Discomfort is part of change

You know that uncomfortable feeling you get when you try something different or go against the flow and everyone looks at you like you’re crazy? Yeah, me, too.

I could go into all the science about how humans are a tribal species and we’re hard-wired for connection, and all the other stuff that’s completely true and explains why that feeling is so uncomfortable…but really. That’s not what you care about when you’re in that uncomfortable place. Understanding things intellectually is 1 thing, but what we all want is to make that uncomfortable feeling go away. We want to feel better…which often means reverting to the old behavior or going with the flow again. We get the short term comfort, and that’s where we stop.

Then we question. Did I make the right choice? Maybe it really isn’t a good idea since everyone else thought it was crazy.

Often we stay in that short term, go-with-the-flow comfort and abandon our original desires because we start to convince ourselves that we must be crazy, since everyone else disagreed.

You’re not crazy. Discomfort is a natural part of change, but nobody wants to tell you that part of the story. <—CLICK to Tweet¬†

When I first stopped eating meat, I knew it would be uncomfortable. Almost everyone I know is a happy carnivore, and I suddenly decided that I couldn’t do it anymore. My solution? It’s not the noble, self-assured “I just did it anyway, discomfort be damned” option. Nope. What I did at first was not even tell anyone. I’d politely refuse meat or order pescetarian (I still eat fish) dishes when we went out. I thought that by keeping this change a secret it’d be more comfortable. I wouldn’t have to have the conversation about the reasons behind my choice (ethical reasons) or answer the won’t you miss steak, burgers and fried chicken question (yup, they’re still yummy, I just choose not to eat them). Sure, it was usually fine in the moment, but the moment was usually short-lived.

It became harder and harder to dance around the subject, so I finally started telling people…and I got all the questions I expected, and all the funny looks, and all the concern over what they’d cook when I come over. I also got a lot of support for doing what feels right for me. I recognize this makes me very lucky,¬†but even if I had gotten a bunch of judgement and disdain, I still felt better. The short-term relief of keeping things a secret and trying to do what everyone else was doing, had worn off. Being honest and declaring my choice no longer felt crazy.

If you’re struggling with your own choices or making a change, know that you’re not crazy. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Discomfort and struggle are a part of the process, so take a nice deep breath and let yourself enjoy a little relief. You’re on the right track. Keep going.

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