Kumashiro’s theory of discomfort suggests that as students [of life, at school, and as humans in general] we are unable to see true growth in our lives without struggle – without wading through discomfort.

It makes sense. When I heard this theory in college, I initially rolled my eyes. Why would I need to suffer to grow? A plant doesn’t suffer in the ground before it thrives. It has to be nurtured and can’t be exposed to too many harsh elements.

But then I remembered that people aren’t plants. And that, yes, while some circumstances may  cause us to wither away – our roots go much deeper and we are much more capable of coming back from trauma than a stupid cucumber plant. Or whatever plant you were imagining.

No one learns how to do anything perfectly the first time. We learn constantly from failure, and failure is uncomfortable. Failure doesn’t have to be a swear word or something to be ashamed of. We should encourage the people we love to venture into the unknown, to take the leap, to not cower. We should want those around us to have opportunities for growth, even if those opportunities come in obscurely wrapped packages.

But most importantly, we should be there for each other, seeing each other through to the other side of our learning experiences, whatever they may be.


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