How to Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

Thinking we need to be perfect before we act is a trap—but it’s one we can free ourselves from.

Image by Karla Hernandez/Unsplash

I guided the meditation with fewer words, leaving ever more space. The air seemed to crackle with restless silence. Afterwards, several students said they prefer more guidance—otherwise, they felt they were floundering. I grew curious and asked the group, “What’s wrong with floundering?”

Floundering can make you feel excruciatingly vulnerable. It feels threatening and as if you’re out of control. It drips with embarrassment, weakness, a sense of being off-kilter. Everyone’s agreed then. Avoid floundering!

But since we’ve all had to grapple with many destabilizing factors, off-kilter is what’s on the menu lately. Perhaps floundering with grace and openness is the next big skill we must learn, to be resilient in the face of uncertainty and distress.

Floundering Toward Clarity

It’s inevitable that we’ll flounder when we can’t see the way forward. We flounder until we collect enough experience to proceed with more clarity. You might flounder in the face of what you’ve never had to do before and have to figure out in a hurry. Maybe you’re suddenly homeschooling your child, reorienting your job life, or choosing to listen and learn to allow the deep and necessary work of having conversations…