When faced with an uncomfortable situation, our natural tendency is to get out as quickly as possible. Sometimes we physically or emotionally check out in an attempt to avoid pain. In today’s episode, you’ll learn why your greatest growth comes from increasing your discomfort tolerance – not avoiding it altogether.
By paying attention to what we want most in life, our willingness to allow discomfort will grow. When there is an understanding that the discomfort is in service of your ultimate goal, we are more willing to lean into the growth.
The more we grow, the more bold we become in the conversations we are willing to have, and in the things we try. We go after our dreams. We allow ourselves to mess up. We give permission to others to mess up. We become the most honest versions of ourselves.
I’m Andrea Giles. And you’re listening to the Heal from Infidelity podcast,
episode number 27, Discomfort Tolerance.
Hello, and welcome to the Heal from Infidelity podcast, where courageous
women learn not only to heal from their spouse’s betrayal, but to become
the boldest, truest, most decisive and confident versions of themselves
ever. If you know there’s more freedom than the life you’re currently
living, but don’t quite know how to get there you are in the right place.
Stick around to learn how to create a life that will knock your own socks
off. Is that possible? It is. And I’m here to show you how. I’m your host,
Andrea Giles. Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Hi friends. I am back again ready to record episode number 27. Today, we’re
gonna talk about discomfort tolerance. And I tell you what I went round and
round with what to title this podcast. I even asked my husband. And you
just gotta listen to know what I’m talking about. Today, we’re talking
about increasing our tolerance to discomfort. That’s what we’re gonna talk
about. But before I jump in, I want to just say, thank you so much for the
shares, the reviews. Did you know that between December and January my
little podcast jumped by 400%, 400%. People are sharing. People are telling
people about it.
Also, just in the last couple weeks, many of you have left reviews. Thank
you so much for taking the time to leave a review. Not only does it help
people find it, it helps people go to it, it gives credibility to it, it
makes it show up higher in charts so people can see it and go, “Oh, I want
to listen to that.” But you know what? On a personal note, I can’t tell you
how fun it is to read your reviews because I know that there are many of
you out there listening, but I don’t know all of you. I wish I did. And it
just is awesome to go in and see your reviews, and see where it’s helping
you. And it just means the world. So thank you so much. I really appreciate
you taking the time to leave the reviews.
Also, some of you have reached out, and asked me for things that you want
help with. Thank you. I welcome that. Things that you’d love for me to
cover in upcoming podcasts. And I promise you that I listen, and I hear
you, and they’re coming. The things that you’ve asked me to talk about,
So today, we’re talking about growing our discomfort tolerance. Before I
dive in, I want to ask you for you to think of a time when you were pretty
sure you couldn’t do something, thought it was too hard, too painful, and
then you proved yourself wrong, and you did it. Every one of you who is
listening right now, I promise you, if you go back into your life and look
at the different things that have happened in your life, you will be able
to pinpoint a time where this has been true for you. If you need to pause
this, pause the podcast while you think back, do it. I want you to think of
a time and I’ll come back to it later.
So, something I see in my coaching practice when people first start working
with me is that they think that they either have to leave the marriage, or
be all in on the marriage like, “Okay, I guess I’m staying even if I’m not
really comfortable,” for them to be able to move forward. They think that
they need to be able to not ever think of the other woman. They need to not
say hard things, and just kind of go along with it in order to keep the
peace, and keep the marriage. And that feels really painful.
And the other thing that feels really painful is, “I guess, I just have to
leave so I can stop hurting so bad.” It becomes very black and white in
their brain. Like either I have to suck it up and stay, and kind of mute
myself in order to keep the peace here. Or I have to leave. And there is no
middle ground. They believe sometimes that they can’t stand in a
conversation without shrinking, without feeling small. It feels too hard,
too painful. So, often they just want to leave in hopes that it’ll give
them some quick relief. It can also feel really desperate. Like, “I can’t
handle this pain for one more second. If it means leaving so I can feel
better, then I’m out.” Sometimes it means I don’t want to feel this pain
for one more second, so I’m just gonna put my head down and keep moving
forward and stop thinking about it and just kind of pretend like things are
gonna be fine. Like things are fine because the pain of looking at the
truth hurts too bad.
They might believe that the thought of getting married again, dating again,
anything like that is impossible because the risk of getting hurt again is
too painful to think about. And so, again, that all or nothing, black and
white thinking, I’m just not gonna date then. This is for my clients where
they already have decided to get divorced, or their spouse has left them.
And they are just like, “Nope, not doing it. I’d rather stay here safely
here, and not risk getting hurt again. And don’t even want to consider the
option of dating again.”
They might think, “How could I possibly date again if I don’t even trust
myself? If I don’t trust myself, how on earth can I trust somebody else?
How can I be vulnerable with anybody else if I have a hard time being
vulnerable with me? I might get rejected.” All of these questions, I get
them. I relate to many of those. I remember feeling those same ways. I
remember when I first started dating, going, “Who in their right mind would
want to marry a divorced woman with six children? Who would choose that on
purpose?” And clearly, I moved past that. I’m married to a wonderful man
who loves me and loves my kids.
But what we tend to do is go to this very black or white thinking that it
has to be this way, or it has to be that way. And it makes sense. Our
brains love to be certain. Our brains love to know. Our brains love to know
what’s going on, how things are going to end, even if it feels awful. Even
if the thought of being alone forever feels terrible. It feels better in
the moment than that free fall of vulnerability kind of feeling like you’re
standing naked in front of the world to reject you. That’s what dating can
feel like to a lot of people.
Leaving the marriage might seem like the easier option than staying in the
marriage, and doing the hard work of building marriage number two with the
same person. But guess what? What if our greatest growth is somewhere right
in the middle? What if it’s not in the black and white, it’s in the middle,
it’s in growing our tolerance to the nature of growth, the nature of pain,
growing our tolerance to it? I’m gonna give you an example.
So I was a young mom. I became a mom when I was 21. And I wanted to have a
natural childbirth. I didn’t want to have an epidural. I wanted to know
what it felt like to have a baby, to let my body do its thing. Well, I went
into labor, and as it got more and more intense I’m like, “What am I doing?
I don’t want to do this.” And felt very, very panicked. I remember crying,
feeling really, really panicked. And the nurse gave me, I can’t remember,
some kind of medication just to calm me down ’cause I was feeling really
panicked. I ended up not having an epidural. I stuck to that, but it was
kind of rough. I felt a lot of fear throughout the process. I felt a lot of
kind of looking outside me for people to tell me that it would be okay.
Second time around, with my daughter, I did the same thing. I decided not
to have an epidural. And this time I still felt a little panicked. I still
felt like I needed the people outside me around me to tell me that I was
gonna be okay. Again, they gave me like a low dose of some kind of thing to
relax me. Again, I had her with no epidural.
Baby number three, I went into the hospital. I was in labor. I’m like,
“Give me the drugs, give me the epidural. Not feeling it this time.” I had
not really done any preparation to prepare for labor. I just was not in the
head space and decided that I was just going to have an epidural.
Baby number four, I decided that I was going to have a different experience
altogether. I decided that I was going to learn how to respond to my body.
I was gonna learn how to trust my body. I was gonna learn how to be present
with everything that was going on and not be afraid of it. So with him, my
son, ironically as the day that I’m recording this is my son’s birthday.
He’s now 15. It’s his birthday today. Anyway, when I went into labor with
him, I was prepared. I had taken some hypnobirthing classes to teach me how
to manage my mind, how to go back inside my body, how to breathe. And I had
the most powerful labor.
I had a water birth. He was born in a big water thing. I’m forgetting the
right word, but I had a water birth with him. And when I started to feel
some of that kind of panic and, “Oh, I don’t know how to do this,” I just
grounded back into myself, back into my body. “What do I know? My body
knows how to have a baby. My body knows what to do. What else do I know? I
know how to breathe. I know how to rest. I know how to close my eyes. I
know how to relax. I know how to let my body move.” And so, with that
little boy who was my biggest baby, I had the most powerful, beautiful
labor. And I was very calm throughout the entire process. In fact, the
person who delivered the baby said that she had delivered several thousand
babies, and had never seen anyone as calm as me. What? That was pretty cool
to hear because I knew the difference, I had different experiences before
where I was not calm.
Now, the nature of childbirth has never changed. Childbirth will never be
particularly comfortable when you think about what actually happens to the
body and childbirth. It will never change. Babies will never miraculously
just show up. Labor will always be a thing. Now yes, as medicine has
progressed, we have different options. We have like epidurals and all those
things, which is wonderful. But the nature itself of childbirth is the same
as it was years and years ago, thousands of years ago.
So, the nature of the situation did not change. My capacity to tolerate
pain changed. My capacity to surrender to it. My capacity to breathe into
it rather than resisting it and avoiding it, and wishing it would just go
away. I breathed into it. I leaned into it. I’m like, “Here we go, this is
what we’re doing now.” I grounded into myself, into my body, into my own
wisdom. Instead of looking externally for somebody to help for somebody to
fix it. I trusted me. I trusted that the discomfort that I was feeling was
intentional, and serving a purpose to get a baby out of my body.
Okay so, that is what I’m talking about today. We often believe that we
need to change the circumstance to feel better. If my husband would just
stop doing this. If he would stop asking me this. If I would stop feeling
this way, if I would stop feeling jealous, if I could just stop feeling
inadequate. Maybe I need to leave the relationship for me to stop feeling
like a failure, or feeling like I’m not enough. Maybe I just need to not
talk to him, and not talk about the infidelity so I can feel better.
And what I’m suggesting instead is leaning in. So, I’m gonna give you some
examples of clients that I’m currently working with and what this looks
like for them. I have one client who is currently going through a divorce.
It was her husband’s choice to end the marriage. And a situation arised
with a custody situation. And in times past she has thought that, “If I
actually say what I want and speak up, he’s going to say all of these
things to me, he’s gonna make me feel this way. I’ll feel this way. I don’t
want to feel that way, so I’m just gonna keep my mouth shut and let him
kind of do what he wants to do.”
Instead, after working with me, I have helped her to see that what she
wants matters, and that the things that she wants matters actually are
leading her to becoming the person that has that thing.
So, when her leaning into the situation that she truly thinks is actually
best for everybody involved, it means that she’s leaning into discomfort.
It means that she’s leaning into growth. And she went ahead and she decided
that she was willing to feel that discomfort in service of the thing that
she actually thought was best. And the thing that happened is really a
miracle. What happened is because she showed up in a different way her
soon-to-be ex-husband showed up in a different way. He’s starting to speak
to her differently because she is showing up differently. The nature of the
conversation, and doing the hard thing here didn’t change. It still felt
hard to her. Showing up, speaking up. But she opened up to growing her
capacity to feel discomfort. And she’s increasing her own tolerance to
discomfort. She’s growing her own tolerance to it. She’s saying, “This
discomfort that I’m leaning into is in service of what I’m trying to
create.” Even as a relationship with her soon-to-be ex-husband going
forward. This is in service of that relationship, me leaning in instead of
Another client is wanting to keep the marriage together, but she’s been
trying a different approach to conversations with her husband. In the past,
when things are brought up that are uncomfortable usually the pattern is
that one of them, or both of them shuts down, gets out of the conversation
as quickly as possible, and shelves the issues. It often has been her
that’s bringing up the uncomfortable issues, and then retreating when it
gets too hot, backing off. But she has been practicing staying with the
discomfort. She’s not blaming him for her discomfort. She’s not mad at the
discomfort for being there. She’s not avoiding it. She’s not resisting it.
She’s not trying to fix his discomfort. She’s not scrambling to try to put
out fires. And make him feel better so she can feel better. She’s handing
to him his feelings. And she’s taking responsibility for her own. She’s
taking responsibility by allowing herself to feel in the first place and
not shoving down, pushing away the feelings that she is experiencing. She’s
She’s growing her capacity to feel discomfort. She’s growing her capacity
to feel period. She’s making space for it. She’s making space where things
can be said. She’s helping make space where there’s safety to express how
you really feel without being crippled by what their response might be.
It’s taking ownership. It’s all about creating emotional resiliency,
growing your emotional resiliency.
So, I’m sure you’ve heard of Ralph Waldo Emerson. And he had this to say,
“That which we persist in doing becomes easier. Not that the nature of the
task has changed, but our ability to do has increased.” Our ability, the
nature of it hasn’t changed. You have changed. Your capacity, your growth.
You’ve stepped into a new place where you can be there, and handle it
without retreating. Where you can feel the discomfort, and stay standing,
and not retreating.
So back to the question I asked at the beginning, did you think of
something that you couldn’t do until you could? Something that you said you
couldn’t do until one day you could do it? How did you do it? I want you to
learn from yourself. I have that labor story in my back pocket for when I
feel like I can’t do something. I remind myself that I did the thing that I
thought I couldn’t do. Go through a labor calm as day. I did that.
Our brains are really good at lying to us. They want to keep us safe. They
want to conserve energy. If our brain feels like we’re being chased by a
bear, think how uncomfortable our brain would be if we think of going back
to the bear and asking it, “Why it’s chasing us?” Our brains gonna be like,
“No, get away, run, run, run.” What you’re doing is you’re looking at those
things that feel threatening like a bear and you are asking questions. You
are asking why it’s there? Where is my growth here? What do I need to hear?
Now, you hear me say this a lot. You’ll hear me say it over and over again,
if you are in physical danger, or being abused in some way, this is not
what I’m referring to. If you actually are being abused, if you really are
in danger in some way, I encourage you to get yourself to safety. That’s
not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the threats that our
brain gives us that we are in danger, that we’re gonna get hurt. Sometimes
it feels like we’re gonna die when we’re not actually in immediate danger.
It’s just a story that our brain is telling us.
But if you lean into it, if you allow yourself to feel the discomfort and
lean into the conversations, lean into the things that you think you can’t
do you’ll learn emotional resiliency. You’ll learn emotional adulthood.
You’ll learn how to regulate your emotions. You’ll learn how to be a person
that sits with really negative emotion without feeling like you need to
react to it. You’ll build self-trust. It’ll build this foundation of
self-trust brick by brick that no matter what happens in life, you’ve got
you. How powerful is that? No matter what, you’ve got your own back.
You’ll also build your skill of asking good questions. For example, a lot
of my clients really feel an urge to know… They want to know every single
detail of what happened. They want to know all the details. When the
conversations were had, what exactly happened, and when, and where, all the
details. What this means, what this work is it’s caring less about all the
details. There is a place for that, but sometimes it can become a thing
that’s just excruciatingly painful without any real usefulness behind it.
I’m more interested in why, this leaning into this curiosity, and growth,
and asking good questions it’s less about the things they did, and more
about why they did them. It’s getting to the root of it, getting to the
truth. It’s allowing the space where you can hear and understand. You don’t
have to agree. You don’t have to stay, but it’s giving you information, and
wisdom, and knowledge so you can choose from a higher place. You’re not
like, “It’s so painful here that I must leave immediately.” It’s more like,
“Okay, I see what’s going on now. And I’m choosing to leave.” Or, “I’m
choosing to stay. And this is why.”
You get to look at your own fears, what you are afraid of. What is it that
you’re afraid of? Leaning into those things. I want you to make sure that
you go back to a time in your life where you did this, where you had a
story in your head of something that you really wanted, an ability you
wanted, a skill you wanted, something you wanted to do that you really felt
in the moment like you could not do. That it was bigger than you, too hard
for you, not possible for you. I want you to look at that and how you did
it. What did you do? How did you do it? What discomfort were you willing to
feel and why? Why were you willing to feel it?
Remember the nature of the thing that you did not change. Your capacity
changed. Your capacity to handle the discomfort. Sometimes it’s the
capacity to allow the discomfort of being bad at something until we’re good
at something. So, it’s the willingness to have a conversation that we
really walk away from going, “Well, messed that one up. That didn’t go the
way I thought it would.” But guess what? You showed up. You were willing to
be in the room and have the conversation. So give yourself credit for that.
And then, you can learn from it. What did I learn? What worked here? What
didn’t work? What will I do a little bit differently next time? You’re
checking in with yourself. I want you to learn when did you do this? Learn
from yourself, learn from your own wisdom. You have done this before. It
might not have been around this particular issue, but you’ve done it
It is worth the discomfort, friends. Leaning into this discomfort is
changing the way that you view yourself. It’s changing the way you view
what is possible for you, whether you stay married or not. If you can lean
into discomfort there is nothing that you could want that you cannot have.
You get to create a more honest version of yourself all along the way. A
version of yourself that you love, that you know that you can trust, and
that you know is willing to lean into the discomfort to create a life that
feels the most authentic and true to you.
That, my friends, is power. It takes courage, it takes strength, it takes
humility to ask those tough questions. I know you’ve got those things in
you. Lean into that discomfort. It is worth it on the other side.
All right thank you, my friends. Thank you for being here. I will see you
next time. Bye-bye.
Thank you for listening to the Heal from Infidelity podcast. If you would
like to be kept in the know about upcoming free classes, new podcast
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it’s andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. I will see you next time.