure therapy is one of my favorites, it’s where you expose yourself to the feared object in a safe and controlled environment, and in many times you need to make a small list of actions based on how scare they are, you start with the less scary items and build your way to the top of your list (the most scare).
If you think about it the concept is the same, training yourself to handle uncomfortable feelings.
So, what I want you to do is to consciously face discomfort, whatever that means to you.
Approaching people on the street, giving a presentation, getting rejected, cold showers or whatever, if it makes your heart beat, you go and do it.
And you do it consciously and consistently, otherwise it won’t work.
This way you’ll get used to facing discomfort, and you’ll be amazed by all the things that you can do when you do that, not when discomfort go away, but when you act despite of it.
Now, just make the commitment that you’re going to consciously put yourself in situations which make your heart beat fast, and you do that on a regular basis.
Not only you’ll be stronger when it comes to handling uncomfortable situations, but you’ll achieve more as a result of putting yourself out there.
2. Consciously Decide to Face Your Already Existing Uncomfortable Situations
There will be times when you don’t feel like doing anything, during these times you’re going to have an emotional battle inside of you, and that’s the battle you need to win.
Forcing yourself to work when you want to just procrastinate, waking up early in the morning to work on something important even if all you want is an extra hour of sleep.
Disciplining yourself when things get tough and you see no result from your work.
Facing your problems instead of running away from them and working on a solution.
This is not like putting yourself in uncomfortable situation, this is simply about facing the uncomfortable situations that you already have to go through.
We all have our own monsters, things that we’re afraid of doing because we believe that they’re going to be too painful or too scary, so we procrastinate and never do them.
Forcing yourself to do it when you don’t feel like it is very important, it’s going to build up your strength and it’s going to help you to be able to work more and get more stuffs done.
Just try to resist the urge to procrastinate the next time you feel it, or resist the urge to do something that you know you’re not supposed to do (binge eating, smoking …etc), and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Don’t let your emotions decide what are you going to do, just because you don’t feel like it, that doesn’t mean you can put it off, and forcing yourself to do it will make you even more resilient and stronger.
3. Consciously Realize How Important is This
Avoiding uncomfortable situations will make your life very miserable.
Sure avoiding discomfort can help you enjoy a little bit of comfort, but it comes with a price: your happiness, your character and your progress in life.
First of all avoiding uncomfortable emotions will result in making you feel the negative emotions like depression, loneliness and frustration.
Avoiding discomfort will also destroy your character and make you unable to take action and do something about your situation.
Comfort zone will make you love instant gratification and will teach you to become impatient, two things that will make you weak and unable to face life problems, and as a result collapse in front of any challenge.
And because nothing is achieved without facing some discomfort, from challenges, obstacles, setbacks or even the urges to procrastinate when you have work to do, pushing through these uncomfortable situations is a must.
You need to realize that discomfort/pain is a part of the process, face it and deal with it, nothing comes without discipline, commitment and perseverance, and those, my friend, are beautiful words but very painful things to do.
I hope by reading this article you understand how important it’s to learn to handle discomfort as it’s a part of the game, it’s the test that you need to pass.
This realization alone can make all the difference in the world. Nothing great was achieved from comfort zone, nothing.
Now, I want to mention few things in the end of this article. Important things that you need to consider.
First of all, as with anything, make small disciplines each day and stick to them.
Commit to wake up earlier each day to (do something you care about), commit to talk to more people on the next few days, commit to give a presentation, commit to take a cold shower each morning, commit to work even when you don’t feel like it, commit to have a non-procrastination day.
Commit to something, and stick to it.
And start small, don’t commit to all the things I mentioned above, pick one thing and stick to it on the next few days.
Last but not least, remember that becoming able to handle uncomfortable emotions, or becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable, is neither a goal nor a destination, it’s a process and it’s a journey.
There’s no such thing as finally “mastering discomfort”, there will be no finish line and it’s not a goal that you achieve someday.
It’s a way of living, a character trait, and a lifestyle that will assist you to achieve your goals and to reach inner peace and success.
Don’t get discouraged when you fail to face discomfort, just pick yourself up as fast as possible and get back on the track.
You’ll screw up sometimes and make some mistakes, and that’s fine as long as you keep learning from your mistakes and correcting them instead of justifying them.
Now, don’t ever let the tempting sense of comfort distract you from your goals and what you ultimately want. Don’t let the heavy feelings of discomfort to trick into thinking that you’re not strong enough to handle them.
Face pain, fight your way through it, and earn your glory.
Read more about emotions:
- I Feel Nothing: A Brief Guide on Emotional Numbness
- The Important Role of the Bad Emotions
- The Truth About Negative Emotions