When Your Comfort Zone Becomes Uncomfortable

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chocolateThe Simple Explanation

Penny: Okay, that’s fine, but let’s try and get you out of your comfort zone.

Sheldon: Why would we want to do that? It’s called the comfort zone for a reason.
   —-The Big Bang Theory, Series 4, Episode 14, “The Thespian Catalyst”

Comfy chair, comfort foods, comfy sweatpants – we all know the benefits of retreating to our comfort zone temporarily when we’re overwhelmed, feeling blue or have just had a rough day.  I tell myself it’s OK to order my favorite guacamole tostada from my favorite Mexican restaurant (again) because I know I will like it and just for today, I don’t feel like taking any chances.

The Known vs. the Unknown

But if we’ve been hiding out there for too long, something else happens.  Comfort eventually turns to Discomfort.  Stagnation.  Boredom.  It pinches like a pair of shoes a half size too small.  We get the nudge that something’s missing and we are meant for more.  We feel the need to stretch, even if it’s ever so slightly the smallest stretch.

Living things are either growing or dying.  This is a Universal Truth and there is no in-between.  Growth may be dormant in the winter months, but plants are still maintaining life.  In the spring, the evidence of life and growth return.  An ebb and flow, like the ocean tides, that I have learned to honor and am continuing to learn to honor.  I’ve heard it referred to as a gestation period as well.

Taking a Risk

“Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”
  —Star Trek, The Original Series

Yeah, but can that food replicator get the nuances of my favorite guacamole tostada?

Don’t you know there were episodes when Dr. McCoy thought, “Whoa, I did so NOT sign up for THIS!”

Maybe you’ve had episodes in your own life where you thought that, too.  I know I have.  Truth is, we signed up for “it” when we were born into this life – Growth.  We can resist leaving our comfort zone kicking & screaming & fighting, or we can embrace it.  Sometimes we manage to do both at the same time!

Courage to Change

“It takes great courage and inner strength to change from what is known and comfortable to something which is new and fresh.
That which is unknown often contains our greatest potential. 
To seek our potential by visiting change is the path of true greatness. 
Such action brings great favor and untold blessings.”
                                                                                          —Source Unknown

What’s Next?

So what do you do when you observe the signs you’ve been in your Comfort Zone a little too long?  Big changes can feel scary or exhilarating or both.  It seems a little easier when we choose change than when we feel like a victim of circumstance.  Sometimes taking small but strategic, powerful steps works well; other times something larger is necessary.

TIP:  Grab a pencil & paper or the Notes on your phone & write (briefly) about 3 times you have faced change.  Is your pattern to: 

  • embrace change head-on
  • dip your toe in the water
  • run away screaming in terror
  • something in between
  • all of the above   

How well has that worked for you?  Will you try the same approach or a different one?  What do you need this time?

I’d love to see your comments, below or by email.

One Comment

  • Leticia

    Hi Keri,

    I find this article very interesting. While I definitely DO NOT embrace change head on, I no longer run away screaming. Why? I’m not sure. I’m somewhere in between. Maybe at the “dip your toe in the water” scenario.

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