to sit with something

Noon2501

Senior Member
Arabic-Egypt
Hello,

Source - How to Break Up With Your Phone - Catherine Price

The expression I encountered here is "to sit with [something]". I am guessing it means: to tolerate, or to accept something. Please correct me if I am wrong.

The context:
Don’t be surprised if you feel irritable, impatient, or flooded with a wave of existential malaise. You’re detoxing. If and when that happens, you can choose to sit with
this discomfort
— a great practice, even if it’s not that pleasant.

(Note: this paragraph is tackling the idea of separating oneself from smartphones for 24 hours.)

Thanks!
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, that is the meaning. I know the expression as 'live with', but it is clear 'sit with' has the same meaning. I think the suggestion of not moving is unintentional in this case.
    Is there another sentence afterwards that says what you can do if you don't choose to sit with the discomfort? That may give a hint as to the writer's thoughts, and perhaps why they chose to use the word 'sit'.
     

    Noon2501

    Senior Member
    Arabic-Egypt
    Yes, that is the meaning. I know the expression as 'live with', but it is clear 'sit with' has the same meaning. I think the suggestion of not moving is unintentional in this case.
    Is there another sentence afterwards that says what you can do if you don't choose to sit with the discomfort? That may give a hint as to the writer's thoughts, and perhaps why they chose to use the word 'sit'.
    I am going now to include the sentence the precedes the mentioned context and the one that comes after.

    The paragraph starts with:
    "Don’t be surprised if you feel irritable, impatient, or flooded with a wave of existential malaise." Then follows the sentences I included in my question. So the author was not referring to physical discomfort. However, she goes on with the second option afterwards with this sentence:

    "Alternatively, you can use your extra time to do one of your pre- identified activities." She suggests that the person who is "detoxing" from excessive phone use tries other activities if they do not opt to "sitting with" the discomfort she refers to at the beginning of the paragraph, namely feeling "irritable, impatient, or flooded with a wave of existential malaise" out of not having their phones at hand after having been used to them.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    Ah, it seems the author chose 'sit' to contrast with 'do...activities'.

    It doesn't change the meaning, and 'sit' isn't meant that you should literally sit still while undergoing discomfort.
     

    Noon2501

    Senior Member
    Arabic-Egypt
    Ah, it seems the author chose 'sit' to contrast with 'do...activities'.

    It doesn't change the meaning, and 'sit' isn't meant that you should literally sit still while undergoing discomfort.
    So I guess since he's not going to be physically doing something, that still means he is going to "sit" and tolerate the discomfort mentioned.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    So I guess since he's not going to be physically doing something, that still means he is going to "sit" and tolerate the discomfort mentioned.
    They may well be physically doing something, just their everyday tasks rather than one of the pre-identified activities. 'Sit' provides contrast in language and how the reader might imagine the two alternatives; it makes the second option of doing a pre-identified activity sound more attractive than might otherwise be the case, and that may well be the writer's intention. But your original understanding of the meaning is correct, 'sit with' really just means tolerate, it does not literally mean the person has to sit down and do nothing.
     

    Noon2501

    Senior Member
    Arabic-Egypt
    They may well be physically doing something, just their everyday tasks rather than one of the pre-identified activities. 'Sit' provides contrast in language and how the reader might imagine the two alternatives; it makes the second option of doing a pre-identified activity sound more attractive than might otherwise be the case, and that may well be the writer's intention. But your original understanding of the meaning is correct, 'sit with' really just means tolerate, it does not literally mean the person has to sit down and do nothing.
    Thanks a lot!
     
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