Ep 18: The Discomfort of Human Growth

Committing to change and growth will inevitably bring uncomfortable feelings. And we tend to avoid discomfort in our human experience. So we give up on our goals over and over.

And then we beat ourselves up and heap piles of judgment on ourselves for … being human.

We all do it. But there’s a better way.


What if we started getting comfortable with discomfort? What if we embraced it instead of running from it? This is the way to finally accomplish those big goals. Listen on to hear how. 

What You’ll Learn From This Episode

  • How discomfort is the currency for growth
  • You choose how much you pay for growth
  • Discomfort is a gift.

If you want help implementing the tools I teach, I would be honored to be your life coach. Working with a coach helps you to create change quicker, easier, and with more fun along the way! Are you ready to create a more Joyful Love in your own Life and Marriage? Then click here to find out more.

Mentioned On The Show:

Podcast Transcript:

Hi! This is Rachael Cunningham and you’re listening to Joyful Love, Episode 18

Hello lovelies!

I’ve returned from a week away and I’m catching up on life and work this weekend!

So I’m recording this on a sunday, which is not normal for me! But I’m excited to get this out to you this week – so I’m makin’ it happen!

But … in the mean time …

My bags are still packed and the laundry needs to be caught up … and as I walked past my suitcase earlier and noticed all the unused clothes that were packed so carefully … , I realized this time around that I really could learn to pack lighter.

I have all the what if it’s too cold or too warm … what if I want to dress up or dress down …. And even though it’s just one suitcase – half of it is totally unnecessary. And it just gives me too many choices while I’m away.

So as I travel more … I’d like to return to packing less. Thats a goal of mine … I’ll let you know how it goes next time!

This coming week, I have another goal! It’s to accomplish 80% of work in 3 days … Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. So I can have more free time for life outside of my work.

However, this is a new thing Im trying and I’m certain there will be hiccups along the way … So i’m prioritizing my own inner calm during this trial run. If I don’t finish in my allotted time … no biggie – it’s just information to learn from for next week!

Stay tuned and I’ll tell you how it’s going for me next week!

And speaking of goals and personal growth … today we’re talking about the inevitable feeling of discomfort that comes along with growth.

Have you all ever heard that saying that Discomfort is the PRICE of growth?

I love the way my teacher Brook Castillo spins this little saying …

She says that Discomfort is the currency, OR THE METHOD OF PAYMENT… Discomfort is like the credit cart that we use to pay for growth.

And the price is determined by our thoughts about the discomfort itself.

So if we run from the discomfort, or if we continue to give up and restart and give up and restart again on our goals because we don’t like the feeling… then that price we pay for growth will be a lot higher.

If this sounds familiar – I want you to know it’s familiar to all of us.

We are not taught how to process our negative feelings on our way to a better version of ourselves! We ALL do this!

Because it’s just how our brains work.

Our primitive brains do not like discomfort. They don’t like change. They don’t like the process of growth. So we naturally resist change. We view change as dangerous because anything uncomfortable must be dangerous!

So we once again … run from change.

But let’s look at it a different way – What if we decide on purpose … to allow the discomfort to be there. What discomfort is not a problem?

If we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and remember that discomfort is part of growth, we’re much more likely to keep going on our goals.

And this is true for anything from health goals to putting yourself out there for a new job, to bettering your relationships with your partner.

Discomfort paves the path to improvement in all of these areas.

But when we try to protect ourselves from it, we give up on our dreams!

Think about a toddler learning to walk … at first they’re unstable. They might fall. They’re wobbly – and they don’t fully know that they’re going to make it the 5 steps to their mama.

They have to feel the discomfort of walking before their brain catches up and says, “ok, this is what balancing is! You’re all good little guy!”

They have to feel uncertain over and over until walking feels natural!

And if their mama doesn’t let them feel it – if she always swoops in to carry the child and says, “Oh not – you’re not ready for that”

What happens?

The toddler doesn’t strengthen his legs – and he doesn’t figure out how to balance!

He needs to be carried longer and longer.

So he has to struggle at first.

The struggle is the way he gets strong.

Discomfort is inevetitable for growth.

For your relationships, health, or any part of life – discomfort is the way to grow.

Cris and I are starting this new program called The Revel right now and it’s requiring shifts in our schedules – shifts in how we work together, and a new level of trust in ourselves and our passions every single day.

Honestly – sometimes it’s uncomfortable!

But I love what we’re building together – and when something doesn’t work, or when we hit sticking points – it’s so important to remember our vision for this program – it’s important to look ahead to what we’re building, and bring that feeling of joy and passion to right now in this present moment.

The joy and passion for our own growth and for the result we’re working toward can coincide with our present discomfort.

Remembering what we’re working toward makes the present discomfort totally worth it and completely manageable!

Discomfort is not a red or yellow light telling you to stop.

It’s a green light, saying – “hey, you’re doing something right.”

And it doesn’t mean you’re always doing it perfect.

You’ll make mistakes along the way!

But that’s part of it too.

You are going to feel uncomfortable.

But Keep going. Don’t stop.

You’ll continue to figure it out.

Your brain will tell you, “this isn’t worth it.  You’ll think that Change isn’t happening fast enough. And you’ll  want to go back to status quo.

 But what if you embrace the discomfort

And next time you feel it, remind yourself that this is the currency for growth.

And the less you fight it… the less you’ll pay.

What does this look like in everyday life?

Let’s look at your relationship … If it’s been a while since you’ve connected and communicated (or even had some sexy times together)  – that first few times you try is going to feel awkward.

You might feel like total strangers at first – But If you notice that feeling of disconnection… and you’re willing to sit with it – accept that it’s there, and say – okay, of course I feel awkward right now. That’s okay – we’re learning how to communicate again – we’re learning to be intimate again… now you’re actively GROWING instead of running!

When you accept that discomfort will tag along for a bit … You stop your brain from saying, “Ahh This isn’t worth it! We’re just not compatible!”

Or let’s take one of the number one areas of resentment in long-term relationships …

if you’re working towards sharing chores more and everyday, you feel like you’re managing everyone around you to make sure they remember their chores … usually, if you’re someone like me … someone who doesn’t like managing – we tend to give up … and we say, Okay fine, it’s just easier to do it all myself!

But if you’re willing to feel the discomfort of reminding people and being consistent … and yes, managing the chores and who does what – eventually, even if it takes a year (or sometimes 5 years ) of consistency … your family will get the hang of sharing chores! You will grow – and your family will grow!

Or let’s take another area … If you’re trying to give up alcohol … that first night out with your partner or friends where everyone is drinking but you, you will feel a few things…

– embarrassment that you can’t handle your alcohol so you had to just quit it all.

  • deprivation because everyone’s having a drink but you
  • discomfort of ordering something different
  • And even fear of missing out because your brain is still telling you that alcohol makes things more fun.

I know this one first hand right now as I’ve stopped drinking alcohol this summer …

All of this together equals the feeling of discomfort …

And again, our minds think discomfort is a sign of danger – so it wants to do everything possible to avoid it.

Which is why we give up!

But what if … instead of resisting discomfort … you embrace the discomfort.

What if you dress it up and put a bow on it and decide it’s a GIFT!

It’s a beautiful gift that will get you to a better version of yourself!

It’s the currency for growth.

And the less you fight it… the less you’ll pay for that growth!

The concept that life will always be a balance of negative and positive has helped me in my own life a lot.

It’s helped me to accept the feelings that I’d normally run from.

Now I don’t know percentages … but just for the sake of it, let’s just say that 50 % of life is great and 50% is hard.

But damn, we really don’t like the hard do we?

I know I don’t. Because When we feel those negative feelings, we think something has gone wrong. So again we resist it.

And then we get angry that we feel this way. We judge ourselves and we judge our partners.


ANd when we resist the feelings, when we fight against them… We end up yelling at our partners or blaming them, or giving them the silent treatment, or talking about them behind their backs.

Or we beat ourselves up, criticize our own will-power, and give up on our goals.

But what if instead of fighting the negative feelings, we allow the feeling.

And we process the pain of the 50% negative in life.

What does that look like?

Say to yourself, “This is part of the 50/50.

THis is uncomfortable. And its part of my journey.

And remember that feeling of discomfort or pain… is going to strengthen you. It is part of growth and it is part of learning to truly connect with yourself, those around you and especially your future, wiser self!

It’s exciting to grow, friends!

And here’s what’s beautiful … it is impossible to grow without loving more.

Growth is ALWAYS about love.

Whether it’s loving yourself more or loving your partner more – allowing yourself to feel uncomfortable so that you can grow – is one of the most loving things you can do for yourself … and in turn others!

I’m seeing this with my children right now – they’re all at ages where they are tapping into discomfort to grow and move into new and bigger things for themselves.

I’m seeing it in each and every one of my private clients!

And I’m seeing it in myself …

I mentioned earlier this month that I’m learning to longboard …. And whew The discomfort every time I step on that board is pretty big….

But when I fly down the road with the wind in my hair and blow my own damn mind that I can even kind of do this?

TOTALLY and 100% worth the discomfort I feel!

So what is your goal right now?

What’s the most uncomfortable thing about it?

That discomfort is a gift.

Take it. Unwrap it.

Cherish it and

Feel it.

It is your currency to massive growth and bigger love in your life!

If you want help knowing how to lean into your own growth in this one and beautiful life you’re living …. Shoot me an email at hello@ rachael cunningham .com.

I’d love to be your coach and show you what’s possible!

Enjoy the Show?