Being Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

It has come to my awareness that I tend to put myself in situations to liven up my experiences on earth. Most of the time, those experiences aren’t really to my benefit in other departments other than adventure. I get bored easily with the monotony of everyday life and seeking out new challenges makes life a little more enjoyable. Digging a little deeper, the adventurous lifestyle tends to be associated with the myth that everyone who travels constantly or gets into trouble or is always having something going on such as the glorified busyness of capitalism is avoiding something that they find difficult to deal with. This assumption is easy to grasp at when it’s hard to understand why anyone would want a life outside of what has been given to them. But the same can be said about people who do the same thing every single day. One can avoid the pile of paperwork they have to complete by going over to Sue on the next floor to talk about that new political issue that is overanalyzed in the news. Avoidance comes at every angle and it’s okay. 

It is through instinct and natural habit to avoid anything that causes pain, frustration, boredom, or any other unwanted feeling. The growth comes, though, in sitting with what’s uncomfortable. Sitting with that feeling allows you to actually face the situation for what it is. Acceptance of one’s feelings is important for growth because it teaches you that life is more than just the good stuff. Seeing the whole picture embraces us as human beings who have a wide range of emotions and experiences. We, humans, tend to create things that help us avoid the discomfort of everyday life. It’s much easier now to be entertained to our heart's desire and be distracted by various forms of content. We allow ourselves to drift away so that we can have a one-track mind about how we want our life to play out. But this doesn’t change the way our life is set up. The television shows we watch or the conversations we engage in to avoid the unwanted doesn’t make the pain go away. At the end of the day, we all will still face what’s coming. It’s a matter of whether or not you want to take care of it now or let it hit you later. Getting into the habit of sitting with what’s uncomfortable makes the process much easier to deal with. Being comfortable with being uncomfortable gradually lessens the discomfort by making you familiar with what you’ve been avoiding. The more you face what you’re running from, however big or small, the more you get stronger and better at recognizing that what you’ve been running from isn’t as bad as you thought. You’ll see growth if you take the time to sit with yourself and see that you have everything you need to tackle anything that is coming your way.

We Are Not Our Productivity

In this capitalistic society, money is given to those who work day in and day out and sacrifice their livelihood for the sake of a company’s profits. It is believed that if a company wins money, so do its employees. But this system cannot work unless everyone is working as hard as its CEO. The problem is, that this model does not work for most people. A traditional 9-to-5 job requires you to get paid for the amount of hours you work. But the value of those hours or the results those hours bring the company does not get compensated unless a person asks for that compensation with a raise. Yet, we’ve been taught that the only way to show that you’re worth keeping in a company is through what you give to the company as if the amount of time and effort is not enough. This mindset is embodied in every speech of every successful entrepreneur or someone who “made it”: If you work as hard as me, then you’ll get that house, that big paycheck, that new car, or other material items used to show status and wealth. What is often left out of those speeches is how many connections a person had within their six degrees of separation, how they received the right opportunity at an unexpected time, or how someone else contributed to their success through financial, emotional, or physical support. The finger gets redirected to a person's lack of productivity and time management to go after what you want. This is not the case for most people. There are tons of people who are working really hard to the point of even pulling off three jobs and are still in their same financial situation. There are some people who continuously put themselves out there to the best that their resources can provide and still get very few interested investors or clients. If you’ve been doing everything that you’ve been told will bring you success and it hasn’t come, it is not you. An increase in productivity will not bring your good fortune even closer. All this mentality allows for is shame for not participating in a capitalistic system that does not benefit you. Work at your own pace. Find ways to feel good while you’re working. Focus more on creating a working style that honors you. Whether you’re all about results or putting more pep in your step when it comes to working, put yourself first and send yourself love and patience as you move through the working world.

Creating A New System of Validation

From the moment we were born, it is subconsciously ingrained into our minds that the only way one can validate their existence on this earth is to provide value to others. While this can be beneficial to the positive culture of making a difference in society, this model of validation does not always have the particular individual’s interest in mind. Within the message of giving back to help the world go round, we have, over time, created a set of standards that uphold whose existence is considered more important than others. For example, if a person’s body features match up to society’s beauty standards, they are more favored and validated. When you’ve been taught that what you give the world is not enough, how can someone justify their livelihood? This type of mentality is what causes our society to not accept or acknowledge that differences are not a negative thing. Just because something doesn’t contribute to the standards that were not put in place by the very individuals it excludes, does not mean that what they have is worthless. 

What if you don’t want or have anything to offer the world that fits in the criteria? These psychologically crafted boxes create an unwanted hierarchy to divide the benefits of a free, loving, and joyful life and reward them to those deemed deserving. This benefits the consumeristic and capitalistic systems that feed off of the insecurities set in place by not meeting these standards. It can be difficult and challenging to conceptualize one’s identity especially when it is based on the validation of others. We are often told not to seek external validation but to focus on developing it inward. However, with so many messages around us making us care about how others view us, it is almost impossible to only get validation inside ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, crafting our place in this world as individuals is very much based on how the person sees themselves. It is a matter of balancing the knowledge of the self and the perceptions of ours. 

Nowadays, self love is constantly pushed down our throats as mandatory and easily accessible. But not many conversations about self love talk about how our self esteem must start from what we think of ourselves in relation to what we’ve been told about ourselves and how much of that is warped by societal standards and obligations. So if we need both external and internal validation to feel good about ourselves, how does one create that balance? I believe the best way is to first cultivate your own standards. Rather than base your validation on whether or not you get multiple phone numbers at the end of the night, focus on the fact that you possess amazing qualities. Then you can think about the fact that these amazing qualities made people more interested in getting to know you better. It’s all about being realistic about who you are on your own terms and finding confidence in the fact that your existence is enough. You don’t need anything extra or different to be seen and respected. Validate yourself by saying to yourself everything you want others to say to you. Let your cup be three fourths full so that when you get a compliment or when you catch yourself measuring your worth, you have plenty of validation to draw from when you need it most.