The Comfort Zone
Take a moment to study the image above. Focus on the words and study the meaning of every one. Every word could lead to a different decision. These decisions could lead to where you’re going, or they could lead you back to where you came from. Focus for a moment solely on the words in the circle titled Comfort Zone. Are you familiar with the words and phrases encompassed here? Do you find yourself nodding your head in agreement of whatever the comfort zone represents? Do you find yourself stuck inside a personal bubble of fear and struggle, just trying to survive the day to day life which has been presented before you?
As much as I hate to admit it, most days, I find myself within that circle. Although the terms used to define the outer circle are part of who I am, sometimes it’s not so easy to just hold onto passion and hope that all goes well. At the end of the day, as a mere human, it is a constant struggle to break out of my comfort zone and roam free and wild in the beauty of the ‘limitless’ world.
What is it about your comfort zone that’s so…well, so comforting? Look at the terms used to describe a typical comfort zone: Fear, settling, average, tired. I’m sorry, but those terms don’t sound very comforting to me, they are just about the opposite. Why are all of these emotions easier to come across? Why is is simpler to latch yourself on to an average, somewhat depressing life? It doesn’t seem to make most people happier, and I’ve hardly ever heard people honestly admit that they are cool with living a mediocre life. Isn’t life meant to be fulfilling and ground breaking? Shouldn’t you get up in the morning, look at the world with its passion and beauty and truly believe that you can do whatever it is you set your mind to? So, why don’t you?
I’ll bet most of you are groaning at the thought of a positive spin on your life. Maybe you’re not, but even so, does the thought of risking your comfort for a better life make your stomach drop? I’m sure it does. It is much easier to surrender to the comfort of your condition rather than stand up and make a change.
So, the question here is, how do you get out of it? How do you step out of the circle and just be happy?
Side note: Ever notice that children are always happy? What have they done with their lives to make them happy? What have they accomplished? They are happy because life is happy, and no one has made them sad yet. There is nothing in the world to make them sad, because they have not been exposed to sadness, or anxiety, or pain.
If you’re not happy, then something is wrong. A person comes into the world as a happy being, yet over time, the happiness fades away and they find themselves in this bubble of anxiety and misery all the time. And it’s a comfortable place to stay, so they end up hanging out in this bubble for years and years before it suddenly dawns on them that life is meant to be happy. And, it is. It’s just that they’re too busy getting caught up in worry and stress to notice that life is magnificent and beautiful. Being alive is good. Being alive should already make you happy.
You do not need a reason to be happy. Happiness should never be dependent on something. However, sadness always needs a reason. Happiness should be there simply for the reason that you exist, that you live. Anxiety, concern, issues need have a reason. What is that reason, you ask? The reason that “things” that happen in your life cause you any of the above uncomfortable emotions is because they are bigger than you. They are completely out of your control, and there is nothing you can do about them. Money troubles, health problems, worries, are, to a certain extent, out of your reach. They don’t make you feel good, and they certainly don’t add to your happiness.
So, you create a safety circle around you. You find a place of comfort, and you just stay put. And, to put it bluntly, your safety circle sucks. It’s not a safe place. The first step is coming to terms with the fact that you are not safe or happy in such a place. It’s a difficult realization to come to, but it is crucial to come to it.
How do you get rid of that unhappiness? You must release yourself from the prison you have unknowingly placed yourself in. Come to terms with the fact that there are things that you cannot control. But, just because you don’t ‘control’ something, doesn’t mean it’s going to fall to pieces. That may be the hardest part. We get bent out of shape when something happens that is out of our control, because we don’t understand why it’s happening or where it’s coming from. It’s unsettling. You put your fighting arms up and prepare to battle the world. But, stop for a moment. Think. Where are all of these things coming from?
The world is not a wild, untamed place, where things are a free for all. Understand that there is a higher power running the world. Call it whatever you like, but there is something there. I choose to see that G-d is in control, and that He runs my life. Surrender, and allow yourself to open your heart.
Things are bigger than you because G-d is bigger than you. When you see that G-d is guiding your life, you’re better off.
Now you’re half a step out of the “comfort zone” circle. The air feels fresher, crisper, cleaner. You inhale the world around you and are utterly shocked that you never noticed the beauty before.
But of course, things are never simple. It may be “easy” to surrender, to step out of the circle and accept that things may be out of your control, until something happens to you. Your patience is tested, and suddenly you find yourself right back where you began, hiding in anxiety, anger and depression. You go back to just surviving. So, how do you make it stick?
Honestly, I do not have an answer. I have tried, many times, to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground whenever a challenge comes my way. Most times, I find myself up in the air, blown away like a leaf in the wind. It’s not a good feeling, trust me. I may not have an answer, but I am learning to find methods that work. Meditation, my latest endeavour, has brought a balance into my life that I never knew I could have. By focusing and holding onto to something bigger than myself, and understanding that it is bigger than myself, I am able to find peace.
A key factor I must mention: You must want to change. It sounds simple, but it’s obviously not. If things were easy, then something would be wrong. You must make a firm decision that this is what you want. If you want to change, if you want to free yourself from a depressed, mediocre mindset, then you must make a conscious decision to do something about it, and stick to it. If you don’t want to change, nothing will help you. Years of endless work will be lost on you unless you internalize your strength and push forward. It is how hard you push in times of difficulty that will prove your strength.
Allow yourself to let go, surrender, and breathe in the beautiful world that is waiting for you just outside of your comfort zone.
This is my New Years resolution. What’s yours?