Making the uncomfortable comfortable

Leggings with artworkA friend posted on Facebook that she was going to an “Ecstatic Dance” event. I checked the website and decided to attend it. No alcohol, shoes or talking allowed on the dance floor. Since I had never attended it before I asked her what to wear, and she said “think yoga class meets dance party” and wear something comfortable.

I thought of a short somewhat fancy blue dress that I could wear, but in order to feel the most comfortable, I’d need to also wear leggings. I’m not comfortable wearing leggings in public. If I need to wear them to go to a class, I usually put on a long skirt or another pair of pants. In order to feel more at ease with my outfit, I had an idea… as you can see from the post’s picture: I painted my perfectly black leggings, with blue fabric ink. Not only did I paint them, I also had the courage to take two subways, walk on the streets of Manhattan, visit a gallery in Chelsea with friends, and then go to the dance party a few hours later.

I still felt a bit ridiculous wearing leggings with my dress, but I was also giggling due to the fact that I had painted them. Instead of judging myself for wearing that “weird” outfit, the feeling was overcome by pride for wearing my artwork. I didn’t necessarily replace the uncomfortable feeling, I simply added a new feeling that helped me cope and face it with more ease and grace.

It got me thinking about other areas of life we could use the same strategy. How can we make the uncomfortable more comfortable, more bearing?

  • By painting our own clothes;
  • By seeing the lighter side of things;
  • By letting go of perfection – be it our own standards or the standards we imagine others having;
  • By being here and now;
  • By adding new feelings to the mix, and therefore making the uncomfortable feelings bearable;
  • By looking for creative ways to shift our perception of the situation or action.

How do you find ways to be more comfortable in uncomfortable situations?


Elisa Balabram

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