Written by Emer
“Beyond your comfort zone is where the magic happens”.
I heard this while watching a TV programme and it has really struck a chord with me.
What is a comfort zone?
A comfort zone serves a purpose in one sense, and equally is very damaging and life-halting in another. Having gone through recovery, I know comfort zones, especially around behaviours. I noticed within myself a continuous cycle, whereby after change I would hit a comfort zone for a number of months where I would ‘sail along’ without challenging or changing, just being grateful for the fact that I was now comfortable with the one change I had made. And so therefore I simply could not cope with making any more. Fear and effort was my number one reason for staying in the comfort zone. I felt so much fear and it took a lot of courage, time and effort to make any changes so therefore I needed to live with them for a while.
But a while can be a very long time, especially with recovery, condition and life. The comfort zone can become the excuse zone. Analysing, fear, lack of belief, lack of motivation, lack of energy – can all be prime contributors keeping you seated in the comfort zone. But after a while you actually get stuck there because you have sat for too long, the legs got stiff and the freedom muscles are weak. The comfort zone begins to suck the life out of you.
What can we do? I do think we need time to process, to reach a plateau whereby the changes we have made can be processed, cemented and lived. But equally, we need to remember this is not our finishing line. The finish line, inevitably, is full, invigorating freedom. It is important to be mindful to rest and process, but, like any good wanderer, it is equally important to shortly pick up your belongings and move on to the next part of the journey.
Life is ever moving, transient, changing. Change is a part of nature. Look to the seasons and how they change – they are cyclical. We are like that too. We sow our seeds, watch the buds grow, flower and blossom, time then to let go, rest, process, and then sow our seeds again for the next stage in our life. What is important is being mindful of our resting time. Knowing when the resting time becomes a comfort zone. After a while, the comfort zone means you lose sight of your focus, your desires, what you really want. You lose sight of yourself, where you see yourself and how you see your future.
The quote above is apt because beyond the comfort zone really is where the magic happens. It is through challenging ourselves, the condition, and our self-limiting beliefs that we find a new sense of self. We learn more about ourselves, who we are, our confidence and sense of self-worth grows. We get a buzz from overcoming our self-limiting beliefs.
If you find yourself at a loss with recovery at the moment, ask yourself ‘ what can I do about it?’ Write 3-4 simple things you can do to move yourself along again on the journey to freedom. I used to do this a lot and found it very effective. Much of the time I needed reassurance, action, to monitor my self-talk and to rest. Slowly but surely I always found my way back to the path and recommenced the journey.
Remember life is ever moving so there is no point in standing still, you’ve just got to jump on and enjoy the ride!!!