The development process comprises many steps. We all begin in the unconscious stage where we don’t realize that we need to learn a new skill or a life lesson for our soul to expand. Awareness is the first and most difficult step in our authentic expansion because, as unconscious beings, we’re ignorant of the constant need for us to grow.
Abrupt change brings discomfort we never thought could surface.
When we awaken to mindfulness, we move into the uncomfortable stage of the process. The discomfort arises because our awareness means we are conscious of the need to mature, and the ego doesn’t like change. But we know that change is neutral, and for us to grow, we must transform.
My role is to help us stretch and expand into new areas. That’s part of the art of coaching, educating, and cultivating personal development. We all need assistance at times to help us deal with the discomfort of moving out of our comfort zones because life always gives us what we need for our growth.
Transitions are almost always signs of growth, but they can bring feelings of loss. To go somewhere new, we may have to leave somewhere else behind. ~ Fred Rogers
When we move out of unconsciousness into awareness, when we have an epiphany, we are excited. We become focused on this new truth, a new idea, new knowledge. The a-ha moment is an instant of time that changes our perception. We quickly move from fresh insight into a place of fear if we aren’t listening to our hearts. As we pay attention to the soul’s whispers, we can start to understand how our lives can transform from one simple thought.
For example, I realized I was causing my suffering by allowing my egoic mind to run a false narrative in my head repeatedly. I then grasped the awareness I had a choice in the stories that ran through my mind. I could reframe the stories and create a much happier life for myself.
Once I had this revelation, I saw how I had affected my past and embraced the growth process. I sat in silence to discover what all the new awareness was bringing into my life. I now had to accept the discomfort my ego was feeling.
The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness. ~ Lao Tzu
Clarity and Action
Uncomfortable feelings can plague our egoic mind. Trying to make a sensible decision during this time is difficult. We have to look for a way to gain lucidity about the insight and how to acclimate the new truth into our lives.
Clarity of thought only comes when we look within ourselves for the answers. This clearness can come through meditation, journaling, and prayer. By getting quiet, we allow our egoic voice to be silenced by listening to the soul.
After we’ve gotten quiet so we can hear our heart’s voice, we need to take action to move us out of our fixed mindset into our new awareness. This movement can be challenging because our ego tries to keep us stagnate. After all, it doesn’t like change.
My epiphany caused a lot of negative self-talk because I hadn’t comprehended this truth earlier. I had to implement a self-care plan and remind myself how powerful my words can be. With time and patience, I recognized that I became aware, exactly when I needed to because, before the insight, I couldn’t see the truth.
As I moved forward with my new state of consciousness, I had much frustration because I could see myself revert into bad habits and behaviors. But I would realize I was aware—I saw how I was acting and wanted to change. Remember, cognizance of the issue is the hardest part of the process. When we see ourselves regressing, we should be proud we aren’t asleep and unconscious of our conduct.
Growth comes from adversity. ~ Michael Huffington
Self-Care through the Discomfort
We need to be very patient with ourselves during this uncomfortable part of the growth process because it involves unlearning old limits. We need to be aware if we start to compare ourselves to others. Conformity takes away our freedom to learn. Our development is at our pace, no one else’s. My trauma experience isn’t the same as anyone else’s. So we need to focus on fostering our own evolution.
We need to remind ourselves that this discomfort is only temporary. We have proven to ourselves that we are adaptable. The actions we are taking will help solidify our new truth, and we’ll be able to disregard our old beliefs based on the new insight. We are in control of what we are becoming.
Reaching out to others and connecting authentically with them cultivates a support system to encourage us. These connections are vital to our wellbeing. Yes, we have to deal with some things ourselves, but we don’t have to do it alone. Still, during the discomfort, we feel while growing allows the new truth to take root so we can stand unsupported when we need to.
So, we have a revelation, and we are looking at our feelings. We know we are uncomfortable, but what’s causing this discomfort?
Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it. ~ Andy Rooney
Dealing with Deep Discomfort
During this time, we need to explore our feelings. Sometimes our epiphanies are painful. When I realized that my mother permitted my sexual abuse, it devastated me. I had to feel this pain because, at the time of the trauma, I didn’t. I stuffed it. I didn’t remember she was in the room watching three men rape me.
The wounded little girl in me wouldn’t believe my recalled memory. Then I got enraged. But I had to look at why I was so emotional. I was mad that I didn’t remember sooner. Then I was sad for the little girl who lost her innocence. I grieved for my lost childhood. Then I was hurt that I wasn’t worthy of my mother’s love. Otherwise, she would have protected me. I had to explore and feel each emotion.
After I recovered this memory, I spent a lot of time journaling. It was the safest way for me to express my feelings and work through them. It was an excellent way for me to release internal hostility. It helped me to organize my thoughts so I could get a clear picture of the past and determine how I wanted to move forward. We don’t want our suffering to be in vain, use it to mature.
Growth demands a temporary surrender of security. It may mean giving up familiar but limiting patterns, safe but unrewarding work, values no longer believed in, and relationships that have lost their meaning. ~ John C. Maxwell
The development process moves us out of discomfort when we can reflect on the progress we have made. Look at the small wins we’ve had along our alternative path. Seek ways to reframe the stories we told ourselves before our epiphany. Altering our perspective, we allow our hearts to move us away from the discomfort and into a place of peace. We base our future on the stories we tell ourselves about our past.
As we contemplate our a-ha moment, we need to find the life lesson we are to learn. Since we choose to have a growth mindset, and we know that the Universe provides magical and synchronistic moments, we can empower ourselves.
One of my most impactful insights recognized I had to choose to be a survivor instead of a victim. This revelation led me to redefine who I am. When I didn’t listen to the screams of my heart, my body forced me to learn how to prioritize self-care. When I remembered my mother caused my trauma, it caused me to put personal boundaries in place to protect myself.
When we look, we’ll always find the lesson we are to learn. By regaining our power, we no longer allow the ego to keep us small. We learn to step up and grow from our circumstances. No one wants to stay stuck somewhere we don’t belong.
Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. ~ Viktor E. Frankl
Now that we know the lesson, consciously decide to make the necessary changes to allow us to grow from the revelation. This decision requires us to use our new truth mindfully as we move forward. We can’t go back to our old ways of doing things. We must use our new knowledge. This change is how our discomfort can turn into substantial power.
We are intentionally taking action based on our new understanding. Progress comes from our eagerness to implement changes in our lives because of our new awareness. As we stretch ourselves and move out of our comfort zone, we plunge into the unknown. Risk lives in the unknown, but only when we dive in, can we benefit from uncomfortable feelings. As we find the courage in ourselves to be with the discomfort and learn from it, are we able to see the lessons and grow?
Don’t forget to give ourselves a small reward for doing the work to move through the uncomfortable feelings. As we complete the process, be proud of our accomplishments. Acknowledge the strength and effort that we overcame during this evolution.
All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work. ~ Calvin Coolidge
Any growth we go through means there is an ending of an old way and the beginning of something new. We need to embrace the completion. Sit with what the change means. Ponder the path we’ve walked. Celebrate who we have become because of our newfound perspective.
Being mindful and aware of our full experience serves as a reminder that we can move through the discomfort of the expansion process and come out the other side better than we dreamed. We are capable of more than we can imagine, and we can handle any future challenges that come our way.
Humanity is always developing. Personal development will continue to occur, whether we seek it out. Let’s choose to embrace the growth process, even the uncomfortable parts. A little self-care, accepting what is, and a support system will help you move through the expansion.
Change happens when you extend your reach. Your comfort zone is your enemy. As long as you play it safe, you will never become all that you are destined to be. ~ Germany Kent
As we become more conscious of our discomfort, we can see it’s our most significant opportunity for growth.