Can you get comfortable being uncomfortable?

We had our second moon lounge last week and I have an observation.  We created four separate lounging areas in the yoga studio and had each participant randomly draw a number from a bag.  This number determined which group each woman will be in for the evening.  Our theory is that they will draw to them the people they need to be with.  I completely trust in this theory and yet both Moon Lounges we’ve found that the first grouping of women never works.

People are uncomfortable.  They don’t click with one another.  They’re not connecting but merely being “pleasant” and “accomodating”.  I run this event with Dorcas, the owner of Sol Yoga and both times we’ve looked at each other and thought – mandatory switch!  Last time we told people they had to switch groups.  This time we gave people the option to switch.  Many women stated that they wanted to switch but didn’t want to make the other women at their table feel bad for abandoning them, so they asked to make the switch mandatory.  When I spoke to my friends that attended they confirmed that they too felt very uncomfortable with their first group.  There’s a slight, but real level of disgust that occurs – as in, a “feeling of adversion to something one finds distasteful in some way”.

Yet once we make the switch, everything clicks.  People are laughing, talking, sharing, connecting, and feeling comfortable with one another even though they don’t know each other well at all.  It’s bizarre.

Interesting.  As I started to explore this concept, this odd thing that happens when women meet other women, I found a book called The Anatomy of Disgust by William Ian Miller with a great front cover picture:

DisgustDisgust, Miller posits, is a kind of protection; just as fear causes us to flee danger or loyalty prompts us to support one another, disgust draws boundaries and insulates the individual from outside incursions” ~ book review.

So here’s my theory.

  • I think they do pick the group they’re supposed to be in from the start.
  • I think they’re suppposed to be uncomfortable.
  • I think the people they get “stuck with” are there to make them think and question and doubt and wonder about themselves.
  • I think if we forced them to extend past their boundaries and be uncomfortable for a while, they’d really grow by the end of the evening.
  • I think if they had to face their insecurities while answering questions honestly they’d find that they actually do have a lot in common with the people that they don’t initially want to be around.
  • I think one of these days were not going to let people switch and see what happens.

And I know that the next time I’m around someone I’m not clicking with I’m going to talk to them a little longer and see what the hell it is they need to teach me.


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