The edges of our discomfort

By Dave Henning / June 22, 2023

“It can feel like a difficult truth, but it’s truth just the same: The edges of our discomfort are where significant growth happens.  And certainly we always hold this tension with the reality that many of us trauma survivors have lived most of our lives outside our comfort zones or along the edges.  This is why we always build safety and support before we can even consider navigating to the edge.”- Aundi Kolber

Aundi Kolber moves on in Chapter 7 of Strong Like Water as she observes that emotions are sometime too big for us to feel all at one.  Consequently, Aundi discusses two ways to build emotional flexibility.

 1.  Titration.  This strategy involves easing in or taking something in smaller chunks.  Thus, you apply titration to emotional processing or any experience or sensation that you find bigger than you can handle.  Hence, you compassionately resource yourself so you can move along the flow of strength.

 2.  Pendulation.  This strategy also expands our tolerance for discomfort.  Because we move with care into something overwhelming or triggering.  So, with pendulation we:

  • begin establishing a resource.
  • ease into the discomfort of a disturbing event, memory, or emotion as we pair it with the already established resource.
  • “set down” the disturbance and end with connecting only to the resource.

In conclusion, Aundi counsels, before you risk something be sure you have a soft place to land.  As Aundi explains, we always want to do our best to say in the zone of discomfort, not the zone of harm.  The author adds:

“However, when we view this idea through the lens of our window of tolerance, it is only when we take the risk of putting our foot outside our window (keeping the other foot safely and firmly planted inside it) that we have the opportunity to expand our window. . . .  This nervous system straddling is called a blended state or mixed state.  Blended states are where the magic happens when it comes to emotional flexibility.”

Today’s question: What Bible passages support our growth along the edges of discomfort?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Grieving – releasing deep pain”

About the author

Dave Henning

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