If you can sit with discomfort, you can do anything…

It is very hard to see someone cry, doesn’t it?

We try and make them feel comfortable. Sometimes, we tell them to get over it. Other times, we comfort them, assure them and restore their hopes. We don’t have the same reaction if someone is laughing uncontrollably. It never makes us feel uncomfortable. We rejoice in the person’s joy and allow their laughter to rise and shine in us.

Why is crying any different?

Why is it so hard to sit in discomfort but so easy to sit with happy feelings?

The funny part is that just like a happy feeling, the feeling of discomfort also dissolves away after a while. But it doesn’t feel that way in the moment.

It causes us anxiety. It causes us to panic. Things seem out of control…

I feel that this “avoiding pain” is engrained in us from the very young age. Our parents have done it and their parents have done it before them… and the cycle continues.

The money makers of the world thrive in our desire to avoid pain. They show us the dream – quickly removing the acne; reversing the effects of ageing; removing any forms of trauma in one session; losing weight without exercise – the list is endless. Our desire to avoid pain is definitely making a lot of people very very wealthy.

Facebook doesn’t help either. Seeing so many people “happy” and living their lives makes us feel that somehow there is something “wrong” with us if we are not feeling ecstatic and unhappy. We forget that what we are seeing of other people is a very isolated snippet of their life.

So how does this need to “avoid pain” manifests in our lives?

We try to numb our sad feelings. We rationalise and use our brains to “get on” with our lives. We stop listening to our bodies.

The result – we still feel pain and we feel the resistance

So we try harder. We consume things that may make us feel better. We get busy. We achieve things. We try and create money, love and other things that would supposedly take the pain away.

We keep searching for happiness. The result – we still feel pain and we feel the resistance.

So we look for people to blame. If somehow, we can prove to ourselves that it’s someone else’s fault then at least, it will not feel like our own fault.

So we create reasons on how and why how other people are doing/being “wrong”.

I have been sitting in discomfort for the past couple of weeks. Sometimes, it makes me feel nauseous; my stomach turns and twists. Other times, I feel that I can’t breathe.

It’s definitely uncomfortable but it also feels quite liberating to sit in this discomfort and not knowing what to do about it. The society hasn’t taught me to deal with it so I am fumbling my way through it. The society teaches me to always be in control; to know and have the answers; to be sure of myself and to have certainty.

I have got nothing of these things and I am feeling quite proud of not knowing – I am breaking the mould.

My dear friend Robert just sent me this video and it couldn’t have been more timely. I think I am doing what he is referring to – appreciating where I am rather than not liking or trying to change.

Do you avoid pain?

How does that stop you from living?