I’ve been learning this concept for a while. That when you want to change something in your life you have go through a period of discomfort before you make that change sustainable. There’s falling down, failing, feeling your feelings, rejection, fear…all of it before you get something right. We’ve all experienced this as babies when we were learning to walk. We fell down on our butts or our faces a lot. We didn’t say well I’ve never done that before…I’ll just stick to crawling. Or it hurts when I fall down and I shouldn’t ever feel pain so I’ll just stick to crawling, thanks but no thanks. What happened in our lives that made us so afraid of pain and discomfort? Wouldn’t it be cool if we just decided on a change and then boom. Done. New habits set!
I know for me there was definitely a period of time in my childhood where I would just go for it. Jump a fence, fall off my bike, twist an ankle doing cartwheels and I would do it over and over again for the benefits of learning that new skill or having fun with my friends. There was a time where I always raised my hand in class to answer the teacher’s questions or ask questions myself. There was a time when I really believed I could do anything it took to get the things I wanted. Then along the way I became afraid. I feared rejection, looking stupid in front of other people, and not getting something right the first time. I somehow believed that if I was so smart like everyone said I was that I was entitled to get things right or it just wasn’t for me. I could no longer handle discomfort. In an effort to make myself feel better I over ate food and later in high school over drank alcohol and partied with friends. I had to buffer all of my discomfort.
As I became an adult and decided I wanted to be a dancer, I had to feel these fears and take classes anyway. I wasn’t completely aware of all the little decisions I was making but looking back I see how I chose discomfort over stagnation. I chose discomfort in class when I was afraid of a strange man touching me. I chose discomfort when I heard demeaning comments from those men on the social dance floor. I chose discomfort when my feet and back ached. I chose discomfort when I spent all my extra money on classes and competitions.
I chose change.
I moved through that river of misery to get to other side and I did not do it perfectly. There were many times I continued to buffer that discomfort with food and alcohol. It’s so easy to overeat and drink at dance events…or hell right after group classes on a Wednesday night. Feel some social anxiety? Just have a couple glasses of wine. Feel some fear of rejection before a dance competition? Just down a shot or two of vodka or tequila. Feel bad about your social dancing after a local dance? Just drive through a fast food joint to eat a burger or down a milkshake.
Through the years I’ve chosen to be conscious of these things and I’ve also chosen to be unconscious. I didn’t want to weigh myself. I didn’t want to look in the mirror naked. I didn’t look at my thoughts and feelings about life. It was just too hard.
Now I see the value in taking a long and tedious look at all of your life, all of your beliefs and all of your feelings. Why? Because that’s what drives everything you do. How you one thing is how you do everything, right? So I want to be someone who is aware of everything going on so I can take ownership of it and decide what my life is going to be about. I want to do hard things. I want to be able to look at a challenge and know that even with discomfort and pain, I can get through it and grow beyond my current capability. That breeds confidence. The more I’ve done this, the more confidence I have in myself.
So looking down the long and hard road of losing all of my extra weight, I see discomfort, physical and emotional pain, fears, and anxiety. I’m willing to do all of it to get what I want. I’ve never felt as confident in my capabilities as I do now. There have been some recent days where I see how my brain wants to retreat and forget this whole thing. It whispers, “Hey…psst! Remember how awesome it was to eat ice cream and watch documentaries? Let’s just take a load off and do that tonight.” Or it says, “Listen, you work really hard. You deserve one day off. Just go to P. Terry’s and get that caramel shake you love. You’ve earned it.” But since I’m so aware of these little tricks my brain likes to play to keep me safe, I can say “Not today, my friend. I got you.” Sometimes, that exchange goes back and forth quite a few times and it feels like ass. Sometimes, I’m very, very close to giving in. The whole time I feel such an uneasiness in my body. I feel like I’m going to jump out of my skin with anxiety. I just want to eat and get that dopamine rush to calm myself down. Make it all go away.
Instead, I just feel it out and let it go. And it always passes. Most people, including previous versions of myself, would maybe do that for a few days, perhaps a few weeks, but get to a point where it’s just “too hard” and they quit.
I’m ready to do that every single day if I have to.
Change is hard. So what?
Thanks for reading!!! I love to hear back from readers. What do you think about this topic? Have you had similar experiences? What helped you the most? Please comment below!
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