Have you ever decided it was time for a change and completely turned your whole life upside down because you were unhappy???
Or, perhaps you are the type that is petrified of change and keeps convincing yourself that you are happy because it’s far safer than taking a step in to the unknown.
I’ve been on both sides of these examples and let me just tell you the one thing I know for sure. Some of the most amazing transformations in my life have been from moving beyond that fear, ignoring all the logical reasoning and justifications as to why I should stay right where I am, and stepping just outside my comfort zone and into the unknown.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it is scary as hell to take that leap, to decide for yourself that you are doing something even before you can be certain of what the outcome will be. There is nothing in this world that can seem more terrifying than the unknown, but let me tell you, it is one of the most incredible journeys you will ever look back on.
The biggest problem with our comfort zone is that it is so damn convincing that comfortable equals happiness, and that is not always true. I mean, sure, there is a certain level of, well comfort, that stems from staying within the walls of our comfort zone, but don’t let comfort fool you in to always thinking you’re happy.
I have worked my ass off to get to a “comfortable” place in my life where I finally feel confident in being who I am. I am genuinely and whole heartedly happy in my marriage, my job, and my overall place in life at this point, but that doesn’t mean I’m not always striving for more. I am comfortable where I am, but I’m not getting comfortable in the sense that I want everything to stay exactly as is and never change.
Date nights are still a must in my world and I believe it’s incredibly important, at least for my husband and I, to continuously make time and effort to reconnect, check in, and spend some time together reflecting on our goals, our hopes and our dreams, because I believe it’s important for us to not fall in to a place where we get too comfortable and take one another for granted. And as far as work goes and my overall well being, I am continuously taking new courses, reading books and educating myself on new spiritual practices and ways to improve my overall wellbeing, because as happy as I am with myself, it is a lifelong journey for me.
This is not the type of comfortable I’m referring to.
What I’m referring to, is that comfort zone that tells you NOT to do something because it’s just too scary. You know what I’m talking about, that voice that tells you that your job isn’t THAT bad and you should just suck it up, or that your partner might change even though you know it’s been years and that empty void is still very much there, or that part of you that tells yourself you’re too old, it’s too late, or “it probably won’t work anyway”.
Yah. That one.
So, how can you tell the difference between being in a comfortable place in your life and being stuck in your comfort zone??
Easy, being in a comfortable place in your life is when you are genuinely happy with where your life is at. It’s when you can take a step back and look at your life and think “yes, this is what it’s all about, how does it get even better?” and be open to the possibilities that question might bring you. It’s when you know that things can and will change as time moves forward, but you also know that where you’re headed is only getting better and better from where you currently are.
You’re comfort zone, on the other hand, is where you tell yourself you’re genuinely happy with where you’re at because every time you consider making a change, the idea of it puts you into total shutdown mode and you avoid the idea at all costs. It’s when you ask yourself “how does it get even better?” But the question itself comes from a place of desperation, frustration, and sheer hopelessness. (although still keep asking, you’d be surprised how simply asking this question over and over can create great change!! Refer to my blog on Creating Magic In Your Life Part 1)
Now don’t get me wrong, there are times that we can be grateful that our brains are really really good at talking us out of ideas that might push us out of our comfort zone. Like when you chicken out at the last minute on hooking up with that guy with the teardrop face tattoo you matched up with on tinder, or when you are offered a questionable pill at a party guaranteed to “loosen you up and make for a good night”, and especially when you consider taking your entire life savings to bet on the undefeated New England Patriots for a Super Bowl win because “they’re gonna go 19-0” (Sorry bout your luck Tom!)
These are times when we can be absolutely grateful for that little voice inside our heads screaming at us to heed caution. But when it comes to your future, and what you really want out of life, it is oftentimes required for us to get a little uncomfortable in order to get ahead.
The best way, in my opinion, to figure out if you’re stuck in a comfort zone, is to be aware of what it is you bitch about. Seriously. If you find yourself bitching and complaining about the same things over and over again, yet you do nothing to change your situation, then I would say it is safe to say that you my friend, are stuck in your comfort zone.
When I went back to work after mat leave I hated my new job. It was boring, the days were long, and felt like I was never home to be with my family. I had just spend an entire year off with my son praying for time to slow down and now here I was, back to work wishing my days away. Praying for lunch, the end of the day, and thank god it’s Friday, only to hope like hell the weekend would linger long enough to recharge my spirits before that dreaded Monday rolled back around. I was miserable, but, my new job had also checked all the boxes. Decent salary with lots of room to grow, health and dental benefits, a pension package, not to mention a fancy desk AND my own business cards. Kind fo a big deal right???
But what the hell is the point if you are not going to be happy???
At the end of the day, even with all that “on paper” credentials of the job, none of it mattered, I mean, it wasn’t totally awful, there were obviously some great people, good potential, and lots of areas that I probably could have made myself happy with, it was a good job, but ultimately, I was unsatisfied, unfulfilled and knew deep down in my heart it wasn’t the place for me.
My brain however, wanted to keep me nice and comfortable, it’s good like that. It reminded me that my job had a lot of security, that I had a family to take care of and that the bartending job that I was considering leaving for was not only inconsistent as far as how much money I could potentially make, but it was a new restaurant and the success rates of those are like maybe 3 years.
I struggled with this decision, and if you’ve read my previous blogs you’ll remember that I wasn’t exactly overly supported in my decision to leave the comfortable job. But I did, and it was uncomfortable and scary as hell, but as I mentioned before, usually the most transformational decisions are!
The same applies when it came to my husband and I. Our world came crashing down in the spring, and all of y’all know THAT story by now. I’m not going to bore you with all those details agian, but my why I’m bringing it up this time is because what you might not know is that when all that went down I stayed for 8 whole months before deciding I needed out. 8 months man!!
You know why?? Cuz I had no freaking idea where the hell I would go or what I would do with my life and I was so goddam terrified to confide in anyone about what was going on because I couldn’t handle the judgement.
So, without telling a soul, I went house hunting, apartment searching, and looked at probably 7 or 8 different potential places to live before actually leaving. With every place, I convinced myself that I couldn’t make it on my own and chickened out come application time. Eventually my sister reached out and asked if I was ok, (uncanny timing not to mention a beautiful gift from the Universe!) I spilled my guts, told her how I was struggling and she offered my son and I to come and stay with her, it was actually the perfect solution. I knew deep down at my very core my husband and I would work things out, but I also knew I needed to get away and figure out what that was going to look like on my own.
Getting out of my comfort zone here was not just about leaving, it started with being willing enough to get uncomfortable with the conversation I didn’t want to have. My marriage was falling apart and I was stuck, scared, and felt totally alone, and I wasn’t willing to talk about it.
This whole situation was uncomfortable, every single part of it, from the start right till the very end, but it was also a turning point in my life that would ultimately change me at my very soul in ways I would have never been able to fathom. If I never took that step outside my comfort zone I would have never known this life that I am now so incredibly grateful for. If I continued to follow the logical choice, the sensible choice, the safe choice, who knows where I would even be right now.
Sure, things worked out for us, but it was taking that leap, it was packing my things and making that change that made me realize what I really wanted. I no longer felt stuck and although I was still scared and totally unsure of what direction my life was headed, by simply having the courage to take that first step I was able to open my mind as well as my world to an enormous amount of possibilities that I would have never even been open to had I stuck around and felt sorry for myself.
You guys, the courage that kicks in when courage is all you have left is remarkable. Honest. I literally look back on this part of my life now and think “How the hell did I even find the strength to do that” because even though I did, my brain STILL cant fully comprehend what we went through.
I think about when I called off my first wedding, or quitting my secure and stable job, or, as I mentioned above, walking away from another failed marriage attempt, and I still to this day can’t help but think to myself “Holy shit, that was ballsy”.
My point is, our brains simply cannot comprehend what we don’t know, so it will always, always work its best efforts to convince you to play it safe. All of these instances were scary as hell, but something kicked in when I decided there was no going back, something magical that I don’t even know if I can fully put into words. Something that I can only now assume was unconditional Universal support. It’s like becoming a parent for the first time, you don’t know how you’re going to do it, but once that baby arrives something just kicks in and you know you’ve got everything you need already inside of you. It’s no different when you decide to do something really really brave. It’s like, once you take that first scary step the courage just kicks in and the Universe begins to work its magic for you. It’s hard to see when you’re in the thick of it all, but when you look back on what you went through to get to where you are, you can’t help but want to fist pump your higher self for giving you that nudge to leap.
Life is short, and precious, and amazing and terrifying all at the same time, don’t waste it being unhappy. Take the leap, you’re a lot braver then you give yourself credit for!