The longest I think that I’ve sat with discomfort has been five days.
It felt horrible – I didn’t understand what it meant. I wasn’t sure at the time what I was going to do with it and the uncertainty didn’t allow me to get rid of it easily. It straddled my insides like a rodeo rider atop a bull in a show ring. And boy did I want to bolt, shake myself and throw it off. Wanting and pushing to find my freedom in the peace I knew would follow once it was dissolved, disengaged-untangled but, until that moment, it was a necessary emotion to sit with.
Even though I knew this emotion – this energy would pass, I decided that I wouldn’t try and analyse it – the honesty in it would show itself to me when it wanted to. It would be there in a flash. The best way to deal with the discomfort was to ensure that I physically got on with what I was doing, whilst it got on with causing me discomfort.
Here is an exercise to help you on your path to emotional freedom:
- Consciously stop yourself a few times a day to do an internal check.
- What am I feeling now?
- Can I allow this feeling, whether physical, emotional or spiritual, without trying to repress it or distract myself from it?
- Stay with whatever comes up, especially if you don’t like it.
- Try to label what you are experiencing. For example: tightness in the throat, muscle spasms in the low back, tension in the jaw, etc.
- Name your emotions as if you were simply observing them—anxiety, sadness, anger, resentment, grief, etc.
- Breathe into any area of discomfort, and keep drawing your breath there until you feel it relax.
What i’ve learnt about discomfort is that if you give it the time and space – by doing something different – like climbing on the treadmill for 30 mins, popping to the gym or cooking a meal – then your body/mind will allow the thought to be released, because the emotion will be freed up. This will enable you to understand what you’re being told. The insight that your body is giving you.
So next time you attempt to distract yourself from your discomfort.
Remember it is trying to tell you something and your job is figuring out the way your body is attempting to get you to hear it. If we can begin to understand our own processes – we can learn to help ourselves a lot quicker when needed.