Discomfort sits in the sidecar of Not Knowing- trailing alongside, mirroring it’s every move. With the beginnings of this reemergence from Covid, these two get called over almost immediately. We may feel different, look different, and act differently, because that’s the truth- we ARE different now. That’s the tricky part about arriving at this point – the last time we were here, we were different and now we’re unsure of simply how to be, so Discomfort gets to thrive.
Although Discomfort can give us a lot of information about a situation and about ourselves, it doesn’t need to hog the spotlight. We can feel BOTH uncomfortable AND moved, cautious AND curious, anxious AND excited. We’ve created a list of 3 co-existing dichotomies, so we can begin to navigate through this newness without Discomfort monopolizing our thoughts and feelings.
1. Discomfort / Pleasure
When we watch our children take their first steps or receive an acceptance letter to go to college, we’re pleased. Both also bring along Discomfort because it’s new and we aren’t in control of the outcome, there’s so much more to it. When we recognize that we’re feeling both of these emotions at once, we’re more equipped to figure out how to move forward instead of allowing the Discomfort to shut us down, hold us back, and deprive us from joy.
2. Caution / Curiosity
There’s a lot to be wary about when it comes to restrictions being lifted (Do I still need my mask? Who can I start spending time with? What’s “safe” for me?). First off, we can each go at our own pace and gradually immerse ourselves into the activities we want to engage in- starting by dipping our toes in rather than diving headfirst. Secondly, when doing so, we can also be explorative, scoping out and getting a feel for the ground beneath us.
3. Anxiety / Excitement
These two tend to get paired up a lot, especially when we are both afraid to and drawn to do something we really want to. When we realize they can exist on the same plane, we don’t have to be pulled in either direction, but can allow both to map out the road ahead.
In the same way that restrictions are lifting and allowing us more space to explore the world as it is now, let’s not restrict ourselves to one single emotion and give ourselves the opportunity to have a fuller experience of ourselves in this new world. Remember that with Discomfort, we’ve also experienced tremendous Growth. We went into quarantine younger and fearful and we’re resurfacing wiser and stronger. We’re moving forward with caution, but proceeding nonetheless.
Catherine at Revive