I have had this vision in my head all week; two friends walking side by side talking and sharing the events of the day. To an outsider this image may seem like a normal thing but for me it was a complete sham. Only hours before both of the friends had been complaining about the other, blaming the other for the affects they had on their life. Yet walking side by side there was no attempt at real conversation, there was only talk of the weather.

This vision has me thinking of the relationships that we have in our lives. How many of us can relate to this relationship?

We are responsible for not only the energy we put out into the world but also the energy that we receive back. So why waste time with relationships that are shallow? Why do we settle for conversations about the weather, about how the trees are growing straight or how our golf swing is? Because going deep means being vulnerable and being vulnerable brings the possibility of discomfort.

My teacher always said, “you have to be comfortable in the discomfort”. It took years of being conscious of the discomfort to see that he was completely right. To truly experience all of life’s blessings, love, joy, happiness, you have to be willing to be uncomfortable. This discomfort is an indicator that you are getting to the depths and to the truths of which truly matter. It is an indicator that you are dealing with issues, subjects and conversations that create real connection, trust, growth and love.

Odds are that you have had a heated discussion where passion and maybe emotions start to get high. What did you do? Did you lean into it? Or did you shy away from the encounter be- cause it became uncomfortable? We have been conditioned to shut down, bite our tongues or walk away when we have passion in our voices or tears in our eyes, but if you can communicate with compassion, these conversations are beautiful opportunities to get to the real “meat” of a relationship. Leaning into the discomfort; creating opportunities to hear and be heard.

When I was going through marital problems, I wanted desperately to be heard. I wanted my feelings and thoughts to have value but every time I became passionate in a conversation my husband would shut down and he would walk away. I didn’t know then what I know now, so I saw this as him not caring, of not wanting to find solutions. Now I see this differently, as a self protection mechanism that kept him from being uncomfortable. It changes how I see the whole situation; instead of holding blame or frustration I hold compassion and understanding. We did the best we could at the time knowing what we knew. Now I wonder if we had leaned into the discomfort, would there have been a different outcome? Who is to know, going forward I choose to lean.

So would you rather enjoy a relationship that fills your soul with joy and love? Would you rather have relationships that challenge you to grow and give you back the energy you put into them?

Take the time to lean into your discomfort, challenge your relationships to grow and see what you get back. Be vulnerable. Open conversations that have needed to be spoken but have been kept quiet. If you take the risk and get nothing back, you will know how to prioritize that relationship. Is it something to continue or is it something that no longer aligns with who and where you are? Take responsibility for what you put out into the world and what you get back.