No pain, no gain.
Usually, we think we will have to give up our time or money. We are prepared to meet these demands.
These are trinkets compared to the real price of change:
A sense of belonging
This is the real cost. This is what you will be asked to give up, to lose, at least temporarily.
Looking back over the last several years of my life, I realize that every significant step forward has come at the expense of the comfort of where I was. It seems to be a law of nature.
You cannot discover new oceans without losing sight of the shore.
Make no mistake, when the last sign of shore disappears and you find yourself bobbing in the middle of an unfamiliar ocean, it is terrifying. Even if you hated that old shore, you will suddenly long for its trees and sand and bugs and storms. You will remember it all fondly; you were the king of that damn beach!
We have to endure this moment of loss and all the fear and sadness that comes with it.
We have to give up to get more.
When we go back to school as adults, we give up the confidence of knowing who the hell we are and what we became when we grew up.
When we go into marriage counseling, we give up the comfort of knowing the rules of our relationship, who is right and wrong and how the victor is decided.
When we commit to losing weight, we give up part of our identity: funny and fat, fluffy but fun, uncomfortable in our clothes but bonded with our peers.
I posed this question on Facebook a couple weeks ago:
Eight people talked about the decisions they’ve made–to move, to go to school–and shared what they’d given up. Nearly everyone mentioned comfort or comfort zones. Nearly everyone said it was worth it.
But ooh, baby, is it hard.
I keep coming back to change being hard because I need to remind myself that resistance is a sign that I’m moving in the right direction. It’s tempting to turn away from the pain; hell, it’s instinctive! If it is so damn hard, it can’t be good, right?
We can’t use difficulty to determine whether or not we’re moving in the right direction. If we never endure the discomfort of change, we’ll never enjoy the the exhilaration of knowing it was worth it. After progress feels bad, it feels good, and we want that. I want that.
What, then, can guide us, if not our natural aversion to pain?
Our dreams, maybe. Our best versions of ourselves. The values and goals we write down when we are not afraid.
Maybe our fear. Maybe our fear and discomfort are our best guides.
We’ve just got to close our eyes and lean into it.