I'm Finally OK With Letting Myself Be 'Uncomfortable'

Trying to shield others from our vulnerability is a disservice to ourselves and those around us. Being uncomfortable is a part of the human experience, and it's not something we should have to hide.
01/08/2015 11:36 am ET Updated Mar 10, 2015

I'm very lucky to be someone who lives a "comfortable" life. There's always food on the table, heat in the winter, and, above all, love in the home. School has always been something that comes easily to me, and I steer clear of things that I don't know for a fact that I'm good at. Most kids want to try a bit of everything, and while I was involved in many activities when I was younger, it was rare for me to branch out. Like the year I played softball, I couldn't catch to save my life, and I was deathly afraid of the ball, which I only hit once during the season. The entire situation was grossly uncomfortable.

As it turns out, I am a person who is easily made uncomfortable. I could list the situations, but that would make me uncomfortable. Needless to say, I was really miserable for a while. I spent a lot of time in my room wishing there was an ibuprofen I could take that would stop the anxiety that seemed to be at the forefront of my mind almost constantly. The cure, of course, was right outside my bedroom door the whole time. Sometimes in life, you've just got to be uncomfortable.

I believe in being uncomfortable. I believe in being vulnerable, and I believe in being real. Amy Poehler put it best when she said:

Vulnerable people are powerful people. Great people do things before they're ready. They do things before they know they can do it...we see something, and we think, 'I think I can do that. I think I can do it. But I'm afraid to.' Bridging that gap, doing what you're afraid of, getting out of your comfort zones, taking risks like that... that is what life is.

Sure, it's easy to do what we've always done, to go through the motions, and to never try anything new. That's being alive, but is that living? I don't think so. Everything good I've gotten in life, I've gotten from a painful combination of working hard and being uncomfortable.

I don't think I'm the only person who is guilty of thinking something along the lines of "I won't try my hardest, so that when things don't turn out like I want, I won't be as disappointed." This line of thinking is a cheap shot at returning to the comfort zone, and it's dumb. Hindsight is 20-20. I performed below my ability in too many competitions because I was afraid of making myself vulnerable. Now I know that vulnerable is one of the strongest things a person can be.

Trying to shield others from our vulnerability is a disservice to ourselves and those around us. Being uncomfortable is a part of the human experience, and it's not something we should have to hide. Being candidly vulnerable will lead to a more open society. By being more open with our full spectrum of emotions, we will become more comfortable with being uncomfortable.