Pay attention to what makes you uncomfortable

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There are many things that make me physically uncomfortable — wearing wet jeans, sitting on a crease in my pants, sleeping on one side for too long — just to name a few. But there are also a bunch of situations that make my brain uncomfortable and I’ve begun to pay attention to those.

What I realized, was that many of the things that make me mentally uncomfortable are things I should be doing or things that would benefit me directly. For example, I can be a little bit too accommodating when something doesn’t go my way. If something does fit right, I might deal with it instead of return it. If a hotel room isn’t perfect, I might not say something. If a coupon is rejected, I might not escalate it to the manager if I think I have a case. I go with the flow.

But avoiding an uncomfortable situation that involves the slightest bit of confrontation is probably not in my best interest. I should do what makes me uncomfortable.

Another example is meeting new people. Once I am talking to someone I am fine. I can hold a conversation. But for some reason I feel intimidated or overwhelmed about meeting new people or starting up a conversation. This definitely makes me uncomfortable.

But starting a conversation can lead to a lot of things, like learning a bunch of new information, meeting someone cool, or finding a business prospect. All of these things are benefits, not drawbacks of talking to someone new. So why don’t I do it more often?

As it pertains to muscular dystrophy, there are times when it can feel uncomfortable asking for an accommodation or asking someone for help. I still feel this at times even though I’ve gotten much better at it in recent years. But this is something I think a lot of people feel when it comes to a disability — they don’t feel comfortable asking for help or asking for what they need. But by doing so, there is a lot to gain — independence, freedom, fun, you name it.

Overall I am starting to learn that I should definitely avoid being physically uncomfortable, but I should try to make myself mentally uncomfortable more often. In my experience, the discomfort either was unwarranted or subsided dramatically after time and practice.

What makes you uncomfortable?

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