Learning to be comfortable with discomfort

It’s taken me a while, but I slowly feel like I’m reaching a stage again where I feel capable of pushing physical and also mental limits.

I broke my ankle at the very start of the year, and was off my feet for weeks if not months. I barely left the house for the first two months. With such dominating condition, I guess it’s not surprising in hindsight how much that would affect me physically but also mentally. I became very used to being inactive and staying in which is very different to how I usually am. It also made me feel very trapped because I didn’t feel like I could go out, it took a lot of effort for a long while.

If I had to take a stab at explaining it, I would say because I was going through such an amount of physical pain, it left me with a reduced capacity to deal with any other discomforts. So I was drawn to easy and pleasurable experiences that did bring a degree of comfort. However, a life well lived (in my opinion) is one where one must become somewhat comfortable being uncomfortable because that is where the most personal growth occurs. For example, returning to rope climbing, I have been feeling more fear of heights and falling than I did before. That fear has always been there, but in the past I’ve been able to acknowledge the fear and climb past it. With no little amount of patience, I’m finally feeling a little closer to being able to do that again.

Another avenue in my life that provides mild discomfort is my recent uptake of Spanish lessons. Learning the language has always been something I would love to do but never known quite how to make a reality. I finally decided to bite the bullet and commit to a course and so far, it’s very early days, it seems to be going well. But one thing I do recognise is that you do also have to be uncomfortable in being unable to express yourself and still be willing to learn and be corrected. It’s amazing though, if embraced, how much progress you can make in a short time.

Life does gives us all knocks, but I am glad to have been able to navigate back to this point where I am seeing more progression. The other important point, is that the healthy way to look at progression is comparisons between where you were recently (maybe like 6 months or a year ago) rather than all time. Progression is about recognising the uptrend in performance and sometimes that may have fluctuations over “all time”. It’s just something I’ve had to remind myself of in an effort to be kinder to myself.

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