Do you remember your first time speaking in front of a classroom? It was always nerve-racking for me. I would always get an upset stomach and sweat profusely when I knew I had to go up and speak. We were given flash cards so that we don’t forget what to say, but I would always write my whole oral exam on those cards.
Looking back, it’s kinda ridiculous that an oral exam of 5 minutes felt like an eternity. Let’s face it, being uncomfortable sucks but that feeling of weakness can be your strength.
Here are 6 Reasons why being uncomfortable is a good thing.
Reason 1: It pushes you out of your comfort zone.
Comfort zones, everybody has one. Mine happens to be sitting on my desk writing. I can tune out the rest of the world and just focus on what is in front of me. It seems to be counter-productive to be out of your comfort zone, but actually the opposite is true. No one wants to live a life of comfort, I know you’re probably thinking ‘what the hell are you talking about?’ but just think about it for a second. Living a life in comfort makes you stagnant, you longer grow as a person and when you don’t grow, you die. Just like how a plant needs water to flourish, people need adversities. Heroes that we look up too all had a villain or something in their life that causes them to take action. That single act of courage or that villain that is threatening to end the world takes the hero on a journey and came back to save the world.
Now I know that example may not relate to you (unless you’re secretly a superhero) but the idea is still the same. When we face difficulties in our lives, we either run away or face them head on. No matter what the outcome is, facing adversities in our lives is a learning experience. You will become wiser and know that you are able to get out of your comfort zone when you need to and honestly, it kinda feels like most people aren’t able to do that. By you getting out of your comfort zone, you become the few who can actually do it.
Reason 2: It makes you feel accomplished.
Deadlines. Whether it’s homework for school, or a new project for work, deadlines are stressful. Like a ticking time-bomb, you are running against the clock making sure that everything is done or else you may have to face consequences. Some people embrace deadlines, makes them work better. I don’t know if you do the same thing, but when I write my resume I always write ‘Work well under pressure’. The truth of the matter is, I do actually work well under pressure but I hate it. It always stresses me out, I start to swear like a sailor and obviously get frustrated but, when the job is finished. I feel amazing.
Working under pressure is not a good feeling, but it does make you feel accomplished when the job is over. You can look back and say, wow I made it through that. You start to get momentum and suddenly your back at it again. It happened a lot when I used to work as a barista. A two and sometimes three hour rush in the morning, then it dies down for a bit until the second rush around lunch time. Lines of people in the store, sometimes the lines even go out of the door. I look up from my station and see an endless line of customers. I make latte after latte after latte. Each one carefully measured and milk steamed just right until the last person in the line receives their drink. Once everything has settled, then I noticed how thirsty I was, how my hand was starting to cramp from making all those drinks. I take a 5 minute break in the staff room and I nod my head feeling like I actually made everyone their drinks and received a lot of compliments. It felt good, I was good at my job.
Even though I no longer work as a barista, when I do visit coffee shops, I know how hard those guys are working just to keep everything running smoothly. Being comfortable doesn’t teach you that. You need to get out there and learn and fail, but sooner or later you will be able to get through the hardest of times. Just keep going.
Reason 3: You can meet new people.
Why do movies make it seem like meeting new people is awkward? Yeah I get that small talk can be tedious and awkward but it can open you to new experiences. Meeting new people is one of those things. It can be exciting, especially if you are new to dating or you’re going back at it after a long hiatus. Meeting new people is uncomfortable but when you get out of that comfort zone you will find that some people aren’t that bad and you might even make new friends.
We tend to put ourselves down when it comes to interacting with others. We think to ourselves, ‘They won’t like me because of this or because of that’ when in reality, no one even thought of you that way. When you put yourself down, you release this aura around you. People get a feeling that you’re being awkward with them, which in turn makes them feel awkward around you. Start by just removing negative thoughts from your mind and just say hello. There’s no harm in saying hello to somebody, if they react negatively towards you then pay them no mind. Just smile and nod and walk away, sooner or later you will find people will be more open to you. They will actually enjoy your company and tend to talk to you more often. No, you are not some hideous monster and that everyone wants to get away from you. You are a human being, and we as a species are social creatures.
I’m no scientist but I heard multiple times in my life that if you leave a baby all alone and not interact with it, the baby will die. I don’t know how they came up with this conclusion because that seems really cruel, but it does make sense. We need each other to survive, we create family, friendships, tribes and it seems unnatural to be isolated from people.
So don’t be afraid to meet new people, go out there an embrace the awkwardness but push through, who knows you might even make a friend.
Reason 4: You become more confident.
I think this is my favorite reason why you should be comfortable with being uncomfortable. You become more confident. Did you see what I wrote there? You become more confident. Confidence is a skill that is learned because I don’t believe anyone is born confident. Some people just get it earlier than others but confidence is a major key in being comfortable with your own skin.
When you start to incorporate the 3 reasons above, you start to build confidence and that aura that you emit is magnetic. You know in movies, that cheesy line that the protagonist’s crush say when they finally have the courage to ask them out or something. ‘There’s just something about you.’ They mean confidence, that sentence means that you are showing something to them that they don’t see much in other people. You have to be careful though, because there is a thin line between being confident and being arrogant. Being confident, for me, means that you can do it, whatever ‘it’ is. It means that deep down in your heart, you know that you can do what is asked of you. You are not trying to put anyone else down, you’re just being you. You’re standing up for what you believe in, that’s confidence.
It is really a powerful thing, probably the closest thing we have to a super power. By becoming more confident, you shine the light for others to follow.
Reason 5: People start to look up to you.
I talked a little bit about it on reason 4 but when you start being confident, people start looking up to you. I remember as a child, I was always in awe when the teacher asked who wants to go first when we had an oral exam. There was this one kid that always wanted to go first, he was the cool guy. Girls in my class thought he was cute and I was just amazed that he wasn’t shy being first. He would go on and do his oral presentation like a pro, and I’m over here sweating because I had to go up next.
One Day I asked why he always wanted to go first, he said ‘so I can get it over with.’ It was such a simple reason that it completely change how I do my presentations. By going first, you get it over with. People start to think that you have this unbelievable courage and people start seeing you as a go getter. Slowly, you start having a reputation of being a leader, and soon you start getting people asking you for advice. The feeling you emit becomes contagious, and whether you like it or not, people do look up to you.
Reason 6: It gets easier over time.
Like most things in life, when you do it enough, it starts to get easier over time. Being comfortable with being uncomfortable is one of those things. When you first start new experiences, it always takes a while before you get the hang of things. Eventually, you start to get into a groove and then it seems to feel natural. You start talking more confidently which in turn causes you to walk with this new determination. People start to notice you because you no longer hide who you are. Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, people can learn how to be confident and be comfortable in new situations.
We all start out as a baby, and as kids, we were more open to finding new experiences because they were actually the first time that you are experiencing them. It was easier making friends as a kid, all you had to do was go to another kid and say ‘Do you want to be my friend?’ but as we get older, that feeling slowly disappears.
We start to hide behind things, especially during our teenage years. We are at the awkward stage where are bodies are no longer a kid but it’s also not an adult. We start to change, we get pimples and our voice starts to break. We start having body odor that we never noticed before. These changes in our bodies made us uncomfortable, however we never grew out of that. For some reason, some of us still hold on to that feeling of being ashamed of ourselves long after our bodies have fully changed.
We grow up being distant adults, we become awkward in social gatherings. We have to break out of our shell and show the world who we are. Start by focusing on something that you’re good at, be laser focus on that skill. Master it, and slowly show the world. Sooner or later, people will notice your talent and they will start to see you as you are. Be proud of your skin, be proud of who you are. If there is one thing that you should take away from this blog, it’s knowing why being uncomfortable is a good thing.
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