Leaning into the Discomfort

I had something very uncomfortable happen to me on Monday.

I had been stressing, just a little, about our cel phone bill. I hadn’t really looked at it recently, wasn’t exactly sure if last month was past-due or not, and knew that it was going feel like it was more than usual because of recent service changes that we’d made. Last month I’d paid by the skin of my teeth, and usually I am taking liberal advantage of the “schedule payment” option, putting off the bill as long as possible.

But I am trying to reprogram my thoughts and worries about money, and my avoidance of the phone bill was one of the ways that I knew I was creating stress in my own mind, so I steeled my courage and opened up the website to look at my bill.

By the way, that’s not the discomfort I’m talking about leaning into.

The Strange Feeling of Success

When something goes right,
Well, it’s likely to lose me.
It’s apt to confuse me,
‘Cuz it’s such an unusual sight…
– Paul Simon, Something So Right

Not an expression I'm familiar with...
Not an expression I’m familiar with…

Like many monsters and boogiemen, in the light of day it wasn’t nearly so scary. Turns out I wasn’t behind on my bill at all. Not only that, it was actually less than I’d expected. I hit the pay now button and that’s when it hit me: I’d just paid my phone bill, in full, a day earlier than it was due.

I don’t believe I’ve ever done that. Literally ever. It gave me this strange feeling in my stomach; there’s that old question they ask in self-help situations, what will it be like when this problem isn’t there? I’ve never liked that question, because with many problems I’ve never known. This was one of them.

Now I know. And the answer is: it feels weird. I am used to having a portion of my brain always on alert, aware of the threat of having phone disconnected or of having to make some trade-off to get the phone bill paid. I am expert at making friends with representatives on the phone, and they’ve gone the extra mile for me more than once.

I’m not going to say that this is “problem solved”, or hold this up as proof that the Jar System works. No, I’m just noticing that success in goals is often uncomfortable, at least in the beginning – because I’m not used to it. And I’m recognizing that the phenomenon is one of the key reasons people slide back into their old habits – because we don’t like being uncomfortable. We need to lean into it, at first, and get used to the idea: I can do this.

How about you? Ever surprise yourself by feeling uncomfortable when things work out?

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