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A Bounty of Blessings Awaits you on the Other side of your Comfort Zone
Why Should you Want to get out of your Comfort Zone?
It may seem counterintuitive to leave a place of comfort to go to someplace that makes you nervous, or anxious. Why on earth would you leave a downy bed piled high with pillows and blankets to go into the chill of the day? Why, indeed?!
It helps to define what we think of as our Comfort Zone in order to better understand what is good...and bad about having one. For me, having a comfort zone is about feeling at ease in the day to day workings of your life. There is a comfort and an expectedness to the days as they unfold; no big earth shattering changes are happening; no big excitement...and likely also there is no big growth happening either. It is just a fact of life, a part of human nature; to be in one's comfort zone also can equate to being complacent.
While I'm all for comfort; and at the end of the day isn't that the main goal since the dawn of civilization; to find comfort in a harsh world? But, I am absolutely against complacency. Complacency would have us accept the Status Quo when we might need to instead be railing against that very thing! To be complacent can be to "give up" to cede the fight and accept that "This is as good as it get's". I choose not to be complacent and so I have worked hard over the years at making sure that I don't let that happen, or that I interrupt that complacent reality with an occasional dose of change!
Change is scary, but it is also enlivening, invigorating and stimulating! Without change we would just float about on our pillowed beds and never achieve much of anything. While we may be comfortable, and that is not a bad thing; we also remain stuck. If you, like me, wish to not stay stuck, or complacent, read further about the many benefits to be found from stepping out of your personal Comfort Zone.
But...what if I fail?
So often the thing that we most want is also the thing that most scares us. We have to look deep and ask ourselves, "what is it I'm afraid of?" When we can actually look at our fears surrounding change we are better able to move forward in spite of those fears. To see and face the fear is to also make that fear more relatable and less dreadful.
I have struggled with change for most of my life. I am not unique as many of us are very afraid of change. Why rock the boat when life feels like smooth sailing? Well, sometimes smooth sailing can become boring. I have had many times in my life where I've just had to "Do it" as the slogan would advise us. For whatever reason; boredom, ennui, disgust with the status quo; I found that I had to shake things up or go crazy!
Not every change has to be a big, life changing thing either. Sometimes, in the simplest of ways we can shift our course and affect enough change as to find life stimulating and challenging yet again. There are other times, when only the biggest of moves and changes are going to get you where you want to be; or away from where you are.
I took a huge leap a few years ago when I decided to move to a foreign country to live. Many people in my family and among my friends certainly thought I'd lost my mind when I announced "I'm moving to Belize". But, move I did! I didn't have any friends there; no job and not a definite plan. But, I had found a home, made acquaintances that would later become friends and secured a Volunteer position that ultimately did become my job. It was one of the biggest changes I've ever made. To go from a comfortable existence in the United States to living in a Third World Country with no motor vehicle and without many of the conveniences that we here in the US take for granted was life altering! Was it all fun and exciting? Oh, no...there were challenges and challenges upon challenges to be surmounted. But, while I learned to live without a car, and without certain assumed conveniences of life I also learned a lot about myself. I learned how to rely on my own ingenuity and how to take pleasure in sitting on my porch at night in the quiet of the jungle instead of watching television to fall asleep. I read book after book as I did not have a television. I rode my bicycle to Internet Cafe's to use my computer as I had no internet in my little house. It all may sound like hardship, and in many ways it was a lot of work; but the rewards were so worth it!
I am not proposing that we should all chuck our day to day existence's to move to foreign lands and live a life of toil and struggle. One can make changes without going to extremes! But, it is an example of how deeply I had wanted to rid myself of the inertia that had become my complacent existence and the path it led me down.
I had thought when making the decision to relocate to Belize, that it was for the rest of my life. As it turns out, I returned to live in the US in my home town in Colorado not quite three years after my journey began. It would be another story, told another time to go into all the reasons why I chose to leave Belize, but I make the point that even though I changed my decision to live there long term, I don't see it as a failure. And, even if it were a "failure" to make a different choice, it doesn't matter! What matters is that I took a chance and I changed my life and in doing so, I grew in ways that I could never have imagined! I became a person I never dreamt I'd be; an adventurer, a person willing to live in hardship and developed so many personal strengths in the process.
And talk about being out of my Comfort Zone! That would be a gross understatement! But, oh for every step away from that lovely comfort, I grew in so many beautiful ways.
There have been other big shifts in my life since then, none so far as big as the move out of the country. And with each new shift, comes new lessons and new growth. I will always be grateful that I took the chance and made the "jump" when I did.
So much is waiting for you on the other side of your fear
It is scary to make changes. I find that even in the throes of the changes; even as I witness the positive manifestations that are coming from my efforts to change, that my mind will still race with fears. I will wake up in the middle of the night, unable to fall back to sleep; pondering the "what if's" and the "if only" as I struggle to cope with all the change that is going on in my life.
But, I continue to press onward and forward with the change. I have come to recognize that even though it feels scary, disruptive and sometimes it feels kind of bad; to not change is to not grow! So, maybe it's OK to lose a few hours of sleep for a few weeks as I integrate this new change in my life. Maybe it's OK to feel a bit of anxiety or mild discomfort as I feel like I'm on stage, trying
out this new persona in this life I'm trying to create? Maybe we have to feel this discomfort in order to morph into our new life that we so desire?
I doubt that the caterpillar morph's into a butterfly without undergoing some sort of physical discomfort. I don't think that any change worth occurring, occurs without some sort of sense of the shift in consciousness having an effect on us.
It's been said "anything worth having is worth the effort" and in this respect that is a very true statement. If the change you are seeking to create in your life is worth having, then isn't it worth a bit of discomfort? For instance, if you are trying to lose weight and beef up your physical fitness, you will likely experience periods of physical hunger, a sense of deprivation and possibly some physical discomfort as you hone your physical body.
But, when you have successfully transformed yourself into a more physically fit, slimmer version of yourself, you will find that every single sensation that was less than "comfortable" was well worth it! You might even value the transformation you've made even more for having survived the struggle to come out the other side.
I am presently trying to become a social person after many years of being kind of sealed up in my comfortable cocoon existence. For me this means, joining some social groups, finding persons to date and just being out socially much more than I am used to. This might sound very simple to some of you, but for me it's been a huge shift! It is keeping me awake at night, making my mind race all the time about how I'm not going to be comfortably eating dinner in front of the TV, but instead out with a few strangers and ordering something off a strange menu. That is a good thing! It is also very scary to me. But, I just keep doing it and, as I get more comfortable being out and about with other people, those niggling thoughts about not being in my little Comfort Zone safely tucked in front of TV with my salad are easier to ignore. And, it's not really about ignoring those feelings, but learning to live with them. Learning to reassure that you are on the right path if you are finding ways to grow and be happy.
At the end of the day, isn't that what life is all about? Growing into the person you most want to be and finding happiness? And yes, finding Comfort? I don't recommend we eschew Comfort, just that we don't get so comfortable as to become complacent...and bored.
So, do what makes you happy and if it scares you a little bit....even better! Spread those butterfly wings and fly!