Discomfort is the Edge of Freedom

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Have you ever found yourself suffering, and then drawing the conclusion that your suffering is proof you are not growing?

Frequently, when I struggle, I notice thoughts like: “I can’t believe I’m back here again.” or “This isn’t working.” or “I’ve done so much work on myself I shouldn’t feel like this.”

But that is like doing squats and then judging my legs as weak when they’re sore the next day.

Change is a challenge.

To rewire core habits and patterns, many of which have been in place for decades, I have to venture into unfamiliar territory. I might feel shaky, insecure, often out of control.

I scare the parts of me who are certain my old strategies are required for my safety and success. I trigger familiar beliefs like “it’s too hard,” “I can’t do this,” “this isn’t me,” and then I keep going anyway.

I require courage to try something new despite perceived risks. I have to build new neural pathways that aren’t nearly as convenient as my habituated thinking patterns.

When I’m trying something new, I don’t have the gift of mastery I had using my old strategies.  As I change, I make a lot of mistakes.

And since I am one of those people who likes to be great at things, I freak out from time to time.

But so what?

Thanks to loving, brilliant mentors, I’ve been getting more comfortable with the times of struggle. I’m learning to stop taking it so seriously or letting it mean too much.

Last week, for example, I had a melt down when my PT asked how my back was feeling. I cried for more than an hour letting the waves of frustration and helplessness move through me.

Thank goodness for her mastery, because she held loving space for all my feelings while she worked on my hip.

A past version of me would have felt embarrassed and panicked. “I’m supposed to be the coach, I shouldn’t have meltdowns like that.”

But instead, as I walked to my car all I felt was grateful. Some days I get to be the strong one, some days someone else gets to be.

Recently I watched a one year old learning to walk, which meant falling every few steps. Sometimes he laughed. Sometimes he cried.

If you are currently approaching life in a new way, DO NOT evaluate your growth in the moments you fall.

Stumbling does NOT mean you haven’t grown. It’s more likely the opposite. It might be an indication…

  • You are asking harder questions. 
  • You’re not giving in as easily to your old coping mechanisms.
  • You are paying more attention to how certain thoughts and behaviors really impact you.
  • You are truly facing your current situation and perceived limitations.
  • You’re admitting what you don’t know.
  • You’re learning to ask for help.
  • Old fears and pains are surfacing to be held in your loving awareness.
  • You’re hungry.
  • Or tired.
  • Or both.

In the Welcoming Way community, we have a saying: Discomfort is the Edge of Freedom.

We’ve noticed that in the moments we feel the weakest, if we keep going (which means breathing, feeling, facing, loving) breakthroughs can be right around the corner.


With Love,



PS – Here’s a few minute exploration to listen to in those moments when you stumble and begin to think you are not making any progress. Listen whenever you need it.


If you would like to stumble and grow in community, join our first ever Welcome to Welcoming workshop. It’s a three-hour zoom experience to learn the basic principles of Welcoming and to get support around any issue with which you’ve been struggling.