On being uncomfortable

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On being uncomfortable

[cap­tion id=”” align=“aligncenter” width=“800”] US Navy 080203-​N-​0411D-​019 A stu­dent at the Navy Sur­vival, Eva­sion, Resis­tance and Escape (SERE) school breaks birch bark to start a fire, from Wikipedia[/​caption]

A friend of mine that was ordained last year hap­pened to be pass­ing through the area, so I invited him to join my fam­ily for din­ner. He’s vis­ited us before, and every time he does my kids and wife line up ques­tions galore about Catholi­cism, what they hear in school, and other top­ics. After the kids went to bed, I asked Father what the lat­est chal­lenge he’s had with things the Pope says.

Plenty of peo­ple like and don’t like Pope Fran­cis, but sim­i­lar to Pres­i­dent Trump, I think he gets mis­quoted a lot. Any­time I have non-​Catholic friends glee­fully tell me they heard the Pope sup­port homo­sex­ual unions, or abor­tion, or some other crazy thing, I nor­mally do a bit of dig­ging first before find­ing that they ref­er­enced a CNN arti­cle instead of actu­ally read­ing source documentation.

This week our dis­cus­sion went towards Laudato Si, the encycli­cal let­ter about tak­ing care of the Earth. Father pointed out he gets lots of ques­tions about why the Pope seems to hate air con­di­tion­ing (sec­tion 55), but he feels it is mis­used. The big­ger issue is not what elec­tri­cal appli­ances we are using, but the fact that they teach us to never be uncomfortable.

Think about it. We live in a pretty com­fort­able life. We have cli­mate con­trolled homes, cli­mate con­trolled cars and cli­mate con­trolled offices. Some peo­ple barely spend any­time out­side, and sadly this includes many chil­dren. The prob­lem is not that we have air con­di­tion­ing, but that we are being con­di­tioned to never be uncom­fort­able, which goes far beyond the tem­per­a­ture of our house.

Think about human rela­tions. Dis­agree­ing with peo­ple is uncom­fort­able. Argu­ing isn’t fun. Add a layer between you and the per­son via social media, and it’s eas­ier to do. We’ve seen that with the explo­sion of social media, where so many peo­ple are avoid­ing human inter­ac­tion, but will spend hours on Face­book. It’s sim­ply more com­fort­able to inter­act with your friends on Face­book. If they get a bit uncom­fort­able, sim­ply snooze them like an alarm clock for a few days, or just stop fol­low­ing their feed. No rea­son to be uncom­fort­able when you open the Face­book app!

What about mar­riage? Sim­ply not feel­ing it any­more? Why not just leave? Increas­ingly I and oth­ers have seen peo­ple walk out of mar­riage because they just didn’t feel it. It’s shock­ing to watch some­one mar­ried for 10 years say “I just don’t feel the love any­more” and scrap it all in an expen­sive divorce.

Reli­gion is no dif­fer­ent. Plenty of fallen-​away Catholics tell me they just weren’t “feel­ing it” at Mass, or that they needed ser­mons that were more uplift­ing. Lis­ten­ing to a hard to hear ser­mon that chal­lenges you to be bet­ter is appar­ently becom­ing too hard for most people.

The reverse of this is to be thrown into utterly uncom­fort­able cir­cum­stances. I got a taste of this at SERE school. I went from a nice air con­di­tioned hotel room to run­ning around in the desert, avoid­ing bugs, cac­tus and peo­ple with guns, all of which seemed to catch up to me faster than I could escape. I was scared about not hav­ing food. But at the end of it, I real­ized I was bet­ter for it. I had lost some weight and gained the abil­ity to con­trol my appetite, which has helped me main­tain a healthy weight since then. Even bet­ter, I feel more con­fi­dent walk­ing into cir­cum­stances that oth­ers would say make them feel uncomfortable.

I’m not alone in this. Wim Hof, a self described extreme ath­lete, has used cold expo­sure to make his body and mind sig­nif­i­cantly resis­tant to the ele­ments. If you want a good read, check out Scott Carney’s book What Doesn’t Kill Us, which fol­lows the author using Wim Hof’s expo­sure meth­ods to sig­nif­i­cantly improve his life.

We’re sup­posed to be uncom­fort­able in life. The dis­com­fort dri­ves us to be bet­ter and work through prob­lems. We’re not per­fect just as we are, and dis­com­fort is there to remind us to always work on ourselves.


This post rep­re­sents the views of the author and not those of the Depart­ment of Defense, Depart­ment of the Navy, or any other fed­eral agency. It def­i­nitely doesn’t rep­re­sent the views of any air con­di­tioner man­u­fac­turer either 🙂

Did you donate to Da Tech Guy? Instead of buy­ing that latte at Star­bucks and sup­port­ing abor­tion, give some money at the link below!

US Navy 080203-N-0411D-019 A student at the Navy Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) school breaks birch bark to start a fire, from Wikipedia

A friend of mine that was ordained last year happened to be passing through the area, so I invited him to join my family for dinner. He’s visited us before, and every time he does my kids and wife line up questions galore about Catholicism, what they hear in school, and other topics. After the kids went to bed, I asked Father what the latest challenge he’s had with things the Pope says.

Plenty of people like and don’t like Pope Francis, but similar to President Trump, I think he gets misquoted a lot. Anytime I have non-Catholic friends gleefully tell me they heard the Pope support homosexual unions, or abortion, or some other crazy thing, I normally do a bit of digging first before finding that they referenced a CNN article instead of actually reading source documentation.

This week our discussion went towards Laudato Si, the encyclical letter about taking care of the Earth. Father pointed out he gets lots of questions about why the Pope seems to hate air conditioning (section 55), but he feels it is misused. The bigger issue is not what electrical appliances we are using, but the fact that they teach us to never be uncomfortable.

Think about it. We live in a pretty comfortable life. We have climate controlled homes, climate controlled cars and climate controlled offices. Some people barely spend anytime outside, and sadly this includes many children. The problem is not that we have air conditioning, but that we are being conditioned to never be uncomfortable, which goes far beyond the temperature of our house.

Think about human relations. Disagreeing with people is uncomfortable. Arguing isn’t fun. Add a layer between you and the person via social media, and it’s easier to do. We’ve seen that with the explosion of social media, where so many people are avoiding human interaction, but will spend hours on Facebook. It’s simply more comfortable to interact with your friends on Facebook. If they get a bit uncomfortable, simply snooze them like an alarm clock for a few days, or just stop following their feed. No reason to be uncomfortable when you open the Facebook app!

What about marriage? Simply not feeling it anymore? Why not just leave? Increasingly I and others have seen people walk out of marriage because they just didn’t feel it. It’s shocking to watch someone married for 10 years say “I just don’t feel the love anymore” and scrap it all in an expensive divorce.

Religion is no different. Plenty of fallen-away Catholics tell me they just weren’t “feeling it” at Mass, or that they needed sermons that were more uplifting. Listening to a hard to hear sermon that challenges you to be better is apparently becoming too hard for most people.

The reverse of this is to be thrown into utterly uncomfortable circumstances. I got a taste of this at SERE school. I went from a nice air conditioned hotel room to running around in the desert, avoiding bugs, cactus and people with guns, all of which seemed to catch up to me faster than I could escape. I was scared about not having food. But at the end of it, I realized I was better for it. I had lost some weight and gained the ability to control my appetite, which has helped me maintain a healthy weight since then. Even better, I feel more confident walking into circumstances that others would say make them feel uncomfortable.

I’m not alone in this. Wim Hof, a self described extreme athlete, has used cold exposure to make his body and mind significantly resistant to the elements. If you want a good read, check out Scott Carney’s book What Doesn’t Kill Us, which follows the author using Wim Hof’s exposure methods to significantly improve his life.

We’re supposed to be uncomfortable in life. The discomfort drives us to be better and work through problems. We’re not perfect just as we are, and discomfort is there to remind us to always work on ourselves.


This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other federal agency. It definitely doesn’t represent the views of any air conditioner manufacturer either 🙂

Did you donate to Da Tech Guy? Instead of buying that latte at Starbucks and supporting abortion, give some money at the link below!