Janice Hall Heck

Finding hope in a chaotic world…

May 3- A Few Uncomfortable Things

Post number 3 in the Story of My Life: Blog Every Day in May challenge posted by Jenni at Story of My Life.

See list of prompts for the month of May here and here.


May 3. Prompt 3. Things that make you uncomfortable.

I’d rather sing, “These are a few of my favorite things…” than answer this prompt. Cute little kittens would be first on my list. But listing things that make me feel uncomfortable…ummm, well, it makes me feel uncomfortable, and it requires a bit more soul-searching. Do I really want to reveal my innermost self?

Being uncomfortable in situations is not the worst thing in the world, in fact, it can open opportunities for us. It reminds me of the story of the Chinese character for danger. Supposedly, the Chinese character for crisis (supreme discomfort!) represents both danger and opportunity at the same time. (This nice story has been debunked here in “A Crisis Is Not an Opportunity.”) Even so, think about it, haven’t you been in situations that were difficult and uncomfortable, but you made it through anyway. And didn’t you learn something in the process?


For me, being uncomfortable in a situation presents a challenge. What do I have to do to feel comfortable in this situation?

But to answer the prompt directly instead of beating around the mulberry bush, here are a few things that make me uncomfortable.

1. Being criticized or challenged in front of other people

I took an adult education class once in Mandarin Chinese. But being a visual learner and not an auditory learner, I had difficulty distinguishing the four tones of Mandarin. I was embarrassed mortified when the teacher of the class had me repeat over and over something he had just said in Mandarin. My feeble attempts did not merit his favor. His fast response each time was, “bu-dwei” (wrong). As much as I dislike not finishing something I started, I knew I would never please this teacher with my pronunciation and dropped out of the class.

Many years later, when I worked as a principal in the Lower Primary School at Hong Kong International School (an American school), I visited a second grade Mandarin class, and the teacher asked me in Mandarin how I came to school that day. Feeling very proud that I understood her question, I answered, “fei-ji”. The students in the class, who knew more Mandarin than I knew, laughed. The teacher told me I had said airplane instead of car. Oh well. Bu-dwei again. But I laughed, too.  After all,  I could have said (accidentally), “Your teacher is a rat.” The students would have laughed at that, too.

2. Giving a talk for which I am underprepared. Shudder. I have nightmares about that.

3. Being the center of attention. I have never liked this, not even when it was a celebration for a birthday or a major achievement.

4. Walking in late to a meeting.

5. Being around angry, complaining people.

6. Being around someone in obvious pain and not knowing what to do to help.

7. Walking out on the glass platform at the Grand Canyon. Just thinking about that makes my stomach flip!


8. Going to the top of the new World Trade Center (when it opens).

Here are two bloggers who talk about going outside their comfort zones. Read or view their thoughts and you will find encouragement for stepping out of your comfort zone.

How to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone without Freaking Out by Laura Drake on Writers in the Storm Blog.

Video Challenge: Stepping Outside of My Comfort Zone by Jan Morrill on The Red Kimono.

Meow for now. =<^;^>=

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4 thoughts on “May 3- A Few Uncomfortable Things

  1. It’s hard being visual spatial because the teachers think you’re just not paying attention — not that it’s the teaching method that’s the problem. I still remember a second grade math class where the teacher called me up to the board to do a problem and then spanked me in front of the class because I was taking too long.

    • Ooh…that hurts me too. I have bad memories of going to the board to do math problems, but I never got spanked in front of the class. I can remember being embarrassed in 3rd grade when a teacher called me out for talking while she was giving an assignment. I couldn’t help it. I was so excited by the writing assignment that I had to tell my friend about it. That experience deflated me (I was painfully shy)and I never wrote that story. But on the other side, I had some of the best, most encouraging teachers ever. They contributed to who I am today.

  2. Thanks for the blog love, Janice. I really enjoyed your uncomfortable things blog. And thanks for giving us the opportunity to consider the “uncomfortable” in our lives.
    -Fae Rowen

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