This saying, "be comfortable with being uncomfortable," has to be one of my all-time favorite quotes right up there with Maya Angelou's famous words, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." These are such powerful words. I love these quotes as guidance to live by, and I love to recite them to others when an appropriate moment presents itself. Experts across the spectrum from the military, psychology, education, mentors, etc. will likely agree that you must live in an uncomfortable space and be OK with it from time to time.
Recently, I was at dinner with a very good friend, who also happens to be a wonderfully talented life coach and meditation expert, who inspired this post. I always love our conversations and I was explaining a personal dilemma and that I don't like to live in gray spaces. After she let me talk for a bit, she cut me off and told me, "you need to learn how to live in it for a little." I was so shocked, and even as I write this, part of me doesn't want to accept the reality that sometimes I do have to live in gray spaces and not everything is black and white.
There are some parts of life that we are able to control such as career direction and strategy, our willingness to work hard, and how we let others influence our lives. But sometimes we have to wait for decisions that affect us, such as waiting for a medical diagnosis, layoff notices or company restructuring, or whether we get a certain award for our achievements. For some this can be exciting, for others this can be a nerve-wrecking time.
However, there are some aspects where we can maintain some degree of control by taking appropriate action or by waiting patiently for some set amount of time. I can distinctly remember learning how to swim from the deep end to the shallow end (only 2 years ago). I was so nervous and anxious but I would see others who were even more fearful and channel my energy calmly to calm both of us down. With enough practice, I was well on my way to swimming from end to end without fear or reservation. But this only happened because I did the steps below.
These are my techniques for living in gray space when you're a person who loves to control:
Throughout these gray moments, allow others to support and encourage you. There is no need to suffer through it without the right kind of help. In my personal and professional experience, I've found people who were willing to help me when I needed support and mentoring. For that, I am grateful and return the favor to others who can benefit.