Origins of discomfort and reactivity

I keep seeing that when there is a mismatch between my dearly held views and reality there is discomfort and reactivity, and this reactivity includes emotions such as anger, fear, sadness, grief, longing and even exhilaration.

The beliefs themselves create this discomfort and these emotions. If they were true, as I tell myself they are, discomfort and these emotions are reasonable reactions. We are wired to react that way.

I also see that the discomfort and the anger, fear, sadness etc. almost seem to come from the discrepancy between (a) knowing that my dearly held views are not true, and (b) still feeling compelled to hold onto them. Somewhere in me, I feel I need to hold onto them – to survive, to do well, to avoid discomfort, to find satisfaction and happiness. That’s another discrepancy that is bound to create discomfort and a range of different emotions.

So one discrepancy is between my views and reality, and the other is between feeling a need to hold onto these views while knowing – somewhere – they are not true. Both create discomfort and reactive emotions.

The discomfort and these reactive emotions are alarm clocks, as Byron Katie says. They show me that I hold onto views, that these are out of alignment with reality, and they invite me to take a closer look at what’s going on.

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