The benefits of Uncomfortable Learning

why we learn more when its uncomfortable...

Can you think of a situation where you learned something at a deep and profound level - it may have been a learning about yourself or about someone else, where you gained an insight into a character trait or two that you hadn't witnessed or experienced before?  

I am curious as to whether there was a level of discomfort in that learning.  I have recently been convinced that the most beneficial learning and self awareness occurs where we are truly challenged, and uncomfortable with what we are facing. And convinced also that relationships are strengthened when we are put in a position where we must explore and achieve mutual understanding with another.

I recently found myself in the unfortunate position of having to tell my partner I had driven the car, at speed, into his father's house - part of the house that was not the garage!  Uncomfortable indeed.  As it happens I didn't actually need to tell him as such, as he had felt the impact at the other end of the house.  His reaction and mine, and his father's, over the next few hours and days as we dealt with the consequences of the accident, taught me more about myself, my partner, his family and our relationships than I could ever have imagined.  We HAD to react, we HAD to talk about it and we HAD to choose whether it would make or break the family holiday which involved not only us but our five children also. 

The aftermath brought into play all our resilience tools - time out, mindfulness, breathing, gentle conversation, reassurances, gratitude that no one was harmed, gratefulness for the lessons we learned, empathy for each other.  While I now have to deal with the admin and pain of an insurance claim, I reflect on the two days or so and am grateful for the opportunity I have had to learn about myself, my partner and our relationship.  

After 24 hours, my partner summed it up perfectly - it wasn't comfortable learning, but boy it was real, it was beautiful and a truly authentic demonstration of our character.  You can't hide your thoughts and feelings in the event of an accident. Your initial reaction shows your true colours!

So I am curious now, to be mindful about how we best learn - how we learn more when things aren't going smoothly.  Rough and bumpy, uncomfortable and challenging - sounds like a perfect learning platform and foundation for a relationship!!??


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