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.
Meow for now. =<^;^>=