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  • Writer's pictureStephen

The Good of Stress & Discomfort?

Well, it happened again.  Two conversations in one day that pointed me toward a singular idea, so it seems like I'm supposed to share this thought with you!

The first conversation was with a friend who had foot surgery several months ago in which they had some plates installed in their foot. They are scheduled to go back in for surgery to remove one of the plates, because apparently the placement of the plate wasn't allowing for enough stress or tension on the bone, so it wasn't healing properly.  Their exact words to me were, "I guess bones need stress in order to heal correctly."

The second conversation was with another friend and our mutual involvement in a large professional organization. The leaders of that institution are making some very challenging decisions right now that all seem to be motivated by a fear of change and a desire to just maintain the status quo.  Their exact words to me were, "I don't think being comfortable should be our primary goal, because real growth doesn't happen from being comfortable."

I am trying to just let those two phrases sink in.

      Bones need stress in order to heal correctly.

            Real growth doesn't happen from being comfortable.

Here is where both of these are challenging me right now.  I kind of like not having stress, and I can tell you it feels really good to be comfortable! So, my tendency is to avoid stress and discomfort, and to arrange my life so I remove them if at all possible. But I also know that most of the significant growth in my life has happened through times of stress and discomfort, so my instincts to avoid them actually work against the good they bring to my ongoing journey of growth. All of that makes me feel like I am at an impasse. However, I think there may be another way to approach this.

Rather than trying to avoid stress and discomfort (or getting extreme the other way and orchestrating it!), what if I just decided that I wasn't going to be afraid of it when it came. If I am honest, I actually think both stress and discomfort are unavoidable in our lives. I also think we don't have to look for ways to create and bring chaos into our lives because life will bring enough of it to us naturally. What I actually have control over is how I respond to stress and discomfort when they do arrive in my life. Could I look at it directly, name it for what it is, and then ask myself what I may need to learn from this?  How could my approach to stress and discomfort allow me to continue on my journey of growth?

Where are the stress points in your life right now?  How much are you trying to avoid them and what would happen if instead you looked at them directly?  What are the ways in which you are feeling discomfort and how could those be an opportunity for ongoing growth and learning?

Finally, please know, these two phrases really resonate with me right now because I think this is an area where I need to pay better attention to my own growth. So, please don't hear this as a commentary from someone who has this all figured out, but a fellow practitioner on the journey with you!

Here's to not being afraid of stress or discomfort this week (or maybe not as afraid)!

Be Well,


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