Life is full of it, so it’s time to get comfortable with discomfort.
The awkward. The silence. The divulgence. The stillness. The heightened emotion. The lack of exchange. The projection. It’s all very uncomfortable–to witness AND to feel.
But what if you became a badass at sitting in awkward moments? What if you were the kind of person who didn’t shrink away when things get weird or unusual? What happens when you’re OK with taboo or outside-the-box expressions of feelings–you know, like when they haven’t been trimmed and tidied and tied up with a pretty bow for a beautiful presentation?
What if you were actually comfortable in uncomfortable situations?
I’ll tell you what would happen. You’d find yourself meeting people at their most raw and true states of being–where they aren’t worried about preserving your idea of them or your ability to “handle” them.
You’d discover new parts of yourself every time you sat with the discomfort while another human struggled–bobbing and diving through the fierceness of the pain crashing over them.
You’d learn there is more to life than Taco Tuesday and beer with your buds. There’s something profound in the dark sides of humanity and you’d get to witness the uncovering of those corridors.
You’d find yourself walking taller, but with more grace; braver, but with more compassion. Life becomes more precious when you stand in the presence of pain.
Love. Honesty. Integrity. Time. These things matter more to you when you choose to wade in the waters of heartache with others.
When you decide it’s more important to lean in than seek comfort, you begin to live differently. You live less afraid of what people will “bring up” or how tense the truth will feel in the room.
When witnessing humanity becomes more important than maintaining the outcome you hoped for, the depth of your connections will become limitless.
We all just want to be seen, heard, known. When you show up when it’s uncomfortable, you offer what every human craves on a biological level. And you can bet your ass that energy will circle back and start seeing, hearing, and knowing YOU.
It’s not that complicated, but you have to be ready to push past the wall of uneasiness. Mentally prepare to hold space for your loved one before you pick up the phone or knock on their door. Set in your mind to be and give whatever THEY need in the moment (you won’t know until you show up).
Let what they are lacking lead you to fill the moment accordingly. I don’t mean enabling, I mean supporting their greater good.
If they lack words, remind them you don’t have any either. If they lack feeling, remind them of how there are no formulas with grief. If they lack calm, remind them that you won’t judge their anger. If they lack confidence, remind them that there is no right or wrong in how they feel pain.
You’re not fixing their problem. You’re not righting the wrongs done to them. You’re not carrying their decisions on your back.
You’re standing with them in the moment without absorbing their experience as your own. This is how you hold space.
You don’t allow your own experience to get involved in their experience. You don’t take over their pain with your pain. And you don’t take on their situation as your own. You can be present and reflective without immersing yourself within their circumstance.
Empathy does not require you taking their pain home with you in the form of worry, anguish, or over-involvement. Empathy only asks you to pay tribute to the magnitude of force pain carries with it. Watch over it. Observe. Recognize. Notice. Witness. These are your requirements as a supporter.
You are to be one human choosing to stand beside another human, making your presences known. This is an astronomically powerful stance in the realm of the soul.
Are you comfortable yet?