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Making yourself uncomfortable: confirmation that you are changing

Business Skills Petra van den Berg

Do you want to create a new life? Then it is necessary to change something in yourself. This can be something very practical, such as learning another language because you want to live somewhere other than the Netherlands, but it can also be a change in behavior, such as training yourself to be different thinking and otherwise to do. Such a change will certainly change your life, and feeling uncomfortable is part of it.

Uncomfortable feeling

I myself experienced this in my youth when I struggled with bulimia nervosa. Literally, you can translate this to “just wanting to eat. You fill the emptiness and loneliness you feel with food. It is a gnawing feeling that you also have when you quit smoking, for example, but a hundred thousand times more intense. Pain and discomfort are relieved by eating. The body constantly craves and longs for the familiar feeling evoked by eating. It is similar to obesity, only the behavior is different.

In the case of bulimia nervosa, there is deep conditioning. That means the mind can want a lot, but the body needs to be reprogrammed to get rid of it. The subconscious mind is seated in the body and is primal, so it often acts automatically. The behavior that stems from deep insecurity and low self-esteem has become a habit, a pattern, while deep down you know and feel that it is not right. This uncomfortable feeling is also known as cognitive dissonance. You can read more about this later in this article.

Continually you are bringing yourself, unconsciously and consciously, back to the pattern you know, the behavior that feels so wonderfully familiar. Once you learn to switch from this state of survival to the state of creator, then you are really changing from your subconscious. It all worked out for me, but unfortunately I still see around me many children, as well as the elderly, struggling with eating problems.

Feeling uncomfortable is an affirmation that you are changing

It means getting out of your comfort zone, letting go of the pattern, and as scientists call it: being in the unknown. Often you feel chaos, confusion and especially discomfort, because it does not feel natural during the change process. In fact, a biological death is taking place, when in fact the new feeling and associated behavior should be natural. Therefore, it is essential to tell yourself that it is okay to feel this discomfort. Talk to yourself and especially to your body. Welcome the new feeling. Start feeling and guide yourself through it. Shift your focus and focus your energy on all the benefits of this new behavior that matches your desired identity.

Feeling uncomfortable with yourself means that you are in a process of transition; you are moving toward a new way of thinking, doing and feeling. Your personality will change and better fit the feelings and behaviors you want to express, when you are fully in your power, without addictive behaviors. You are extricating yourself from your old pattern and programming your brain in new ways, changing your body biologically and chemically. This causes the new behavior, resulting in the new wiring of your brain due to the new signals from the new genes not merging with the old pattern of the old personality and old ingrained patterns, such as bulimia nervosa or obesity.

Making yourself uncomfortable with your new identity

Whether you undergo a change practically, or emotionally. In either case, you may feel (occasionally) uncomfortable. By the way, what is interesting and fun to share with you is that when you learn a second language it does something to your sense of identity. You can even have a different identity in another language than in your native language. This is when people talk about a “split identity,” and it can sometimes feel uncomfortable. This may be because, for example, when learning a new language, you can also learn new behaviors appropriate to the culture of the country where the new language is spoken. For example, Chinese students learning English sometimes find it difficult to determine whether or not to hug someone when greeting them and find that they have different values in Chinese than in English[1].

This shows that learning new things – and especially if they involve new behaviors – can feel uncomfortable because you are stepping out of your comfort zone. It’s different than usual, and that excitement of doing something new can feel strange.

Even in people who want to exercise more fanatically, things like sweat and panting can make them feel uncomfortable. In fact, this is strange, because sweating and panting are part and parcel of exercising fanatically. It is quite normal, yet it feels uncomfortable[2]. This is then because you do not yet fully see yourself as someone who sweats and pant to work on your body.

Consistency and discomfort

In addition, you are also inconsistent with your previous behavior, which can also make you feel uncomfortable. Indeed, people have a desire to be consistent[3], to repeat patterns. Therefore, if you start consciously changing yourself, you are no longer consistent. Your environment may react to this by saying that you are not yourself, when in fact you want to be more yourself and you have previously always adapted yourself to your environment rather than to your inner desires.

Changing yourself, therefore, can also have social consequences, which can also make you feel uncomfortable. This can make it harder to change, but ask yourself: do you want to keep hanging out with people who don’t have your best interests at heart? At the same time, changing can also make you fit in better with another group of people, people you’ve always wanted to belong to.

Using discomfort as motivation for change

On the other hand, you may also be uncomfortable with how your life is, and that can motivate you to change. Especially when you can no longer say to yourself that something is nonsense, but that you really feel that something is wrong and that things need to change. That is then the time when you take action[4].

This uncomfortable feeling is also known as cognitive dissonance, as you read earlier. For example, you may feel uncomfortable smoking a cigarette because you know it is unhealthy. This is your inner self signaling that something in your life is not right and that you need to take action to correct it.

It is important not to reason away the uncomfortable feeling that something is not normal by telling yourself that your behavior is. This can disrupt entire societies [5]. It is wiser to remove the uncomfortable feeling by talking to others about it or taking training courses that allow you to make changes on your own.

Want to learn more about uncomfortable feelings and develop yourself personally and professionally? Contact me.

Warm regards,

Petra


[1] https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/document?repid=rep1&type=pdf&doi=3df575b4d5b805e0d983a0e189cb86fd8c64e3d6

[2] https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2F0278-6133.11.4.257

[3] https://www.hbs.edu/ris/Publication20Files/norton20monin20cooper20hogg20vicarious20dissonance_a0bc30c5-9d9e-4b91-b3b2-72ee20f78a9c.pdf

[4] https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/JCM-07-2017-2279/full/html

[5] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0167268194900663

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