Last week we looked at changing our view and we touched on the issues that negative a comfort zone can cause for you. Today we are going to explore this in more detail, helping you to see more clearly where you are in life and what you can do to help expand your world. A comfort zone is a psychological state in which things feel familiar and comfortable, whether it be with the people you’re around, or the situations you’re in. You feel totally in control of the environment, experiencing low levels of anxiety and stress. In this zone, a steady level of performance is possible and you feel that you can do anything at all in this zone, nothing is out of your reach. This is great if you’re doing everything you enjoy doing and your life is full and fulfilled. But for some of us this comfort zone has actually become a prison, we are just living behind this façade that we have to, maybe we are in denial over this or maybe it’s very clear to you that it is a big limiter but your fear is getting in the way of change. If your comfort zone is negative to you then it isn’t really the comfort zone as people like to call it, it is the hiding zone, the just getting by zone, the fearful zone, the average zone, the limiting zone and the treading water zone.
These issues are things I see every day in my clinic, how can I help someone make a change which has negative limitations about moving forward getting in the way? And if they have continued to fail, then it’s time to take the action needed to make lasting change. Often, do this, because making change seems painful; being slim means depriving yourself of the foods you feel you love, leaving your toxic relationship might mean you could end up alone, changing your career could mean that you could fail at the new job. You can relate this to so many areas of your life, in fact it could be the foundation of many limiters we have in our lives and is it real? or true? Or is it just the belief you are holding, that is the limiter? We can all feel nervous about making big changes in our lives and often this is quite normal, having a true comfort zone doesn’t mean that you’re are reckless in the things that you do. Nerves at time are quite a normal and a necessary thing to us, it gives us the time to think things through instead of just leaping into things that may not be right. But if we compound the fears over and over again, then is a problem as the fear behind the process of changing just gets bigger too. This will mean that we can retreat further into the fear zone, making change can then become even more difficult to reach. We can end up barricading ourselves in behind an invisible barrier as we fear venturing out, because we believe that beyond the wall is pain.
In the most extreme cases, the walls actually become the walls of people’s homes that they have now found themselves hiding behind. The comfort zone is now the avoidance zone, hiding away from the pain you believe changing will cause. We can all feel this fear zone around us, all we have to do is to imagine anything which is way outside of our comfort zone. For many people, they will feel the nerves and fear that come with doing these things just by trying to imagine doing it. The longer we have been putting this off, or avoid it, the bigger the fear will have become, in fact these issues often grow. Making things become harder for you to do, as well as the original issues, normally things that have a similar connection to the things you’re afraid of doing are the new fears we develop.
We often then just keep reminding ourselves how safe we feel inside the comfort zone,
It probably feels a safe and familiar place, free of the pain, that being in this world can sometimes bring with it. Merely trying to escape pain isn’t enough for us anymore, that doesn’t last long as a positive thing, we then feel the loss of not achieving our desires, our dreams and our goals. This can then lead us to look for other things that can bring us comfort in our supposed comfort zone, like drinking, smoking, excess food, shopping, gambling and drugs. The list can be endless as we search for the ever-elusive comfort zone, many of these behaviours are widespread and in fact our entire culture is looking for a comfort zone. This I feel comes at a massive price for us all hiding behind the wall, if we are living in one of the more affluent and socially evolved parts of our world, we are actually just so lucky to be living at a time when we have the chance to do and achieve many different things. One hundred years ago we were born and died in a 12-mile radius and our comfort zone was something that kept us safe in the space we were living in, as we didn’t know who or what was outside of this comfort zone. Now not achieving our true potential is massively different, not to enjoy some of life’s incredible possibilities, due to our fears that stepping out of the comfort zone will be painful is truly quite sad.
The world is different, we need to face the facts that the pain we fear is not the same as it was 100 years ago and that much of it is actually a negative belief and is not a real-life threat. It’s now time to wake up to this and realise that actually it might be more painful staying the way you are and not embracing expanding your comfort zone. Giving up being slim, finding your true love, achieving success in your chosen career. Even just the everyday things like feeling comfortable to chat and laugh with people we meet in life, being able to be ourselves, say how we feel, enjoy doing fun things. If we don’t face the fears, we end up relinquishing our most cherished dreams and aspiration, it’s vitally important for you to now see the terrible cost, this so-called comfort zone is causing you.
But as a therapist, I’ve found that this information, by itself isn’t always enough to get people to change as we do often know this consciously but it’s our primitive mind and our unconscious mind that’s getting in the way. The most exciting thing is, is that it isn’t real, it is just an old programmed habit and learning to break the habits that hold you back will help you make your comfort zone its true size.
Next week we will look at habits and the ways to help you break the bad ones and gain more confidence in moving your life to a better more for filled place.
Thanks for dropping by Sara x