What Is Your Comfort Zone Costing You
Let’s talk a bit more in depth about the correlation between what you’re struggling with and how that struggle is SERVING your basic needs.
Yes, your STRUGGLE is meeting your needs and that’s why you can’t (or won’t) let go of it.
Let’s take a look at my own struggles with anxiety and bulimia.
How my struggles (bulimia and anxiety) met my needs
- My bulimia and anxiety were consistent and comfortable.
- My bulimia and anxiety provided me with numerous additional problems that left me distracted and kept me busy trying to fix everybody else around me, whilst totally ignoring my own issues.
- My bulimia and anxiety made me feel significant! Hooray! I had to contend with something emotionally, mentally and physically challenging, and believe me, everybody knew it. All day.
- My bulimia and anxiety made me feel connected. When you’re not well, people pay attention to you. When you’re not well, people worry about you. Attention and worry made me feel connected to myself as well.
- My bulimia and anxiety helped me to grow. Or at least, I thought those problems helped me grow, The truth is, I was pedalling like crazy, but not getting anywhere. I was Sisyphus and these struggles were my rock.
My struggles felt safe to me because my needs were being met and they gave me a sense of purpose and focus. I was in my comfort zone.
What Is Your Comfort Zone Costing You?
We’ve examined some ways in which my struggles with anxiety and bulimia were meeting my needs but let’s now take a look at the expense those needs being met had on my overall well being.
That quote, from the awe-inspiring Brene Brown, really sums up what I’m about to say. As many of us know (perhaps just deep down rather than readily-available) is this:
- Comfort promotes stagnancy.
- Stagnancy prohibits change.
- Change is necessary to overcome adversity.
Consequently, our adversity cannot be overcome while we’re in a state of comfort.
Don’t believe the previous statement to be true? Let’s say you’re someone like me, who has struggled with bulimia.
Bulimia is certainly an uncomfortable disease physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. However, even with all of the ways bulimia is uncomfortable, it can also provide a tremendous amount of comfort:
- Certainty — it’s consistent and reliable — in other words, it’s a crutch.
- Significance — it’s challenging — in other words, it keeps creating drama to deflect attention from bigger issues.
- Connection — it provides attention and sympathy — in other words, it creates a “dysfunctional” identity.
- “Growth” — I placed this word in quotations because it provides coping mechanisms — in other words, it provides ways to allow for adaption without any solution.
This is the same across many, many struggles. If what you’re struggling with is a crutch, deflects attention from bigger issues, creates a dysfunctional identity, or enables you to adapt your struggle to your day-to-day life without any solution in sight, it’s costing you.
What is your comfort zone costing you? #SelfImprovement #Coaching #MentalHealth #Happiness #SelfCare #Balance #Motivation @coachedbyerin
No matter how big or small your struggle is, you can be sure of one thing: It is keeping you from living the life you deserve.
I believe when Brene Brown says, “You can choose courage or you can choose comfort, but you cannot have both,” she is talking about stepping away from how our struggles are meeting our needs and costing us our dreams, relationships and so much more. She is talking about embracing our struggles in a way which challenges our comfort zones so that we can find the courage to live a life where our needs are met in productive and progressive ways.
Questions that evoke lasting change
I wish I could say that beyond identifying your struggle and coming to terms with how it’s meeting your needs, it would be easy to make the changes you need to.
Nothing worthwhile comes easily, does it?
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t helpful ways to move forward, however. There are four important questions you can ask yourself and when you answer them with total honesty, I believe, you can get yourself through whatever it is that has been challenging you.
- If your struggle disappeared, what would you want next for yourself? Dig deep.
- If this problem belonged to someone you care about, what would you be willing and determined to do to solve it? We often sacrifice our own happiness for others, but if we’ve been sacrificing it for ourselves all along, it’s harder to know how far we will push ourselves. Give yourself that same effort!
- If this problem is impeding your courage, how uncomfortable are you willing to become in order to make your next move? Make a list of all of the things you have wanted to do that your struggle has kept you from doing and give yourself 30 days to take on one of those things. Document your discomfort or talk about it with someone you trust, but whatever you do, work through it and get it done!
- Who else’s life could be improved by seeing you happy, healthy, and making progress? Those who love us cannot live without suffering while we suffer. Think of how you can improve your relationships whilst you improve yourself. Remember, we are all connected in this universe and our actions affect everything (and everyone) we touch.
I’m not suggesting that there may have never been anything positive to come out of the challenges you have faced. Just think about something you have come out to the other side from in your life already. We all have the power to cultivate a life with meaning and purpose, and in order to do that we have to be equipped with the right amount of insight and compassion.
Do you know how you’re going to approach your struggles? Do you believe we cannot have both courage and comfort? Has this helped you identify an area (or areas) in your life that you want to improve upon?