Recently I was out on my long weekend walk with my dog. Usually our walks in the morning are a quick 10 minutes, but I like to reserve at least one weekend morning to take about a 45-minute walk through the neighborhood. To keep my hands free during the walk, I took my house key off of the key chain and slid it inside my shoe. As I moved my foot around, I tried to find the perfect spot for the key so the discomfort would be less noticeable during the walk. It was to no avail. Each step prompted a shift of the key which felt like it was leaving an imprint on my foot. It finally landed in a spot which was less uncomfortable, and I proceeded with my walk. Within 15 minutes, I realized I could no longer feel the key and went into somewhat of a panic. “Did the key slip out while I was walking?” “Did I put it too close to the edge?” I stopped and took off my shoe and out slid the key. Relieved, I put the shoe back on, moving the key even further into my shoe this time to avoid a true emergency and continued my walk.
“How often do I create a welcome space for what does not serve me and leaves an imprint of hurt, pain, fear, etc. in my life?”
As I continued walking, I couldn’t help but question what I had just experienced. As uncomfortable as the key was when I initially put it into my shoe, within about 15 minutes I had grown accustomed to the discomfort so much so that I no longer even noticed it was there. It was as if my foot had grown callused to the reality of the sharp and jarring edges of the key within my shoe. I had become desensitized to the initial pain and completely forgotten about its existence. The discomfort was now normalized. As a result, there was no longer an attempt to shift, adjust, correct, or alleviate the challenge it created. I accepted the uneasiness over time and even thought something was wrong when I didn’t feel it there. I had become one with the discomfort and created a comfortable space for it to exist. As I pondered this reality, I wondered…” how often in life do I become immune to an unhealthy discomfort which is potentially harming me?” “How often do I create a welcome space for what does not serve me and leaves an imprint of hurt, pain, fear, etc. in my life?”
Where, in your life, have you normalized discomfort?
In life we encounter and endure many discomforts. It can be the relationships we are a part of that may no longer serve us; the challenges to make ends meet; physical aches and pains among many others. As educators it can be our encounters with certain colleagues; the way we feel when a particular student walks through the door; the dread we feel on Sunday evening; the sense we have when we know a lesson didn’t reach students as it should have; the comment someone made that was disrespectful to the core but we chose to ignore; or the negative self-talk we engage in on a regular basis.
I believe that life is always attempting to move us to a better version of ourselves. If we stop long enough to take stock during these discomforts, we can see the possibility for growth and a lesson. With each you encounter, life presents a choice…do you want to look fully and acknowledge the shift that is needed on your part or will you let it go this time and keep pressing forward? Will you take a moment to identify why that particular student serves as a trigger each time you see him or her, or just defend your feelings saying you won’t like all your students and that’s okay? Will you step into the temporary discomfort to let a colleague know that a comment was disrespectful so there is an opportunity to gain clarity and grow or will you opt to forgo the conversation and remain in your space of artificial peace rather than risk conflict? Been there…done that…and trying to do much better! We know that approach doesn’t work.
Acknowledgement and openness creates just enough space for a shift and eventual change.
So, let me ask you this: What have you become immune to in your life? What is your “forgotten key” What harm is silently impacting the wellbeing and course of your life? It is there whether you acknowledge it or not and it wreaks havoc as it responds to the passive permission it is given. Choose to acknowledge your “key” and proclaim that you would rather have it gone. I am certain that with just this shift in focus, life will begin to bring you answers to questions such as, “what is my next step in removing this challenge or discomfort? What is the embedded lesson that I must learn to be free of this issue?” Acknowledgement and openness creates just enough space for a shift and eventual change. Let’s choose to create that space together.
I’d love to hear how this resonates for you. Drop a comment and let’s see where this can go.
In Solidarity and Love,