I remember four months ago, in my first History and Systems of Psychology lecture, when Claude told us that the most difficult thing for us would be to admit that we had something intelligent to say. I have lots to say, I know I am smart. I feel comfortable talking about this around my friends. But then I get around the “experts” or in a classroom and suddenly while intelligent, my thoughts are not worth saying.
Because someone might challenge my beliefs, they might think that what I am saying is weird, ridiculous, I don’t know something undesirable.
And being wrong sucks. A lot of the time we would rather live in ignorance, it feels a lot nicer to think you’ve got something figured out than to realize you have nothing figured out. And I get it. This term didn’t make me realize that I had something intelligent to say, or at least that wasn’t the hardest thing for me to realize. The hardest thing for me was to realize that I might know nothing. To realize that all I have is temporary knowledge, is sort of terrifying. Especially for me. Minus in the kitchen, contrary to what horoscopes say about me as an Aquarius, I like certainty and plans and organization. Chaos and complete uncertainty are the polar opposite of what I cling to.
I thought all the freedom would be terrifying. I thought that this uncertainty and lack of clear conclusions would be a little terrifying. And it was a little, but then I realized how sometimes the things that make you the most uncomfortable make you grow the most.
A few weeks ago, a good friend of mine, Jeff, pointed out – sometimes, things suck, they seem painful at the time, but long-term they are better. He told me that it’s like running, yes Sundays I would rather stay in bed and sleep, but I get up out of my warm bed and go for a run anyways. And it’s good for me. It’s not always hard, some days I look forward to the runs. Now that it’s winter and I occasionally wake up to a foot of snow, I look forward to them a little less.
And that’s what running is for me, making myself a little uncomfortable, so I can find and define new boundaries, which I will later break. When I started running I thought 6 minutes per kilometer was the fastest I could go, then I thought 5:45 was the fastest I could maintain. Now, I know I can do a 5:03. I found the limits only so I could destroy them.
And I never realized how beautiful discomfort can be, how comfortable I find it.
For example, it sounds crazy, but I think there is beauty in crying. A sort of release from our core, and overwhelming amount of emotion either positive or negative, but with it comes this peace. Eventually you cry everything out, and this sense of calm clarity can emerge.
There’s also the whole no pain, no gain mantra (which isn’t actually true), but I remember as a kid, and even now, I prefer the lip balms/chap sticks that actually burn a bit. Like some sort of indicator that it is doing something. Or at least some indicator that I am alive and can feel something. (Is that too dark and moody?)
In school, well I am signing up for another 6-7 years of school, so clearly, I am a fan of looking long-term and appreciating the long-term benefits. But on a more micro level – I would rather take a course that is challenging and get a B, than an easy course where I didn’t have to work for the A+.
This course has shown me what it is to question, and what is in an answer. The value of each, and how to differentiate. And I think that was hugely valuable. I think the biggest thing I learned was that realizing you have no clue what you’re doing is kind of terrifying and unnerving, and the possibility of being wrong, or worse, knowing you’re wrong, is outright painful. But those two conditions provide the most fertile ground for growth…. Okay I can’t that was just too cheesy. How about suffering is good for the soul? Getting lost is the best way to get found?
Why are all my punchlines so cheesy? Maybe because despite being lactose intolerant until 20, I am addicted to cheese. In all forms. Except spray cheese. That’s just weird.
Punchline: Don’t be a martyr, but be wrong sometimes, hurt some times, be lost sometimes. Say the stupid thing once and a while, it might not be so stupid, or you may at least get an answer and be less stupid. Let yourself be a sobbing hot mess with a pile of tissues. Leave the road and hope to God you make it home eventually.
I may not have come out of this course with all the right answers, but I came out with a lot of the right questions.
Double loaded nachos right there. With guacamole and bacon.
So tell me – am I crazy, masochistic, or is there merit to occasionally being just a little uncomfortable? Is there beauty in pain? What is the one thing you do, that sucks but you do it anyways, because you know it’s going to be better in the end?
“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”