We all look for comfort, safety and security in everything that we do. Our families, relationships, work, health, everything is meant to give us a sense of comfort and security. We begin from the bare minimum requirements and slowly begin to upscale. It’s all fine till everything hits a standstill. When our safety and security is at its peak. This is the best that it can get and we feel settled. There is an everyday routine. The conversations begin to get predictable. The money feels just enough. And it’s all fine, till it isn’t.
Till a part of us begins to slowly wake up and starts noticing the other things that are out of our comfort zone.
We begin to notice that we have been driving the same car for the last 5 years, the house begins to feel small, the job feels boring at times, the relationship feels okay, the conversations aren’t fun anymore, health seems to be dwindling a bit and a feeling of not being stimulated enough begins to settle in.
like this, there are other feelings that start making their way into this ‘comfort blanket’ that we conveniently tuck ourselves in, night after night without realizing that it has holes now; because it’s old. Sooner than later, we also ignore to notice that we have outgrown the blanket.
Now, it only gives us the mental comfort that it’s keeping us warm. But the holes in the blanket, tell a different story altogether. It becomes a welcome blanket for feelings like emptiness, loneliness, stagnation, irritation, confusion, and frustration and gradually we realise that comfort isn’t good enough.
But it’s still comfort, isn’t it? It’s that feeling which makes you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. It gives you this illusion that you’re safe, and secure even though you’re not growing. Yet at times, it lets you overlook the fact that you are growing.
And this realization that while comfort is comfort; it’s not growth, expansion or fulfilment hits hard for some.
While comfort demands staying where you are; growth demands moving out of what once felt safe and secure into a newer and unfamiliar territory. Making decisions that are bold, and hard, can send your world into a tizzy. It also means acknowledging those parts of you that you keep trying to push under this blanket so that you don’t have to see them.
But till when?
Ignorance is bliss only till the time it’s not painful. Eventually, when the pain catches up it’s too much to deal with and it robs you of your ability to think.
And we let ourselves get there. We procrastinate, we ignore and tell ourselves stories about being stuck in jobs that are unrewarding yet paying the bills. Continuing with relationships that we have long outgrown or know in our hearts that aren’t for us simply because we fear loneliness or being the big bad wolf in the eyes of people.
We continue with courses because we are afraid of letting somebody else down because creating the illusion of perfection is so much better. We don’t ask for help when we need it the most, because it would mean facing our own truth. And, living in ignorance and denial is so much fun. But the fun only lasts until a certain time.
Yes, growth is scary. Change is intimidating. But in our hearts, we all know we are capable of it because the sole purpose of the human heart, mind and body is to evolve.
The purpose of life is evolution. Even when we think our lives have no purpose, we all by virtue of being born, have a purpose – to evolve.
Evolution or growth is so slow that by the time a perceivable change has taken place, the situation begins to change dynamically. However, it’s not something that happens on its own. It may feel so because we are too busy being aware of our external world than the internal.
While growth would demand some discomfort and disequilibrium; awareness can make the journey easier. It’s through awareness that we begin to create a new comfort zone.
Here are some things that we can and should do to acknowledge and stimulate our awareness
- Reflect: daily, weekly or monthly. Reflect on and think about your feelings in every aspect of your life. Think about what needs and wants are being met.
- Acknowledge the good and the bad. Feel happy for the things that are truly a source of joy and peace. Also, consider the things that are not.
- Be aware of what’s causing discomfort. Know what doesn’t feel how it was supposed to or you would like it to make you feel.
- Accept what you feel- that the job is boring. You don’t like what you’re studying, you’re not sure of your relationship, you are not comfortable in your house or family, you’re not physically fit etc.
- Initiate action –ask yourself these three important questions-
- What do you want to do?
- What can you do? Ask for a raise? Demand more responsibility at work? Change your job? Discuss issues with your partner. Change your field? Place of stay?
- What stops you from doing the things mentioned above? Are there practical constraints outside of your control or are your own fears and insecurities blocking you?
6. If you can’t change the situation, then change how you feel about it. Maybe, you really need a boring, unchallenging yet well-paying job. Then what’s the point of cribbing about it day in and out? Why not make peace with the fact that till the time you find something else, you have to use this tattered blanket? Find a way to fill the holes in this one itself.
7. When it’s time, make a change.
Growth and evolution are the natural order of human existence. Change is constant and scary at the same time. Yet, inevitable.
Acknowledgement, awareness and acceptance and awareness of the acceptance are the keys to making this process a little more comfortable step by step.
The old, tattered yet super warm blanket will always be your first love. And just like you had found this one; with a little or more effort, you will find another one.
That’s how we grow. That’s how we evolve.