Discomfort Can Be Productive

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Are you counting the minutes till 4 p.m. on Friday, and wishing that Monday was a public holiday? What’s your relationship status like? Is your man or woman treating you badly, and by that I mean, are they doing unto you, what they dare not do to themselves, especially in public? Perhaps you’ve felt the urge from time to time to call somebody’s ‘blasted’ name in the rum shop come Friday or Saturday night, while your family sat back and waited to see what sort of mood you came home in?

If you’ve identified with any of these scenarios, then I dare say, you’ve qualified. It’s time to re-evaluate your life. On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate it?

Associated with all of these miserable circumstances is a phenomenon better known to man as discomfort. It may not sound like rocket science I know, but ultimately it leads to the pain you may incur, similar to that of a hammer landing on your big toe. Discomfort can be an indicator that you have gone beyond your own status quo, and now you’re feeling the pressure.

Discomfort presents itself in two forms: productive and non-productive.

Productive discomfort’ is an essential part of any growth process. It is the kind of emotion you’ve allowed yourself to experience for the greater good. Let’s say you were a recovering alcoholic and were experiencing withdrawal symptoms. You’ve tried your best to ignore the urges of that one last drink, and it pained you to do so, but you soldiered on because you knew you were trying to become ‘clean’. In the course of all the madness associated with every addiction, you chose to distract yourself by calling a friend or seeking professional help and, in doing so, you overcame your addictive urges and reclaimed your self-control.

The flip side of that coin would be for you to have caved in and temporarily satisfied your addiction with a drink, even though there was a voice inside you saying, “don’t do it!” In ignoring your feelings of discomfort, you’d have successfully sent yourself spiralling down a path of pain and destruction, not just hurting yourself, but your loved ones as well.

Non-productive discomfort is a warning that something was not right with what you were doing, in which case you’d need to make an appropriate adjustment or the next sensation you’d be feeling would be like that of pulling your teeth out one by one… without anaesthetic. Your experience would be in the form of a hangover or even worst, killing someone while driving back from that jolly two-hour binge in the rum shop.

Now, we all have been thrown ‘make or break’ experiences in life, and working with every bad hand you’re dealt directly challenges character traits you may be lacking. It must be, otherwise why would you be feeling the discomfort of it?

I used to have a fear of speaking my mind, thinking that it was best to conform, and just keep the peace. Seeing things around me happening that I wasn’t happy with made me so frustrated, uncomfortable and conflicted. One day I woke up and realized that not only did I lose myself, but I also lost the respect of those around me by not standing up and saying something. Those days are over. Maybe your situation is more complicated than that. Sometimes how we’ve dealt with our discomfort was looking for ways to escape, other than dealing with the issue. Seek help, turn to someone you trust.

Remember, if you only did what you already knew how to do, your world would become pretty stale. Growth is an essential part of life. Discomfort lets you know that the boundaries to your world are changing. When that time comes, the universe usually helps you out. The money for graduate school appears, child-care arrangements work out, or an article about a new company catches your eye. Look for the signs. Then trust your judgment. If something told you this new opportunity was right, it probably was.

Whether it’s a dead-end relationship or a dead-end job, if you’re feeling discomforted there’s no time like the present to re-evaluate. Depending on the gravity of the situation, you could easily make that change today. Most likely, the only thing holding you back is your own emotional standing, so try to zero in on all those things that brought you discomfort, and knock them out one by one. Your feeling of discomfort is an indication that change is coming, and, maybe, the start of something productive is on the other side of this trial.


Image courtesy iStockphoto.com; kkgas.


Bahia Amarsingh

Bahia Amarsingh is a budding short story writer, who is about to publish her first book entitled, "It's Okay To Be Me". After attending the University of Central Oklahoma (US), she worked in healthcare in the US, for six years, and then settled with her husband in Dallas to raise their kids. This Trini now serves on the School Board in her community, and continues to juggle her time between work, family and her passion for reading and writing.

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