Aug. 9, 2020- Living Without a Comfort Zone
I have always loved this graphic. I even have it drawn in my journal and will often refer to it to remind myself that to get to learning and growth, I need get through the fear. This is especially helpful when working on writing projects and they have reached the point where they have to go out into the world. I can no longer keep them all to myself and they must now be subjected to the eyes and hearts of others. I have to ready myself for the inevitable feedback and critique that, while necessary, also will point out the flaws and weaknesses in the writing. Which will allow me to revise and improve the writing, (yes, the learning zone) and therefore, ultimately, become a better writer (that most important growth zone).
But I also think that sometimes the comfort zone is not given the credit it deserves. That its value in our lives is not acknowledged. Comfort zones can be a safe place to rest, reflect, recharge. They can be places where we can breathe, take some time, and heal those wounds that inevitably come from living.
But what happens when your world no longer seems to have a comfort zone? That the safe place of common existence is no longer there? Where it seems that the fear zone has gobbled up what used to be considered your comfort zone?
Well, that is certainly the reality of 2020. That so often overlooked comfort zone, seems to have disappeared. It seems no areas of our life or mundane task is now without fear. When going to the grocery store and chatting with a neighbor become activities fraught with potential danger, you know that your comfort zone has drastically shrunk.
Now while life coaches and inspirational figures will often tell us that we should say good bye to our comfort zone, I respectfully disagree. Yes, I do believe that for a fulfilling life of growth and contribution, we should not be living in our comfort zone constantly. And yes, we must work our way through the zone of fear to reach those periods of growth and success. But retreating to your comfort zone for rejuvenation is not a bad thing. Having that comfort zone as a safety net can often make it easier to jump through the fear.
So if, like me, you would like a little time in your comfort zone, but are not sure where to find it in the midst of this chaos, perhaps the following tips might be helpful:
- Stop feeling like you are not measuring up. While setting high goals is critical to growth, remember that you should only be comparing yourself to yourself. Admittedly, that is difficult in this age of social media.
- Admit that life is different and therefore perhaps your expectations have to be adjusted. Life is not going to return to “pre-covid” life anytime soon. Once we accept that, we realize that we need to make some changes in our view of what normal should be.
- Lower your standards. This is the hardest part for sure. But this is not permanent. Just give yourself gracious permission to not shoot for amazing or awesome right now. Make sure it is temporary, and focused, but give yourself the time and space to ordinary.
So when life gets overwhelming, take some time to retreat into your comfort zone and do not feel guilty about it. Then, when your strength is back, you will be much more equipped to take on that fear zone and come though it with success.