Who likes pain? Who likes discomfort? Who likes awkwardness? Who likes feeling uncomfortable?
Well I do. I have learned to love pain and discomfort and awkwardness and the uncomfortable.
Why do I love these feelings? These feelings have brought about the most significant learnings and growth that I am aware of. Last year I started working towards optimal health. I want to be the healthiest person I am able to be. I want to be healthy so that maybe I wont have vitiligo or not be as affected by having this disease vitiligo.
I started an exercise program three times a week. I hike regularly and luckily I am able to hike year round because I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have lost weight, gained lean muscle mass and in some areas regrown pigment, specifically on my hands. I have also lost pigment on my legs and a couple spots became evident on my chest for the first time. I feel healthy, I feel fit and now I am doing Bikram Yoga every day.
The pain and discomfort of exercise is paying off for me in the form of a healthier me. Pain and discomfort were required for me to get in shape.
This same pattern is evident in every other area of my life. A willingness to experience discomfort socially, in relationships and in my every day life is required for growth in these areas.
I had an amazing realization not so long ago. I realized I had not thought about having vitiligo in a negative way in several months. I realized that while I was shaving I was not looking at the lack of pigment around my mouth and on my neck. I did not worry about its spread over my face. I would go on dates and not worry about what someone would think. I see my reflection in a window and I see me, rather than my vitiligo. I see me not a disease.
How did this happen? I dont know exactly but I suspect that my willingness to experience discomfort and face my fears played a role. Increasing my physical activity helped I am sure. Increased social activities helped too. Also, when you hear from 5 different girls you find attractive that they find you attractive too and they noticed your vitiligo that has removed most pigment from your hands…you gain insight into other peoples thoughts.
I discovered that a smile makes way more powerful an impression that any amount of vitiligo, most times. People can only be as kind to you as you are kind to yourself. Being kind to yourself is hard too. Its a struggle that is worth the discomfort you will feel.
What can change in our lives if we let pain and discomfort to drive us forward rather than keep us down? What can we do if we practice and work and struggle to get better at being us? What lessons will you teach yourself by allowing yourself to fall into an uncomfortable situation? What will discomfort permit you to do?