Explore Life Coaching, Patti Phillips

Is discomfort, comfortable?

If you’ve been reading some of my blogs, you’ll begin to see a pattern that many of my ideas, thoughts, and musing come to me when I am on my daily walk with my dog.

Well, today was another opportunity for a life metaphor to find its way to me. I’ve been thinking about the idea of the “comfort zone” a lot lately and what it actually takes for people to step outside of their ordinary way of being. I was thinking about this again on my walk today.

At the very moment I was pondering the concept that in order for people to make a change, they have to actually feel some discomfort, I saw ducks on the river. So what’s so unusual about that, you might ask? Well, it is the middle of winter here in Winnipeg and to say it’s been mild is an understatement. It’s been above freezing temperatures in January and there was actually melting happening on the streets. Despite this mildness, it’s been cold enough for long enough that the river has been frozen and as far as I knew, all of the geese and ducks had headed south long ago. I hadn’t seen either for a few months.

Are you uncomfortable yet?

So these particular ducks I saw today, there were four of them, had settled into an open, unfrozen spot in the river where the nearby water treatment plant discharges water. They seemed comfortable, swimming around in the water, dipping their heads in the water. But where were all the other ducks and geese if the water was so comfortable? My conclusion was that the majority of the other waterfowl simply found it too uncomfortable so they had to move on, they had to change, they were no longer willing to tolerate the discomfort. These ducks I saw today simply had a different level of tolerance for the cold and the snow. They were finding a way to deal with the discomfort.

People are the same. It’s only when we feel discomfort, are challenged, or step beyond our ordinary that we change or grow. Some people can only tolerate a little bit of discomfort and decide to make a change while others require long term pain before they change, and this is all based on one’s own perspective.

Sometimes we are taken out of our comfort zone because of external circumstances like the loss of a meaningful relationship through break-up or death, getting fired from a job, a health concern of our own or someone we care for, or some sort of perceived failure. There are other times when we choose to step beyond our ordinary, our typical way of being because we want to be in control of our growth and be purposeful about it. With these intentional growth experiences, we are then so much better prepared and practised to handle the challenges the life presents to us.

I know for me, I have done many things on purpose and of my own free will to make myself uncomfortable, knowing that I’ll learn something really valuable in the process. I’ve slept outside in the middle of winter, I’ve run marathons, I’ve posted a picture of my naked bum on my blog, and I’m running this life coaching business to help others who want to break free from their ordinary and learn to live of life that is congruent with their natural self.

I have also experiences discomfort and pain that was way beyond any of my choosing.  Loss of friends, a bully boss, a miscarriage, emergency surgeries, relationship struggles, and many others. With time to reflect and eventual acceptance, all of these experiences were my growth spurts. The greater the pain, the greater the growth.

There is always a choice to stay with the discomfort and endure the pain. Explore Life Coaching provides service that may help you to find the lessons in your life and create a path to a stronger you.

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