4 0 2

402 days. 402 (plus or minus… mostly minus) posts.

Tag: life

Day 219: Discomfort over Comfort

I get this funny feeling that a lot of people’s lives are spent figuring out how to be comfortable. How to have a comfortable home, a comfortable job, live with a comfortable person, eat comfortable food, wear comfortable clothes, etc.

And I’m all about comfortable stuff—especially clothing—but I think it’s really important to be uncomfortable sometimes. Here’s why:

Discomfort opens up entire worlds that you’d never know about otherwise.

In yoga, for example, there are lots of weird, uncomfortable postures that appear to be designed specifically to make the practitioner feel like a total failure. But if you stick with those contorted shapes long enough, you start to understand the difference between pain (which is something that should be avoided like the plague that it is) and the uncomfortable sensations that come with growth. If you’re gritty and patient, interesting things start to happen. Muscles you were certain had deserted you kick back into action. Stiff joints become relaxed. Hard stuff becomes easier. Dark things become lighter. And once you’re comfortable again, you’re ready and eager to try something new.

Discomfort challenges you to define yourself. 

I don’t mean “definition” in the sense that you can say with conviction that you love dogs and hate mean people. On a much deeper level, discomfort forces you to turn inward and conduct an actual self-examination. Determining why discomfort rears it’s ugly-ish head in certain situations or with certain people helps you learn more about your insecurities and passions. And acting on that knowledge puts you on a path to actual happiness, not the comfortable, “these sweatpants feel awesome” kind of happiness.

Discomfort helps you grow. 

Humans are magically built to morph. Our neurological systems are constantly learning, reorganizing and building new pathways, and our bodies can alter themselves based on what we consume and what we expend. We can adapt to new stimuli and make snap decisions based on information that is never, ever static. We’re amazing, growing creatures up until the day we die.

But without challenges and pressures, our growth opportunities diminish. The beautiful nuances of life are left unexperienced and unexplored. A life of comfort is the life of an orchestra playing the same song over and over—never exploring all the other harmonies, melodies, dips and dives it’s designed to play.

A life of comfort literally sounds terrible.

Day 3: Seven Types

Here is a list of seven types people you should probably have in your life (in no particular order):

The Unconditional. Even if you accidentally set your own hair on fire while blowing out the candles on your birthday cake, The Unconditional will still think you’re tops.

The Supportive Skeptic. You can count on The Supportive Skeptic for pretty much anything (helping you move, jump-starting your car, bailing you out of jail, etc.), but s/he is not convinced that all of your decisions are good ones. You know you’re in skeptic territory when you hear a lot of silence.

The Blunt One. Wondering if you should retire those 12-year-old jeans with the “tiny” hole near the back pocket? The answer is yes. In fact, you didn’t even have to ask, because The Blunt One has been telling you to get rid of those jeans for almost a decade.

The Internet Fiend. The Fiend knows a good meme within five seconds of its arrival on YouTube. S/he is your unending source of sloth videos, animations, auto-tunes and obscure blogs. Remember Peanut Butter Jelly Time? The Fiend invented it.

The Naysayer. Not only is that movie you suggested terrible, the coffee shop you frequent is full of fascists. The Naysayer knows more about most things than you do, and you can count on him/her to cause you an occasional epiphany (“This organic deodorant is giving me cancer!”).

The Peacemaker. Rather than debate “goose” or “grey duck,” The Peacemaker will change the game to “grey goose” to get everyone to play. S/he is happy when everyone is happy.

The Up-for-Anything. Want to leave a pile of burnt cookies on the neighbor’s doorstep? Sure! Want to glue a paper cutout of a dog to a stick and walk him around the mall? Definitely! The Up-for-Anything doesn’t care what you do together as long as it’s something.