Yes, we all know we should "step out of our comfort zone" but do you really even know where your "comfort zone" truly begins and ends?
Unfortunately, this hypothetical safe space isn't as tangible as this saying has made it out to be.
Fortunately, it is much easier to access than most people think.
Am I the only one who has felt that this saying is ironically more restrictive than inspiring?
Hear me out.. Why does comfort have to be positive and discomfort negative?
*Ah yes the beauty of reframing perspectives. We don't often realize the impact that diction has on our system of beliefs and understandings*
Can we find positivity in being uncomfortable? Do we always have to perceive discomfort as negative?
Survey says... WE CAN ABSOLUTELY FIND POSITIVITY IN DISCOMFORT.
Discomfort is one of the most transformative spaces; for the conscious mind, that is.
This brings us to, what I like to call, the conscious observer vs. the experiencing self (see this post for further thoughts on this concept).
The conscious observer will identify the discomfort without feeling threatened by its presence. The conscious observer will identify the trigger of the discomfort and appraise if it is a true threat to the experiencing self's well being.
The self, in modern times, is threatened when physical or social well being is at stake. The influences of social status has increased as evolution has become more complex, I think. When we have a sense of belonging in a community, we find security and support.
When these conditions are facing a potential change, the self must decide which route to embark- fear and panic or resilience and conflict resolution.
Let's break it down:
So for example, my boss gives me the task of presenting a new project to the rest of the team by this Friday and today is Tuesday. Now, if you became instantly stressed by the thought of this, you have just appraised this situation as a threat and your sympathetic nervous system may have been tickled a bit. If you did not even flinch at this hypothetical situation or you found this somewhat exciting, you have appraised this situation as a challenge that you feel confident in overcoming and your sympathetic nervous system was not triggered.
Why am I talking about this? Because our sympathetic nervous system is where stress mechanisms function. Stressful situations create avoidance in the unconscious mind. Why? Because it threatens our wellbeing.
And here is the pretty little bow you are all looking for... the relationship between stress, lack of introspection and staying within the tight quarters of a shrinking comfort zone is critical. It is a cycle some fail to break. While finding comfort is important, the dimensions where this comfort exists are the important piece. If comfort becomes dependent on other people, places, or habits of some kind, this may be more harmful than helpful at times. Finding a balance between developing close relationships with others and maintaining a secure attachment style is key. Finding comfort within the dimensions of mind, body, and spirit could be ideal. Why? I believe relying on your ability to create peace and adapt to changing environments and circumstances is ideal for building resilience.
Resilience grants you access to "portable comfort zone".
You become your own comfort zone.
When you become your own portable comfort zone, the world becomes thrilling and enticing.
Dare to leap into the unknown, take in all the magic you can, and move forward.