A couple weekends ago, I was having dinner with a friend when he asked me “Do you ever not have an awesome day?” … “Like is it ever not a 12/10 for you?”
I couldn’t help but smile.
For some context, those that know me would consider me an overly optimistic person. I tend to see the good in things/people/situations. I laugh a lot. I’m pretty lighthearted. Usually hyped up about everything and nothing at all.
But his question stuck with me. And since that dinner, I’ve been thinking about how much my outlook on life has changed and what led me to my current hype state-of-mind.
My secret: Getting really good at being uncomfortable. It’s not just about leaning into discomfort, it’s about loving the shit out of it.
Let me explain.
Every single one of us has bad emotions that we run into from time to time. We all experience rejection and loss and heartbreak and shame and abandonment and anger and guilt and frustration and feeling not good enough and everything else under the sun. I’ve been there … To all those places … Far too many times.
But truthfully, there was a time in my life when I wouldn’t feel those emotions. I would engage in coping mechanisms to numb the bad stuff. I would (literally) run myself to the ground … I would starve myself … And I would bury myself in work (or tequila). Those were my personal escapes. And to some extent, they worked. The sadder I felt, the more I would distract, the better I’d feel, and the cycle repeated. But stripping myself of sadness never really allowed me to feel good either. It kinda just left me … Empty.
The reality is, you can’t be selective on what emotions you numb. If you want to feel on top of the world, you have to hang out in rockbottom for a bit. If you want to experience pure joy, you have to know what deep sorrow feels like. If you want to live a life where you get wildly excited about the little things, you have to get painfully comfortable with loss.
And this isn’t easy. It’s a natural human reaction to pull back and run the other way anytime we feel some sort of discomfort, whether physically, emotionally, or mentally. But it’s when we not just lean into discomfort, but fully embrace it, that’s where the magic happens. That’s where we build resiliency. That’s where we learn that the sky isn’t going to fall down whenever we feel bad. That’s where we understand that feeling like absolute garbage is truly the only way to increase our capacity to feel incredible.
And who doesn’t want to feel incredible?
Next time you find yourself in a dark tunnel, hang there for a bit. Pump the brakes. Don’t distract. Don’t numb. Don’t panic. Just hang out. Get curious. Feel your uncomfortable feelings. Respect them. Embrace them. And most importantly, love the shit out of them.
There’s a whole hyped up life waiting for you on the other side.