We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time.
― Brené Brown, Rising Strong
I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day.
It feels like one more arbitrary, commercialized holiday designed to make people either jump through hoops or feel like something essential is wrong with them and their life. Maybe I’m just not a romantic.
But if you can’t imagine opting out, then what if for Valentine’s this year you give yourself the gift of discomfort?
What if, you make peace with discomfort and stop believing that messy means failure. Struggle signifies incompetence. Or imperfection proves you’re irreparably broken.
What if you stop trying to make your life Insta perfect, stop comparing yourself to filtered ideals, and ditch the lie that one day if you just work hard enough, you’ll finally arrive.
Because real life is messy and uncomfortable. A full, beautiful, magnificent life involves stress. A woman who is comfortable in her own skin, well-loved and walking in her dream, still has fears and doubts and lives in a world that can feel scary and harsh at times.
But she offers herself the gift of discomfort.
She understands there is a natural ebb and flow to life and does not put her life on hold because something bad might come her way again. She learns to flex through change, and breathe, and stop waiting for perfection to arrive on her doorstep. One day.
She practices coexisting with discomfort as she shows up fully to her messy, imperfect, beautiful life.
Like them or not, you don’t need flowers and candy to prove your partner loves you. And you don’t need a picture perfect life to know joy. All these expectations that life ought to follow the predictable script of the latest romantic comedy set you up for disappointment and a feeling of lack.
Is your discomfort growing yet?
I want to present a few more possibilities…
Discomfort in your life might be a call to growth and maturity, a call to practice deeper self-compassion, or a call to finally step out and do the work you’re called to. I wonder what will happen if you heed the call.
There will never be a day that is all perfectly neat and tidy – this might be as good as it gets. Will you take it or leave it?
It is possible to thrive and not merely survive, smack dab in the midst and muck of your discomfort (pick up your Surviving to Thriving worksheets here).
Expending all your energy trying to order your world perfectly leaves very little energy for creativity and exploration, for rest or play (ask me how I know!); I wonder what it would feel like to loosen your grip.
Asking for what you need is uncomfortable. Ask anyway.
That to-do list just keeps growing. Let it.
Your worth is not tied up in whether or not all your kids are on the right track at the same time, your marriage is smooth sailing, work is great and your neighbors adore you (AKA we can’t control other people).
After 2 or 3 decades of marriage, your partner has lost some of his lustre and steady work is required to stay connected and committed. Do the work.
Life has not turned out anything like the dreams of your youth. Decide what you’ll create with the life you’ve been handed.
A little tension or discomfort pushes you to learn something you didn’t know yesterday. How amazing is that?
For Valentine’s Day this year, don’t wait for someone to show up and swoop you off your feet. And don’t wait for life to feel slow and easy before you decide that this imperfect life of yours is worth living, wholeheartedly.
For Valentine’s Day this year, give yourself the gift of discomfort and lean in.