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March 23, 2017

Why it’s Okay to Stay Inside your Comfort Zone.

“From birth to death, we are on a roller-coaster ride. We grow, we suffer, we laugh, we cry, we succeed, we fail, we get sick, and we heal, we fall in love, we fall out of love, we age, we lose people we love, and we move on. Where is the comfort zone in that? ~ Manal Goshain  

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Since I’ve started writing, I can’t count the number of people who have told me that I have to get out of my comfort zone and publish a book.

That’s exactly what they say: “You need to get out of your comfort zone. Publish a book. It’ll be good for you.”

Mostly, these people are strangers—in fact, they all are. The people who know me? They don’t say that. They say, “Phew, I’m glad she finally calmed down.”

My second husband used to say that he didn’t smoke all that pot and drop all that acid to end up not being happy with where he was in life.

I didn’t smoke pot or drop acid—but I did quit one helluva job and leave the corporate world. I did this because living outside my comfort zone was killing me, and because I really and truly valued peace and contentment more than all that hullabaloo.

Yep. To me, that is what’s outside my comfort zone. Hullabaloo.

When I was younger, and I still hadn’t discovered my talents—let alone my limits—living outside my comfort zone was the way to go, and I was out there all the time.

I did lots and lots of things that I didn’t have a clue how to do—in fact, I jumped at the chance. I modeled. I sang cocktail piano. I owned my own secondhand furniture store, and I lived on 600 dollars a month.

How much further outside the comfort zone can one get?

But today, I’m thinking that it’s okay for me to stay right here inside my comfort zone.

It’s okay to dig deep, to explore these waters completely, and to not be continually stretching myself, reaching for something new, or trying to continually “grab that golden ring.”

It’s okay to be motivated not by what’s outside of myself, but to be happy with what’s inside instead.

For the first time in my life, I feel satisfied with what I am doing, exactly the way I am doing it—and you know what? It actually feels like I’ve had to reach a certain level of maturity to get here.

However, do you think I can convince anybody else about that? Not in the least. Especially if they think that they should be pushing themselves outside of their own comfort zones.

“Leave me alone! Don’t push your need to be outside of your comfort zone on me.”

I no longer feel like I have to be more than I am, or do more than I am doing. I no longer feel yanked around by the vision of having my name in lights. I no longer feel that gnawing, wormy, little doubt that I’m a failure if I don’t do something…else.

If something like a book, or an article in the New York Times, or whatever else might amount to “being outside my comfort zone” happens to come, then fine…it will come.

But I’m not going to go out looking for it.

In the meantime, there is something to be said for having the resilience to stay here in my comfort zone. I like how the author, Manal Ghosain, describes it:

“It takes guts to be in our comfort zone. Trusting that things are okay the way they are—in spite of all the pressure and demands for forced change—takes strength and courage.”

I think we used to call being in your comfort zone “contentment.”

My meditation teacher once told me that the ego always says, “More, more, more…bigger, bigger, bigger…better, better, better.”

I think she would be happy to hear that I’ve finally reached the point at which I feel like everything is okay exactly the way it is.

For me, staying in my comfort zone means that I’m comfortable in knowing what works for me. I know where I feel the most confident, and I know where my unique personality traits are best used.

I intend to continue to remain in my comfort zone, just as this poem in the Tao Te Ching describes:

People enjoy their food,

take pleasure in being with their families,

spend weekends working in their gardens,

delight in the doings of the neighborhood.

And even though the next country is so close

that people can hear its roosters crowing and its dogs barking,

they are content to die of old age

without ever having gone to see it. 

 

~

Author: Carmelene Siani

Image: Flickr/MrVertrau

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

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