Brighter Smiles: Getting Comfortable with the Uncomfortable

Tuesday May 21, 2024

This week the topic has nothing to do with dentistry. It is a topic that some will be able to relate to and others may not. It is a topic that some may appreciate and others may criticize. It may be something you have thought about before or maybe have never thought about. It is about thinking outside the box and being comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Regardless of your line of work, there comes a point when we all get comfortable with where we are and how we do things. Initially, that is a good feeling, but eventually it is a feeling that challenges us in our own growth. It is impossible to go through life doing things the same way and feel content forever.
In my 25th year in this profession, I do very few things the same as the way I was originally taught. I am constantly learning, but often struggle with how to apply things I learn, or whether to apply them at all. However, being uncomfortable with being comfortable challenges me to grow.
Many of us, and especially people in a service-related industry, which I can relate to the most, can exhaust ourselves trying to predict and control what other people think about us as individuals and about the work we do. This feeling is a trap and very self-limiting.
Do people understand me? Do they like me? Do they know how much I care about what I do? Do they care? These questions can paralyze us into inaction. These feelings can cause us to never even come close to reaching our full potential. We “play it safe” too often, and need to consider going outside our comfort zone to realize growth, both personally and with our work.
Has this thought ever crossed your mind: “What in the world is my purpose while I’m here on this planet?” We have to have purpose, otherwise we are lost, and we have to have faith or we remain lost.
We all go through the various stages of life and experience joy and happiness, sorrow and pain, confusion and temptation. Some struggle with these things more than others, which can also impede our growth as individuals. Each of us looks for the things in life that brings us more joy and happiness rather than other things listed above. However, focusing on “what’s in it for me?” can be just as destructive.
Constant growth in mind, body and spirit are essential to mature as individuals. We need to be mature enough to recognize that each of us has our own set of resources, and be able to determine how these resources can help others versus being a roadblock.
We all have our faults, admitted or not. Most of the time we are unable or unwilling to express our faults to anyone because of pride. We want everyone around us to think that we have no “issues”. It takes awareness to allow for self-reflection and at least admitting to ourselves where we need to improve in our personal and professional lives.
This is difficult to do alone. Your best bet is to work together with someone close to you who also has similar intentions so that you can hold each other accountable. Perhaps one of those areas you wish to improve is your own health.
Dr. St. Clair maintains a private dental practice in Rowley dedicated to health-centered family dentistry. He has a special interest in treating snoring, sleep apnea and TMJ problems. If there are certain topics you would like to see written about or questions you have please email them to him at

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