According to me, my comfort zone has habitually been small. And dictated by strict regulations. And ruled by a scared and scarred and horrid little voice that warned that stepping out of bounds would bring the fire and the brimstone (whatever that is). A threat not so far off from the carpet sharks I imagined to be swarming as I jumped from couch island to La-Z-Boy oasis when I was 7-years-old.
The regs have involved brutally strict rules concerning all things ‘daily living’. For instance, in the case of food, there was what could be eaten (healthy, no chicken under any circumstances, etc), when it could be eaten (early) and where (somewhere really nice).
As for running, it had to be first thing in the morning, I couldn’t have any food in me when I headed out the door, I had to go to the bathroom before I left, it had to be on a dirt trail, I couldn’t start then stop again, and on and on.
I could list several other life/daily events and their regulations, but I’m thinking you get the point:
- Type A
- Tight ass
- Missing out on a lot
And it dawned on me this morning—as I ran pounded down a city sidewalk, having just left a friend’s couch and my belonging’s stuffed into a suitcase, after a dinner last night of barbecue ribs (the kind made from un-free-range, un-hormone-and-antibiotic-free, un-organic swine), and a dinner the night before at a pretty skeezey Indian restaurant with chili pepper lights, glittery swatches of wrapping paper laminated to the walls and a waiter that smacked me on the ass when he sent me outside to the ATM because they only take cash—that this comfort zone that I used to keep myself buried in was bullshit.
Or maybe just non-existent. A false sense of control. Crammed tightly with the anal retentive version of packing peanuts.
Because the more and more I think I’m leaving this ‘safe’ space and wandering out to shark-infested places, I see that, actually, there is no exit. The comfort zone, it turns out, is entirely and subjectively and bodaciously expandable.
Image credit: TheRogue
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Yep. The comfort zone is an illusionary mental membrane that is 100% completely within our control. Great post. Thanks for sharing it! Best, M.
This reminds of me a very funny Onion piece I saw recently: 10 Million People a year Killed Stepping Outside of Their Comfort Zones. (http://www.theonion.com/articles/report-10-million-killed-annually-by-stepping-out,17949/).
Oh, how familiar your rules are to me … sounds like my own brain talking. Good for you for casting off some of the packing peanuts … you inspire me to the same.
If you wish to expand the comfort zone,you might give my method a try…or not,GaRunTeeeed to shake your model of the world, at least for a few minutes LOL
it involves snow,water,and a bucket and it has the added benefit of making those nosey neighbors brains stutter and keep their drapes closed.
Love it. me too.
Wonderful post. I’ve never thought of comfort zones with expandable barriers, but you’re absolutely right. We don’t have to step out of them – we can just stretch them ever outwards.
The waiter smacked you on the ass?
No, but seriously. I am going through something very similar right now as it ever-so-slowly dawns on me, a woman with insanely tight reins on every aspect of my personal life and habits, that “comfort zone” is one of those lies we tell ourselves to keep us clamped down and out of touch with possibility. It’s kept me down so long I’m only now looking up and saying, “I can… I can do that?!”
love it. perfect for me today. thank you.