Who doesn’t want to be comfortable? I love it when I have everything I need, when I’m relaxed, when I’m sitting in a cozy chair and I feel at ease with the people I’m with. All is well.
But there is this imaginary place we call our “comfort zone,” and I’m wondering if it is really all that comfortable.
What Is the Comfort Zone?
Let’s explore this idea of a comfort zone to see if it is actually supporting you and your happiness. What is it exactly?
- It is not a real place. It is an idea created by you.
- Its function is to keep you feeling safe.
- It is what you know and are familiar with in all areas of your life—relationships, choices, how you spend your time—even thoughts patterns and feelings.
- It excludes things you are afraid of or uncomfortable with.
Your comfort zone doesn’t sound like a bad place to be—unless you are comfortable with disharmonious relationships you avoid working on, unfulfilling behavior patterns, resentments from the past, and beliefs about yourself and the world that limit you.
It’s about keeping the status quo. And what is the force behind it? Fear.
It’s All About Fear
If you have a comfort zone, you must also have a discomfort zone. And what’s out there in the discomfort zone? All those experiences you are afraid of. Consider these:
- Emotions you have been avoiding;
- Changes that seem risky;
- Potential and possibility that you aren’t allowing yourself to see;
- The unknown, outside of what you believe to be true;
- Ease with whatever life brings you;
- The freshness of life unfolding as it is.
Living in your comfort zone divides the whole of reality into areas that are acceptable and unacceptable. It is a mind-created, fear-based division that requires you to manage your life experience so you don’t stray into unfamiliar territory.
Although you stay safe, you draw imaginary lines in the totality of what is possible that keep you stuck, scared, and dissatisfied. Feeling worthless, small, or doubtful, spinning your wheels in old baggage, thinking of yourself as a victim, habits that don’t serve—these are the province of the comfort zone.
The comfort zone may be safe, but what does it deny? Enthusiasm, wonder, curiosity, and infinite possibility beyond the mind’s limits. Is it really that comfortable?
Out Beyond Comfort
If you want your experience to be different than it is, if you’re not happy, then you are being offered a golden invitation—to go outside your comfort zone and get to know discomfort.
Sometimes life throws us out there whether we want it or not. Your wife says she wants a divorce, tragedy strikes, you watch your child going down a troubled path, you win the lottery. These are life-changing experiences that shatter our ideas about how things should be and make us reconsider everything.
But you don’t need to wait for an extreme life event. Connect with your heart and see what you really want. I doubt you’re truly comfortable playing it safe.
Realize that staying in the comfort zone takes effort and vigilance. It resists what is. It hides from what is true. It makes you believe you are fraction of who you really are.
Step away from playing it safe, and you enter the world of possibility. You stop basing your life on what is false and instead tell the truth.
- Let yourself feel the fear that has been driving you, then don’t let it rule.
- Experience the emotions that underlie your compulsive habits. It’s the only way to be free of them.
- Have the hard conversations that you know will clean up your life. And it might be a conversation with yourself.
- Be willing to answer the call to leap into the unknown.
- Question every single way you define who you are to see if it is actually true.
You are welcome to stay in the comfort zone, if that is your preference. But be willing to tell the truth: is it really that comfortable?
Are you afraid of discomfort? Have you stepped out of your comfort zone? I’d love to hear…