Stephen Jenkinson: On Discomfort

“Years ago I worked in the death trade. I was administratively in charge of all I surveyed, and for a handful of minutes I was referred to as ‘an opinion leader’ in certain parts of the medical mainstream. The clinicians I supervised were I think by turns stimulated and dismayed by the kinds of measures I was advocating. One of them took to ‘teaching’ to outside groups what I was teaching them in supervision. That seemed to me a kind of rushed rate of learning translation. So I asked her to tell me what she was teaching in these outside sessions. “Oh”, she said, “It all comes down to getting comfortable with your discomfort.”

No it doesn’t. Comfort is nothing to be proud of, nothing to brag about. It’s a secret numbing, there to help you overcome the overt numbing. Same numbing, soon enough. Getting comfortable with discomfort is a shell game, a pyramid scheme.”