Comfort Zones

(Excerpted from The Path, by Michelle Devon, Copyright 2006)

A comfort zone is that place you find yourself when you know what to expect, and you are comfortable there, even if you are not in a good place.

Looking back over my life, I have never felt more alive than when I force myself to step outside of my comfort zones. It can be exhilarating, exciting, and sometimes even life altering to step outside of that which is comfortable and explore the realm of possibilities.

I realize in the past that one of the reasons I’ve stayed firmly inside my comfort zones, even and especially the ones that were not healthy for me emotionally and physically, is because of two little words: trust and faith.

In order to step outside of your comfort zones, you have to have trust—trust in yourself, trust in those around you, trust in God or something larger than yourself, and trust in the universe itself.

In order to step outside of your comfort zones, you have to have faith—faith in yourself, faith in those around you, faith in God or something larger than yourself, and faith in the universe itself.

Both words—faith and trust—were lacking in my life. I did not have faith or trust in my life, not in myself, not in my family, not in those I shared my life with, not in the universe. While I thought I had trust and faith in God, the truth was, I often wondered why His plan for me seemed to only bring me down painful paths. I’ve since learned that I chose my path, and any blame I put on God was simply my unwillingness to take responsibility for that direction I had chosen to walk.

I have a hard time putting faith and trust into another person. I know many people who have this same problem. I have learned, over the years, that perhaps the biggest reason for this lack of trust in others was because I didn’t trust myself.

Human beings tend to project their inner feelings on those around them. We see in others that which we either fear in ourselves or that which we admire and want to hold for ourselves.

If I didn’t have faith in myself, I surely couldn’t ‘believe’ that anyone else should have faith in me, now could I? If I’m not worthy of faith, then why should anyone else be?

Learning to have faith and trust in yourself is not an easy path to walk, but it is a worthwhile path to venture.

Think about this. If you were to learn you were going to die in exactly two weeks, without illness, you were just going to drop dead, how much of an impact would that make on how you life your life now?

I’d venture to guess it would have a huge impact on your life, and I also bet you would find that it is much easier to step out of your comfort zones then too.

That’s the intent behind this song:

I’ve read stories about people who find out they have a terminal illness, and after the initial shock and grief, they sit and make lists of all the things they want to do, all the people they want to talk to, all the things they want to say before they die. Then they set out to do all these things.

Why should we wait until we are dying to actually start living?

What keeps us from living, truly living, to our fullest potential are our comfort zones. It is the unknown, the fear, and the fear of the unknown that keeps us stuck in these comfort zones. It is what we don’t know that scares us, that makes us immobile, keeps us stuck.

If you had a remote control that you could use to rewind and relive any moment in your life, at any time, how differently would you live your life?

Think about it. You want to try something but you don’t know how it will turn out, so you don’t try it. Now, if you have this remote control and you can try it and know that if it doesn’t work out, you can rewind it and do something differently, you’d probably give it a go, wouldn’t you?  When we remove the element of fear, extending trust and having faith in yourself and in others is so much easier.

F E A R !

When we know we can change an event if it doesn’t turn out as expected, there is no fear.

Fear immobilizes, but truly, there should be no fear. Fear is truly just an illusion. The past can’t be changed. The future isn’t predestined. The only thing that is real is the here and now, and if you live completely in the here and now, there can be no fear, because as long as you are alive and breathing, there is nothing to fear. Not a single moment in time is guaranteed, not one.

I’m the type who likes to plan, to know my future, to know what to expect, and learning that I can’t possibly know that, can’t possibly plan for every contingency, really is quite terrifying to me… but also exhilarating!

Everyone should live their life fully. Everyone should live like they were dying, every day, because the truth is, you are dying. We all are born with a terminal illness. It’s called life. No one escapes it. We all will die from life, at some point, so shouldn’t we make the most of what we have of it in the here and now?

I’m not asking you to let go of your comfort. I can’t even do that. There are things I take comfort in and I will never give those things up. But I think that everyone should, on a regular basis, push the limits of their comfort zones and see where life takes them.

I’ve learned the trick for me that allows me to step outside of my comfort zone now when I had trouble doing so earlier in my life. I have learned that I have to detach from my expectation of a certain outcome. So every day, I find some way to take a leap into my life, into my future. I have no idea when or even if I’m ever going to land, and if I do land, I have no idea where or how… and that’s quite all right with me.

I am flying!

Even if I crash at some point in the future from having taken a leap, the one thing no one can take from me is the experience I had while flying. It’s mine to hold, forevermore, and even if I have to land at some point, I will always have the memory of flying to push me forward to the next leap of faith.

Won’t you stop for a moment and look at your own comfort zones and ask yourself whether or not you’re ready to take that leap?

Come on, now. Step outside of your comfort zones. Quit dying and start living. Come fly with me.

 

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3 comments to Comfort Zones

  • Angela  says:

    Going out of your comfort zone is what life is all about. Too bad so many of us hesitate to step out and find out what we can do 🙂

  • Jo Brielyn  says:

    “Why should we wait until we are dying to actually start living?” Exactly! I was a fortunate to learn this lesson when I was in my mid 20s. Yeah, I was fortunate to find out I had a brain tumor. Sounds crazy, right? The truth is learning that I had a brain tumor changed my life for the better, probably saved it. I found the strength to walk away from an abusive marriage, started working on building “me” for the first time, gained a whole new level of compassion for others, and came fact-to-face with the realization that I was not invincible and life was not guaranteed. Talk about forcing you out of your comfort zone! Although it’s not the way I’d recommend for others, it was the moment that changed my life and my outlook.

    Stepping outside my comfort zone on a regular basis is what is finally making my writing dreams come true!

    • Michy  says:

      Gotcha covered on the comments, Jo.

      Thanks for the response. I remember you telling me about the pituitary tumor… that can be quite scary. One of those ‘ticking time bombs’…. might never go off, but you never know. Fortunately, it sounds like you’ve done well with it and it’s not causing major problems for you. I hope it stays that way too! If it does, then it was the perfect ‘wake up call’ for you. You have this amazing life now that I love to see from the outside, so I can only imagine you love living it! Thanks for sharing and I’m so proud of you for stepping outside of your comfort zone!

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