Learning to Lean Into the Discomfort
Therapist in Bethesda, MD
Many clients who have worked with me have heard me say lean into the discomfort. I first heard this phrase at some point in my therapy training, and it was not something that I immediately gravitated toward. What does that even mean? and why would I want to do that? were likely some of the first thoughts that popped into my head. Now, I know how important this process can be. It’s something that I’ve had to practice, and is something that I encourage my clients to begin to practice.
Leaning into discomfort is, well, uncomfortable. This may mean staying quiet even when every urge in your body is telling you to fill that awkward silence. This may mean having a tough conversation with your partner, rather than avoiding it. It may mean simply allowing yourself space to feel your feelings, rather than trying to deny or hide them.
Leaning into discomfort means something different for everybody. This process is deeply personal, and takes some effort. You may know that you hate to be alone–what would it be like to spend the afternoon by yourself doing things that you enjoy? It feels vulnerable to lean into discomfort, unsafe at times. It is easier to run from discomfort or to react against it. The process of leaning into discomfort is a gradual one, and can be done in small steps.
Leaning into discomfort can open us up to things that we did not know were possible. By running from or reacting against discomfort, we often create a picture in our head of how horrible it will be. I’ll get rejected, it will be awkward, she’ll think less of me… Starting the practice of leaning into discomfort can show us how not-so-scary certain things can be after all. Though it is counterintuitive, leaning into discomfort can allow us to grow personally, gain confidence, and strengthen our relationships.
Leaning into the discomfort means being present. Today, it is easy to distract ourselves, whether it’s with food or alcohol, or just our smartphones. When we pay attention to the things that feel uncomfortable, only then are we able to change or accept them. If you don’t know how to begin this process, therapy is a great start!
Laura Golojuch provides couple, family, and individual therapy in our Bethesda, MD office. Call 240-752-7650 ext. 5, or email firstname.lastname@example.org today to set up your first appointment or a complimentary telephone consultation!