Cost of comfort
Financial struggle, unfulfilling relationship, a home we don't like, a career that drains us. Is this really a comfort zone?
Our monkey brain's job is to keep us safe, in the familiar and living the status quo. When we are living in a state of survival financially our brain tells us that at least we know this circumstance, it is familiar, we know what it feels like and what to expect. Our body releases chemicals to compensate for the stress. We are now living in a loop on two levels, first the comfort zone (even when it's not really comfortable) and dependent on the chemicals produced to deal with the stress.
We have made the unfamiliar, familiar.
So what happens now? Usually, when we recognize our loop and are feeling particularly uncomfortable in our comfort zone, we look to get motivated or use willpower to get us out of the loop. And why doesn't this work for long?
Remember our monkey brain, or the oldest part is here to keep us safe, so anytime we attempt to change it perks up and talks us out of it.
"Oh, you don't really want to get up early to workout, you aren't feeling that great and really didn't get enough sleep, it's ok, you can try again tomorrow." Behind the scenes it is thinking a story out; if I let you get up and workout then you are going to feel better and then you might want to do other things that feel good, and that means more new things, and then if you are feeling confident you may attempt a new relationship and we all know how the last one turned out so I think you better stay in bed and live with being a little overweight and sad because that is far better than being heartbroken like last time. I really am looking out for your best interest here.
The trick is that we assume our comfort zone includes not speaking in public or avoiding flying in small airplanes, maybe even dating the 'bad guy', but in reality, it is also our financial struggle, depression, and an unloving relationship. We don't notice the uncomfortable comfort zones.
The power is in the noticing!
Where are your comfort zones? Where have you been for a long time, even if you don't like it? What dreams do you have that are unfulfilled? Make a list of areas of life that feel like a comfort zone. Just notice.
Now that we have noticed where they are it is time to assess the cost. What is it costing you in these areas to stay in the comfort zone, physically, spiritually, financially, and well-being?
Cost questions: If I lived my current average day, every single day for the next year, where will I be?
What gives me energy and what depletes my energy?
What single habit, in my comfort zones, has the most destructive consequences?
What is the biggest physical consequence of staying in my comfort zones?
What are at least two stories my monkey brain may be thinking to avoid change? (Use the above scenario of the working out leading to a broken heart as an example)
The flip side of a cost is the payoff. There is always a payoff. And yet it may not look like you think it will. It is not always flattering but most often run by your child self. Notice what comes up in the following questions and look at the example given.
Example: Financial struggle. If I am not financially independent then I can always rely on others to help support me, this fulfills my need to know that people love me, and I am loveable. I don't have to step out to try something scary to make money and I don't have to learn how to manage my money so I don't have to fail at it and look like a dummy, and that keeps the secret that I think I am not smart. If others are looking after me then I don't have to take responsibility and I get to be looked after, almost childlike and not have to grow up. I get to feel like a fairy tale damsel in distress.
Take each comfort zone and write out a possible payoff, even if it doesn't look pretty. Remember this is often created by your 7-year-old self, and it doesn't always make sense to the adult.
The first step in anything is the noticing. There is much power gained from noticing what is really happening in your life. Now that you are aware of the cost and the payoff involved in each comfort zone you are better equipped to make choices. At the moment just notice and use the techniques to connect to your intuition, and listen for guidance. Sometimes the act of noticing will create a huge shift in your life, at other times noticing will create more choices, but always it will bring the power back to you.
Stay tuned in the near future to find out tools for moving out of the comfort zone and into a thriving life you love!