Normally, being uncomfortable is the last thing any of us want. But good things can come from being uncomfortable in some cases. One positive growth experience is when you intentionally go outside of your comfort zone. Whether it is meeting new people. Placing yourself in a new venue. Taking on a new technology. Or speaking in front of other people. In these new situations, we are forcing ourselves to learn and grow through experiences and encounters.
There is another way that uncomfortableness can be positive, one that I recently heard discussed in a Dharma talk by Gil Fronsdal at the Insight Meditation Center. He found himself in a situation where normal biases or prejudices would cause him to treat a particular person differently. By recognizing his uncomfortable feelings in the situation, he could stop and examine what was going on in his mind. He could deconstruct the judgments and prejudices of his mind, and then decide the best way to act in the situation. Feeling uncomfortable is a trigger, a call to action…to examine how our minds operate…and to shed any biases or prejudices that we discover.
So the next time you feel uncomfortable, stop and examine the situation and your mind. You may be presented with an opportunity to grow….either because it is a new situation for you or because it forces you to look at your biases…and to question how you live and see others.