The Discomfort and Rewards of Change

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it,
move with it, and join the dance.”
~Alan Watts

“I want to run away as fast as I can.”

“I want to hide under the covers for forever.”

“I want to go back to my old relationship….it wasn’t that bad.”

If you have ever had these thoughts, then you know just how uncomfortable real change can be.

We all say we want to change. And we believe it. We want to have more. More money, more fulfillment, more fun, more weight loss and more time to do the things that we really want to do.

But when we finally go for the changes that it will actually take to have a different life than the one we are currently living, we suddenly realize that true change is tough. It requires amongst other things, the ability to tolerate sitting with discomfort long enough for the change to occur. Despite what the motivational speakers tout, real change does not mostly happen in an instant or a day or two.

Real change usually takes time.

if you want somthingAt first, as you sit in the unknown and the discomfort of the unfamiliar, there may be a tendency to want to backtrack. You may find yourself saying things like, “Maybe we could make the relationship work.” Or, “Maybe they can give me a little increase and I’ll be happy.”

In most cases, what you are trying to do is to get back to the familiar zone of “comfort.” And in some cases, you will go back once more only to realize, yet again, that this is no longer a place that gives you comfort. Don’t dismay!

Research has found that change rarely occurs in a straightforward, linear sequence, and when people falter, they usually don’t fall all the way back to where they first began the journey. In fact, if viewed and used correctly, the missteps can serve as learning opportunities, helping you become better prepared for the next leg of the trip.

Common adverse effects of change that you may encounter are:

  • Feeling tired
  • Procrastination
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Confusion
  • Less productivity
  • Feeling out-of-sorts
  • Unbalanced
  • Feeling as if you are moving up against a mountain
  • Fear
  • Anxiety

As you look at this list, I am certain you can identify at least 3 good uncomfortable reasons not to change. But if you are truly interested in changing some aspect of your life, or if you simply cannot tolerate your life anymore, then change becomes inevitable. You can no longer sit in the same place or do the same thing year after year and expect to have real personal growth.

You must be willing to become comfortable or at the very least, learn to tolerate the discomforts of real change. In time, you will bust through to the other side and you will be a little bit wiser, happier and far more fulfilled.

What will you need, you may wonder, to make real, long-lasting changes?

  • Identify your obstacles to change. This is an inside job! You’ll need to spend time examining what has kept you stuck: old beliefs, lack of self-esteem, wanting to belong to your tribe (who are usually naysayers), not wanting to rock the boat, fear, fear of failure, fear of the unknown and/or fear of “leaving home.”
  • Clearly establish what you want. The clearer the picture of what you want is defined, the easier it will be to get there. Think of this like a GPS system. When we start out, we give the desired destination. Then we are given a map with small baby-steps along the way: make a right turn, now a left, now a right.
  • Courage! It will take great courage to sit with the discomfort and still keep going after your dreams. It will also take courage to totally invest yourself 100% for months and months and even years (it took me 5 years to write my first book!) and at times without much evidence of your dream materializing.
  • As you bring an unwavering dedication to yourself and to your work on a daily, moment to moment basis, you will be amazed at the gifts that come to support you in your quest.
  • Allow Persistence, Perseverance and ….. yes, Patience to be your allies in times of self-doubt, times of insecurity and times when you experience setbacks.
  • Allow Patience to be a compassionate reminder that real change usually (but not always) takes time. Sometimes, change can happen in an instant.

Payoff: You will certainly get a pay-off for all your willingness to stay the course, hard-work, dedication and commitment. You will experience a life-altering shift within yourself. You will have greater self-confidence, self-esteem and self-awareness. You will be happier with yourself and every one around you. You will know what you are made of!

To learn more visit:

About Ellen Newhouse

Ellen Newhouse is an author, healer & storyteller. She currently practices in Seattle, integrating Acupuncture with Sound Healing, Energy Medicine and Intuitive Coaching. Visit Ellen at Her memoir, “Nothing Ever Goes on Here” was published in 2014 and is available on Amazon at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *