The Only Way To Improve Your Life Is To Face These 16 Uncomfortable Emotions

You can only grow if you face your fears and discomfort.

Nervous woman chewing on her nails siniehinaalona via Canva | Gruppo_Teatrale_Universitario via Canva 

By Theo Harrison

Feeling pain and discomfort is a part of life.

Irrespective of how much we want to avoid them, these uncomfortable feelings sit comfortably inside us.

Whether it’s embarrassment, hopelessness, guilt, sorrow, regret, anxiety, anger, fear, or any other painful emotion, dealing with uncomfortable feelings is crucial. 

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Running away from what you feel will simply hold you back and prevent you from experiencing life as it is.

Get comfortable with discomfort

Dealing with discomfort is an art.

But, the problem is that most of us have not been taught to deal with such emotions effectively.


Hence, we have mastered the art of avoiding uncomfortable and painful feelings without realizing that these emotions can actually help us live a better life.

We have figured out some unhealthy methods for managing and avoiding uncomfortable emotions through various toxic means like drugs, and alcohol that offer some temporary respite at the expense of our well-being.

However, dealing with uncomfortable feelings is easy to learn.

In fact, once you know how to deal with your emotions, you will be able to improve yourself and create a better life for yourself. 

If you want to be healthy, successful, and happy, you better start facing your emotions instead of avoiding them.


Face what you are afraid of.

It’s going to be hard, but it’s definitely doable.

Here are 4 simple yet effective ways for you to start dealing with uncomfortable feelings:

1. Observe your feelings

The very first step to coping with difficult emotions is to observe what exactly you are feeling without judging them. 

Sit silently where you will not be disturbed or distracted and spend a few moments observing what feelings you experience. 

You may feel pain or discomfort or anxiousness.

Realize what makes you feel uncomfortable without getting engaged or involved in your emotions.

Also, make sure you do not judge yourself for feeling a certain way, no matter how uncomfortable it gets.


2. Face your emotions

Once you know what feelings you are experiencing, then you need to face them boldly

Running away from uncomfortable emotions will not get you anywhere, irrespective of how fast and how long you run. 

We don’t want to feel discomfort or pain.

That’s our natural instinct.

You surely don’t want to put your hand on a hot stove knowing full well that you will get burnt.

But when it comes to emotions, the same rules don’t apply.

Emotions are like wounds — the more you avoid them, the more infected they become. 

Instead, you need to care for them and heal them.

Giving the right attention to your uncomfortable feelings will help you cope with them and even help you heal emotional scars with time.


3. Be your best friend

The problem with dealing with uncomfortable feelings is that we can’t really express what we are going through to even our loved ones.

It’s a very internal thing most of the time.

This is why you need to be your own best friend. 

Face the pain you are experiencing and be kind and supportive of yourself. 

Give yourself the advice you would to your best friend if they were facing the same thing.

Give yourself the time necessary and do not rush through the process. 

Let it happen naturally.

4. Experience life as it is

Once you start dealing with uncomfortable feelings, you will start finding happiness through both good and bad experiences in life.


Instead of focusing on a destination that you want to reach, try to find happiness in the process. 

Find beauty in what you are going through right now and realize how this process will transform you into a better and stronger person. 

Only by opening yourself to what life has to offer, you will be able to live life to the fullest and enjoy it.

Once you have the strength to face life as it is, you will find beauty in your daily experiences. 

You will see how everything that happens can make your life better. 

And how coping with painful and uncomfortable emotions can actually help you live a better life.

Now that you know how to face your emotions, here are some uncomfortable feelings that you must stop avoiding to build a better life for yourself.


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How to improve yourself by facing these 16 uncomfortable-but-important emotions:

1. Being alone with yourself

There is a subtle difference between loneliness and solitude. 

When you find peace and comfort in being away from society and in the company of your own self, solitude can be the most liberating experience. 

You can truly be yourself without playing any roles for anyone else.

By being self-aware, you can rediscover and explore who you really are.

2. Admitting your mistakes

To err is human, and to forgive is divine.

We all make mistakes. We all screw up at times. We can’t be right all the time. We can’t be perfect all the time. We are not supposed to.


That’s how we learn. 

Knowing when you are wrong and admitting your mistakes can be hard, but it allows us to see our faults and enables us to better ourselves. 

You are allowed to make mistakes, as long as you don’t make the same ones repeatedly.

3. Not knowing what you want

It’s okay not to have a long-term plan.

It’s okay not to know exactly where you will be a few years down the line. 

The entire concept of planning out your future is simply an illusion. 

It may offer you some comfort to think about where you will be, but it’s not the truth. 

None of us can fully guarantee that life will happen exactly the way we planned it. 

So, it’s better to take one day at a time without getting attached to a destination.


4. Not doing anything

Sometimes, doing nothing can mean doing a lot.

In this modern world, we are programmed to multitask, which may be helpful at times.

However, when you do absolutely nothing, you will find out how truly gratifying life can be. 

Put down your smartphone, drink some coffee, sit on your couch, relax, and just breathe in some fresh air.

5. Getting stressed without any reason

We all get anxious and worried for no apparent reason most of the time.

These feelings often stem from our inability to understand a particular situation or our inability to cope with the uncertainty of a circumstance.

However, allowing yourself to feel anxious and tense can actually allow these feelings to pass, despite how uncomfortable you might feel.


Your therapist might disagree on this one, but distracting yourself from your true feelings doesn’t work all the time.

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6. Accepting criticism

Getting criticized by others hurts and it can even make us defensive.

But, it is important to take criticism without defending yourself or avoiding it. 

Critical feedback can help you focus on your weaknesses that you never thought existed. 

However, it can be easier said than done.

So whenever you are being criticized, be conscious of how you accept and react to the feedback and what you wish to do about it.

Understand the criticism with an open mind and think if it can actually add any value to your life.


7. Judging ourselves like how we judge others

The way we judge people is often a projection of how we judge ourselves.

These judgments are a result of our experiences and wounds.

However, the way you judge someone reveals what hurts you the most and what you are unable to heal. 

What you believe others should heal in themselves is often the thing that you need to heal in yourself. 

This is perhaps one of the hardest aspects of dealing with uncomfortable feelings.

8. Accepting the coexistence of multiple truths

Different variations of truths exist in the same reality.

No, I am not talking about multiple realities here.

But, the fact is what you believe to be the truth and what someone else may believe to be true, even though it may contradict your belief of the truth, may both coexist and be true at the same time. 


This is one of life’s greatest paradoxes.

Accepting the existence of conflicting ideas and realizing both can be true, will enable you to open yourself to different perspectives.

9. Respecting your judgments

We all cope with different situations in our own way.

Sometimes we are proud of them, sometimes we feel ashamed.

But, we all do what we feel was the best course of action at the time to survive.

Granted, our judgment might have been clouded at the time due to the weight of the situation, but we did survive. Didn’t we?

So, instead of criticizing and punishing yourself for what you did to survive, acknowledge the fact that you went through the challenges of life and endured.


Once you learn to honor your judgments, you can figure out how to make things better.

10. Doubt means don’t

If you are indecisive about something more than you should be, then you need to realize that in itself is a decision.

You know that the answer is a hard no if you need to think too much about making a decision.

If something is meant to happen, it will happen naturally. 

You don’t need to rack your brain to make a simple decision.

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11. Allowing yourself to be angry

We are often the most honest when we are angry.

Although we might say the meanest of things, these are things that have been bottled inside of us for too long, things we believe, things we feel, things we feel passionate about, and things we want to change in our lives. 


By allowing yourself to feel anger, you will enable your deepest thoughts and emotions to come out in a more constructive way. 

Anger becomes destructive only when we suppress it for a long period of time.

12. It’s okay to feel ashamed

When feel we have done something we are not supposed to, something that goes out of character, we often feel shame.

Feeling ashamed can help us get on the proper track and right our wrongs. 

As long as you don’t engage in self-punishment too much, shame can help us become a better person and create the life you actually want.

13. Doubting ourselves

There are days we all feel unsure about ourselves and who we truly are.


This feeling can intensify when we face challenges and hardships, as we tend to doubt ourselves and our abilities more.

Although it may seem like you are lacking confidence and your self-esteem is taking a hit, in reality, you are simply becoming a more mature person.

It is only by facing challenges, we undergo necessary self-improvement and grow as an individual. 


The person you were until now is changing before your eyes and evolving into someone who is complete and better able to deal with life.

This can be a very uncomfortable feeling for all of us, but a necessary one.

14. Enjoy the process, don’t rush to the finish line

If you have to love someone, love them for who they are.

Don’t love them because you want to be in a relationship with them.

Then, you will experience true, unconditional love. 

There are many things in life that you can do just for the sake of enjoying them, for enjoying the process, and not for reaching the destination. 

Gain mastery over the process.

Then, you will reach the destination sooner than you think.


15. Realizing only you are responsible for your happiness

We often tend to rely on our family and our life partners for our happiness.

Most of us have this innate belief that they are responsible to make us happy and to take care of us, just like we are taking care of them and making them happy.

But, the truth is we are all responsible for our own happiness. 

In a relationship, we come together to share our happiness, not to make each other happy.

That’s not how a relationship works.

Only you and you alone are responsible for your life and how you feel about it. 

This can be very emotionally daunting, as it puts pressure directly on us.

But, this can also be extremely liberating, as we realize we have complete control over how we feel without the need for relying on someone else to make us feel better.


16. Breathe and live

Breath is life. We feel, experience, and live through our breaths. 

It is only when you take easy and deep breaths, you will be able to know what you truly feel inside without being distracted.

There is a reason why meditation has become a worldwide phenomenon today.

It allows you to connect with your true self. 

When we breathe fully and deeply, we can experience our deepest thoughts and uncomfortable feelings. 

This allows us to clear the basement and face whatever life throws at us as stronger and more mature people.

Step out of your comfort zone.

Be comfortable with being uncomfortable. 

The best things in life are often lined up for you right outside your comfort zone. 


So, take a step outside and face the feelings you usually avoid.

Decide that you want to feel uncomfortable. 

Choose to feel discomfort and take certain risks

Facing your emotions and dealing with uncomfortable feelings will make you a better person and make your life a lot better.

Some risks are worth taking.

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Theo Harrison is an artist, blogger, writer, and former contributor to The Mind's Journal who writes primarily about mental health, pop culture, and relationships.