How To Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable


Have you ever gotten through an entire day without feeling uncomfortable?

After suffering a panic attack before teaching a writing class at the library last month, the director from a recovery house called to ask if I would consider teaching that same class to the patients there. (“bird by bird,” word by word)

It seemed absurd, like the blind leading the blind.

Not because he was asking a recovering addict to teach other addicts who were suffering, but because he was asking a recovering addict, who has a fear of speaking in front of more than two people at a time to teach other addicts who were suffering. (What About Hope?)

Maybe I should have thought about taking a class on how to get comfortable with being uncomfortable first!

When I get uncomfortable and overwhelmed by fear, my throat tightens and my neck feels like it’s being squeezed like an unopened bottle of ketchup.

Air compresses and bottlenecks in my windpipe, making it difficult for me to talk or breathe.

While my fingers unfurl inside the palm of each hand and roll little balls of sweat into worry beads that want to choke me around my neck, my poor heart worries about failing me too, so it beats faster and harder to save me.

Fear is a powerhouse emotion.

Once the floodgates open, its power defies gravity and forces its way through me, cascading past my heart and every other organ inside of me.

As it rushes luge-like through the length of my body, it washes me in a cold cycle of sweat that rinses and collapses me in a nauseating heap of defeat.

I never knew I could stop panic attacks from happening, but now, with the exception of the occasional one that catches me off guard, I recognize the onset and rarely suffer from them anymore.

It doesn’t matter what the discomfort is – disappointment, discouragement, disillusionment, depression, doubt, defeat, dis-ease – public speaking!

It all comes from the same source in varying degrees, but the only thing that gives me a consistent reprieve – without exception – is surrender.

A spiritual tool that I didn’t know existed.

I have to completely surrender.

Why Surrender?

Because my panic attacks became unmanageable.

I perceived them to be a real and viable threat to my well-being, instead of the illusions that they were.

I didn’t understand that my free-floating fear was irrational, so I was out of my element trying to fight back a gladiator when I was armed with only a bottle of bubbles.

Now I surrender with my bubbles-in-a-bottle to the powerhouse gladiator who looms over me, wielding his fear of the unknown in my face.

I blow bubbles in his face of fear and reclaim my power.


I practice reclaiming my power to some degree by surrendering over and over again.

How Do I Surrender?

I pray.

I stop whatever I’m doing, wherever I am and I pray.

I grab onto something sturdy to steady myself and I pray.

I tell myself to breathe in peace and breathe out fear and I pray:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I knew I had to show up for my class of students at the library.

And I wanted too, so I just kept following my breaths – praying – until my breaths got deeper and my fears got smaller.

I reminded myself that I wasn’t alone, that I had to surrender my fears to something that was greater than myself.

Surrendering is not an act of weakness, but an act of strength.

It empowers me and fortifies my faith in an absolute positive outcome.

It reminds me that things aren’t so much falling apart because I’m uncomfortable or afraid, but that they’re changing for the better because I’m more comfortable and less afraid.

It’s unrealistic and prideful to think that any day should be perfect or that it should be free of pain and suffering.

Pain and suffering are part of our humanness and I’m human, and no where near perfect.

It’s humbling.

It’s taken me years to realize I can’t go it alone, that I need to ask for help sometimes, but I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of something greater than myself a long time ago.

It’s why I’m able to show up for others today.

So here’s to getting comfortable with being uncomfortable and surrendering our fears to our faith, and, to the in-patient-drug-addict-alcoholic at the recovery center who refused to participate in my writing class because he said his life was perfect!

I told you life is absurd.

Until next time, please let me know what you do to get comfortable when you’re uncomfortable in the comment section below.

I’ve got family coming into town next week and that’s enough to throw any rational human being into a panic!

Cheers to showing up and finding humor in your day. It really is the weapon against all absurdity.





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14 Responses to “How To Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable”

  1. KimberleeDecember 30, 2016 at 3:47 pm #

    Wow. I love how you are always willing to ‘put it out there’, Mo. Such helpful thoughts by you, and others, that I will share with my little 10 year old worry-wart. xo

    • MO VEARJanuary 1, 2017 at 12:10 pm #

      Hi Kimberlee,

      So great to have you here. Thanks for the kind words. I’m so glad if this helps in some way. You are a great mom for helping your sweet 10 year old to work through this stuff now. It’s not easy; it took me into my thirties to begin unravelling this stuff, but it’s trying on our hearts and our strength, so hang in there and know you have support! xoxo

  2. Evie EdborgDecember 26, 2016 at 8:24 am #

    Wow! I thought I was the only one who felt this way!

    • MO VEARDecember 26, 2016 at 9:49 am #

      ME TOO!!!!!

      Hi Evie,

      Thanks so much for joining and commenting! It’s scary to put it out there – obviously, but it sure is a great feeling to find out that you’re not alone when you do. Thank you for having the courage; it helps me too.

      Hope you had a wonderful holiday. Wishing you all the best. 🙂

  3. Merribeth PaunickaDecember 20, 2016 at 4:09 pm #

    Today I got a message from a friend who is dealing with a family illness and I was at a loss for words. Reading your article today seemed to talk to me so I passed on some of your wisdom today. Please know your writing is a gift.
    Enjoy your family visit.

    • MO VEARDecember 20, 2016 at 11:24 pm #

      Thanks for your kind words, Merribeth. It makes me so happy to know that my experience (especially ’cause it was at the library 🙂 helped you and your friend! I’ll be keeping you all in my prayers. Thanks for all the great laughs this past year. Looking forward to so many more in 2017…

  4. JerryDecember 16, 2016 at 9:53 pm #

    Anxiety and dread have been with me lately. Boredom for me can turn to a restless anxiousness. Anticipation of even the most positive events can unleash this anxiety if it involves getting through potential trials of “imperfection”. I can leave that state of dread sometimes when something or someone else engages me. I can distract myself with music or a nature walk or a comedy TV show. But that is not really dealing with it. I can do all the things you mention, attempting meditation can help. I’m a lousy meditator. But I do know all the counter moves: becoming the witness of my fear and letting the thoughts go. Apply, rinse, repeat. And repeat and repeat and repeat. Also lately I am reminding myself that in this moment – now – I am safe and secure. I remind myself that I have a 100% perfect attendance record for showing up and getting through all kinds of catastrophes in my life. I remind myself that my imperfection is perfectly ME. I give myself permission to BE. I’ve got several hundred mantras I can access. A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down my pants. etc. And even a forced smile works. Smile at yourself. You are so precious, even when you are being afraid. Maybe that’s the time you are the most precious. And the fucking sun WILL come out tomorrow!

    • MO VEARDecember 18, 2016 at 7:15 pm #

      Right on! I love it. And this too shall pass. It always does, but knowing that we’re not alone makes the burden less burdensome… Thanks so much for commenting, Jerry. I really appreciate you sharing this with everyone. It makes a difference.

  5. GTDecember 16, 2016 at 8:04 pm #

    Hi Mo: Fear is a really big topic. For now I’m going to let the topic steep along with my green tea. Then, if I can avoid slurping, I’ll likely send you an email exploring the issue at length.

    For now I’ll just mention something we all need to realize about emotions, definitely including fear.

    Emotions are a physiological response to what? To an idea; always an idea.

    If we can uncover the idea, the thought, that prompts the emotion then we can throw “bubbles at the gladiator” who will abandon the contest. But uncovering the real idea behind its armor of falsehood can be hard work. We may think we have unmasked the provocative idea when the reality resides at a much deeper level.

    Is there humor in such a quest? I think so. It is said that when Buddha achieved enlightenment he laughed. He saw, I believe, that our greatest fears are also our greatest illusions. And that, dear sister, is funny stuff.

    • MO VEARDecember 18, 2016 at 7:21 pm #

      I’d love to hear more and I know my readers would too so I hope between sips of tea, you’ll write more.

      I couldn’t agree more about our quests having humor. I feel 99% certain that finding humor along the way, saved me.

      Thanks again, dear brother. 🙂

  6. AndrewDecember 16, 2016 at 5:34 pm #

    Really powerful stuff. Just read to Dunc (91 years old). After suffering a minor stroke, his fear is not having his car keys – not because he can’t drive but because they represent his independence, or lack of independence now… lots of praying happening on this coast.

    • MO VEARDecember 18, 2016 at 7:25 pm #

      Thanks for reading and sharing what’s going on there. Keeping Dunc and everyone in my prayers… xoxo

  7. Gloria VearDecember 16, 2016 at 4:20 pm #

    Sounds like you have discovered the secret of serenity. Life is never perfect but when you understand there is a higher power, trust God has plans we don’t understand and just flow with it.

    • MO VEARDecember 18, 2016 at 7:29 pm #

      Most definitely.

      Hi Glo. Thanks for reading and commenting. As you know, keeping it simple sounds easy, but we can make things quite complicated. I just keep trying to get out of my own way. Lots of love to you and Bud. Thank you again for writing!!!!

      Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday.

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