Gentle Reminder: The Discomfort of Comfort

You reach for food to soothe yourself, to comfort yourself, to make everything better just for a moment.

But what happens when that moment is over?

The discomfort kicks in.

You feel over-full. You feel sick. You hate yourself.

What was intended to be comforting has to turned into physical and emotional discomfort.

Why have I done this to myself yet again, you ask. Why?

Maybe you’re stressed, vulnerable, bored, lonely or frustrated. Perhaps you need downtime, reassurance, fun, connection or a chance to shine.

Why is it so difficult to meet those needs directly?

Because it feels uncomfortable.

Even if you’re able to identify what you’re feeling, any attempt to fulfil your emotional need collides with the belief that looking after yourself is selfish.This conflict causes you anxiety and you interpret your discomfort as a sign you’re doing something wrong. So you stop.

In reality, that discomfort is a sign that you’re doing something very, very right.

Changing how you relate to yourself is an uncomfortable process. You encounter resistance from long-held and deeply ingrained beliefs. I’m not worthy of comfort. I don’t deserve self-care. I’m simply not one of the precious few who are allowed to be themselves, embrace everything life has to offer and have a damn good time.

But you are. You absolutely are.

If it feels uncomfortable to speak to yourself with kindness, to offer yourself understanding, to care for and comfort yourself – good. That means you’re pushing back against the idea that you’re not allowed to consider your own needs.

Keep pushing.

Keep pushing until you arrive at a place that feels right for you. Where you balance your needs with the expectations of others.

A place where giving yourself comfort – real comfort, not the counterfeit comfort that comes with binge eating – is no longer uncomfortable.

©️ Julie de Rohan 2019.


To explore more about meeting your needs, click here to read the post “If It’s Not Food What Do You Really Need?”

18 thoughts on “Gentle Reminder: The Discomfort of Comfort

  1. Hi Julie, great post! It’s so counter-intuitive, learning to accept that discomfort can be a sign of something going right, not wrong. I’m going to try and apply that elsewhere as I think it’s a key learning point, thanks so much, Lxx

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    1. Hi Lol. I think change is very often uncomfortable, which is why we resist it but there’s something about leaning into the discomfort and reassuring ourselves that it’s OK for us to do things differently – the more we do this, the easier it becomes. Many thanks for your comment, hope you have a great Bank Holiday Monday!

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  2. Firstly, it’s so good to practice what we preach and it’s good to have a schedule to publish and Monday is so close to Sunday anyway 😊 hope you’re enjoying the bank holiday
    « Why is it so difficult to meet those needs directly? »
    I wanted to ask it and then you did🙂
    My answer is most of the things that comfort us are related to other people (even if eventually it shouldn’t be and we should be happy alone and so) but it’s just a myth
    downtime probably is the only thing here that needs alone time but reassurance, fun, connection to others or a chance to shine..are all related to others and the more we grow up, the more it’s complicated and hard to establish healthy connections with people, so most of us eat, drink, smoke…. probably it’s easier than the disappointment created when we get rejected in anyway (not necessary love but all aspects of life).
    It’s the way I see it and probably it’s my point of view only
    Thank you for sharing, always enjoy your posts 😊

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    1. Hi Huguette. I agree that connection to others and a chance to shine are related to other people, but I think it’s possible to offer ourselves reassurance and, while we often have fun with others, I think we can have fun on our own – and actually I think it’s a great way of getting to really know ourselves. “The more we grow up, the more it’s complicated and hard to establish healthy connections with people” – you’re right that it’s often the lack of healthy, mutually-supportive relationships, (and the sense of isolation that goes with it) that make people turn to food (or other substances, as you point out). Really good to hear your thoughts, thank you for taking the time to leave a comment and share your views.

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      1. It’s my pleasure to leave my thoughts actually 😊 and I understand what you mean and you’re certainly right and we should enjoy our own company and have fun and more… but I guess it will also depends on our priorities in life and what really makes us happy…regardless the fact that we should always come first and we should always take care of ourselves
        Don’t know if it’s clear 🙂
        Have a good time and appreciate the exchange 🙏🏻

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      2. It’s very clear and you’re absolutely right to say it’s about what really makes us happy – those of us who are introverted are happy in our own company but, of course, extroverted people will need the company of others. Very good point! Thanks again, Huguette.

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  3. Feeling discomfort usually stems from something deeper, so being able to tap into these feelings can be very powerful. A lot of people try to hide the pain with alcohol, food, sex etc. but these things are short-lived. I feel like it’s some kind of escapism from reality. Once we can learn to accept reality for what it is, life becomes more beautiful.

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    1. Very nicely put, Hilary! I agree that exploring uncomfortable feelings is far more empowering than attempting to detach from them. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, much appreciated.


  4. “This conflict causes you anxiety and you interpret your discomfort as a sign you’re doing something wrong. So you stop.” – The most important part of this post. Thought-provoking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Any kind of change often causes discomfort which is why many people avoid it – but that discomfort is often such a positive sign. I think if you see it that way it’s often easier to be with, and also to accept that you won’t always feel so uncomfortable – it’s just a necessary part of the process. Many thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. “Changing how you relate to yourself is an uncomfortable process” – So very, very true. Comfort eating has been a feature of my life from, if you trace it back, a very young age. It’s a lot for us all to uncover, to work through the layers, to really analyse ourselves and come to a point where we feel we’re worthy of goodness and comfort, and to find it in healthier ways. Wonderful post, Julie. And a great idea to reclaim that time at the weekend as your own for rest & recuperation 🙂
    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You describe so well the process of healing from eating issues – “to uncover, to work through the layers, to really analyse ourselves and come to a point where we feel we’re worthy of goodness and comfort”. It’s a lengthy, challenging but, ultimately, rewarding process. Many thanks for sharing your thoughts, Caz, and for the support! I’ve realised as my work has become busier and busier – and especially because I work Saturdays – that my downtime was becoming increasingly squeezed. Changing my publishing day seemed like the obvious move so I’m not doing anything work-related on Sundays.

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