As horse trainers who often help traumatized horses, we’ve learned that for the horses to truly heal we sometimes have to push them through the uncomfortable. To make them feel better, to have them live a happier life we have to get them through the uncomfortable.
There are people that believe this is wrong, we should never make a horse feel uncomfortable. That isn’t fair to them. We should always stay within their comfort boundaries and don’t let them do anything that they are not comfortable with. But is this fair? Some horses are so traumatized that a person getting close to them is out of their comfort zone. Should we just let these horses be? Is it fair to them to leave them wondering every time a person is nearby what is going to happen? Or should we address their uncomfortableness? Should we help them through it and show them that they can be comfortable with a person. These moments of more discomfort will prevent many uncomfortable times in the future. Because we’ve helped the horse through it, we shown them that there is no reason to be uncomfortable. We helped them grow.
As much as this is true for horses this is true for people. It is easy to always stay stuck in one place. It’s easy to never push others to grow. It is easy to read personal development books, to practice meditation, to learn all the lessons about this. And yes, these things will prepare you. But true growth will not happen until we actively choose the uncomfortable. Because the truth is growth is uncomfortable.
Unfortunately our brains are not helping us grow. Because growth can only happen when we choose a new situation, to do what we are scared off, and to take that step. And our instincts will tell us to avoid exactly those things as they are scary. They cause fear, and our response to fear is to run. Our brains will tell us to avoid the danger. We will never get around this. So the reality will always be growth is uncomfortable and we will not grow if we do not actively choose this uncomfortableness.
As an example I’ll be sharing this about my personal life. I’m very aware of all that I’ve wrote above, I know that to grow I have to be uncomfortable. I have surrounded myself with people who push me to grow. I have helped many horses and people through the uncomfortableness of growth. This is something I teach and blog about. However, I recently was confronted again with the difficulties of this concept and how our brains can work against us in moments when it truly matters, in the moments that will make you grow.
I am in a situation that is new to me. It’s confronting me with all my insecurities and doubts, and once again I find my brain telling me to run, because I am scared. This has caught me off guard, as I have been working on these ideas and have been practicing them for years. I was very much in a happy bubble and felt good about it. I’ve battled many of my inner demons throughout my life and didn’t think I would find myself back here again. But of course, we are never done growing. We always have lessons to learn and inner battles to fight, and it will be hard every time again. Our brains will tell us to run responding to our basic response to fear, as mine is doing right now. But I know I have to fight this, choose the uncomfortable, and I know after this I’ll find myself in my happy bubble again. I’ll be a bit stronger, with new lessons learned. I’ll grow because I choose the uncomfortable, as I will with every new situation that comes on my path. I’ll enjoy the peace and comfort in between, and every time I find myself in a new situation I’ll choose the uncomfortableness again. Because we are never done learning and growing.