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  • Hannah Guy, LCSW

Being comfortable with the uncomfortable

 I want to get more comfortable being uncomfortable. I want to get more confident being uncertain. I don't want to shrink back just because something isn't easy. I want to push back, and make more room in the area between I can't and I can.


-Kristin Armstrong

A common thing I hear from people is the overall desire to stop feeling depressed, anxious, sad, angry...you name it. These emotions that every human being experiences are often labeled as "bad." We label them that way for many reasons. The first one is very obvious in the fact that these emotions don't feel great. At all. In fact, a lot of the time they feel downright awful. Something that feels awful must mean it is bad. Another reason we label uncomfortable emotions as "bad" is that we are confronted with realness, with vulnerability, and our society really doesn't like that. 

Emotions at their core are ways to express what is going on inside of ourselves. Emotions have the ability to bring great depth, life, and passion as well as heartache, disappointment, and sorrow. You see, emotions are the things that bring meaning to our lives. I know we want to avoid all of the so-called "bad" emotions. But without those uncomfortable emotions, we also wouldn't be able to fully enjoy the "good" emotions. 

It's also important to understand that every emotion has a function. What I mean by this is our emotions are a way for our bodies and mind to communicate with one another. Think about it, lets just say we find ourselves incredibly irritable or insecure around a certain person. That irritability or insecurity is telling us something isn't working in that relationship. It tells us in order for us to thrive in that relationship, something needs to change.



Often times with my clients we work to understand the function of an emotion and accept when we have uncomfortable or distressing emotions. Sounds kind of counterintuitive, right? Hear me out though, the more we accept these emotions, the less power they have over us. By embracing difficult emotions, I've seen clients grow and find a deeper understanding of themselves and their purpose in the world. 


So what are you supposed to do from here?


Here are some tips that may help you take steps into owning uncomfortable emotions.


  1. when you feel an emotion you do not like. Stop. Stop what you are doing and take a deep breath.

  2. Ask yourself, why is this emotion present? what is the function or purpose of this emotion?

  3. Take another breathe and remind yourself that whatever emotion you're feeling, it will NOT last forever.

  4. Take the time to learn coping skills that you can use when emotions become too overwhelming to manage. A lot of people do this through therapy.

These are just some steps you can take. I want to remind everyone that not every step is going to work for every person. This is why it's important to seek further support through therapy to see what types of steps work for you!

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