"Revolution" - a dramatic and wide-reaching change in conditions, attitudes, or operation.
We are living in a time of revolution.
I wonder if you would like to help me to bring about a peaceful revolution involving a much known attitude or concept: the Comfort Zone.
Why am I asking?
So it will become easier, quicker and simpler to move beyond the comfort zone where desired or where necessary. What we refer to as being "in our comfort zone" can be uncomfortable, even painful, may not work for us and may hold us back, sometimes for our entire lifetime from moving to the zone where we would be more comfortable, free(r) from pain and from where we could become closer to the best we can possibly be.
What we call the "comfort zone" is actually more accurate to call the "familiar zone" or our "habitual zone". Our place where we continue to practise and reinforce our habits long held, possibly even habits of our lifetime. It is true that at some level, familiar seems right, and "comfortable", even when it causes us pain - physical, emotional, mental, existential or spiritual. It is all we know how to do, so we repeat the thought/behaviour pattern over and over thereby reinforcing it (like wearing out the thread in a carpet via a much beaten regularly trodden path).
We not only do this, but in frustration even when it is not working for us, we try the same again, this time even harder to see if that will succeed. When predictably it doesn't, we are left yet again exhausted, angry, sad, defeated. But, how will we admit that it doesn't work when we have no viable alternative? That would be to enter the void of failure, doubt, anxiety, fear, uncertainty, to be left hanging in space. Surely worse off than at least the (false) hope of knowing what we CAN try again, may succeed this time. Thus maintaining the illusion of maintaining control, feeling powerful.
Some of us will at this stage eventually decide to try something new. Anything new just to avoid the feelings of failure, defeat, anxiety, despair, doubt, fear, knowing we are not on sound foundations. Experiences we know all too well from the familiar thought/behaviour that doesn't work.
(By the way, I am not suggesting all familiar behaviour is unhelpful. Some familiar behaviour does of course work well.)
So back to my theme.
How can it be helpful to term a place our comfort zone and then to convince ourselves we should move from there. Is this not a mixed message we are giving ourselves, possibly even masochistic? By doing this, aren't we suggesting to ourselves we are moving from comfort to discomfort or possibly pain? The problem is that what is familiar feels right (even if it causes pain) and what is right (actually literally physically comfortable) feels wrong as it is so unfamiliar.
If you choose to, try this small example and see for yourself.
Cross your arms. Now this next bit is rather a challenge and you need to do it quickly without thinking about it too much when I tell you. Here goes..... Now cross your arms quickly in similar fashion but the other way around.......... Some of you will not manage to do it correctly or at all. Whoever has managed it, see how it feels..... Awkward? Because it is not habitual, it is unfamiliar. But would you really suggest it is wrong, or truly physically uncomfortable?
By terming this familiar place our comfort zone, we automatically create a barrier which we then have to overcome in order to take even the first step forward from that place. Consider this. If there were true comfort there, then why would we want to move forward from it at all?
Naming this place accurately as our "familiar zone" instead, allows us to know where we are starting from, much like the pin on a map that says "You are here".
When you are able to accurately name something, it begins to lose its power over you. So let's name it accurately. What we used to call our comfort zone we now call our familiar or habitual zone.
And so often, naming it accurately then:
allows the right useful questions to arise naturally and answers to present themselves as to when and how to move forward with confidence in small, new, first, steps;
allows easier movement forward as there isn't an instant barrier to overcome.
How you work out how and when to move forward with practical skill and precision you can verify truly works is another matter and the subject of a later blog. For me such a mechanism is preferable to the "let's just try anything different and see what happens" method which I initially used for years before finding a much more reliable means.
Let's make ready to make possible, that first step forward beyond the comfort zone, into this new unfamiliar territory. How? Remove the barrier we've created by using that term which prevents us from taking the very first step crucial to moving towards the place we yearn to be.
So please, if you choose to, go beyond your comfort zone right now and re name that place your familiar zone instead from now on. Commit to being open and receptive to the direction which will take you into your true, real comfort AND comfortable zone to the extent you are not already there.
If you choose, please share and retweet this blog and/or tweet
"@OlwenJEdwards .Is your "comfort zone" comfortable?Does it work?Name it accurately as yr "familiar zone",then take the 1st step beyond it"
(c) Olwen Jane Edwards