We are engaged in a "racket" that we are pulling on ourselves. We think we are seeking comfort and then we let it rule our lives, as it sucks up alot of our time - we spend poorly a great deal of our lives avoiding discomfort and anxiety. This is the wrong formula and a harmful racket.
And the ways we seek to avoid discomfort are unskilled and often harmful. Poor skills in this area are what is behind addictions and other escapes which end up harming us in the long term. Skillful handling dictates that we are aware of the "feeling of discomfort" of some sort, then implementing The Short Pause (or the Time Out Tool).
EASE AND QUIET, FREE FROM WORRY...
Comfort: A state of ease and quiet, free from worry, pain, or trouble.
Usually it does not refer to being comfortable physically, as one might experience by being in an easy chair. It instead refers to staying away from the discomfort zone - which we often fear, groundlessly.
We are asked to step out of our comfort zone if we want to get something more done, but this often fails. Why?
Because we have not set up our comfort zone properly.
We can't violate, very often or for a long time, our comfort zone, because we are driven to tamp down our anxieties. And our anxieties and fears are related to what we think is "at stake" - most of which is based on pure illusion, something created solely in the mind and occurring solely in the mind.
We can deal with things that are slightly, vaguely uncomfortable if we know that the base is secure and that all else matters very little. See Outcome Independence. With this, based alot on our sense of control in life, we can step into the "slight discomfort" zone because it is only a minor annoyance and of no real threat - if we see that!
"step through the insecurity" , see it for what it is by seeing it for what it isn't... (add also a comfort factor or momentum factor, for sure: surround self with supportive, positive thinking people, generating creatively ideas...
If we lessen the negative side of the scale about whether we should do something and we are clear about the positive side, we will get full value from clarity on the positive and diminished weight on the other - and voila! we have the scales going in our favor!
And we are no longer struggling with ourselves!
Everything we do gets done because we are motivated to do it in order to get something we want. It might look like it is to "avoid" something, but if we seek to avoid discomfort we are actually seeking comfort - the question is whether what we are doing will produce what we want at the highest level and/or for the long term.
"Oh, I just want to be comfortable, to not experience this stress, this anxiety, avoid these uncomfortable thoughts..." is a statement with no power at all, based on a false premise.
Comfortable is, as Erhardt use to say, lying in a silence chamber, in tepid water, with no light and no noise... And then he'd ask whether that is what we want, making his strong compelling imagery of extremes drive the realization home.
Well, of course, we don't want that. It would be boring...
Yet, we tend to err on that side in what we attempt or hope will happen for us somehow.
And then we also stress ourselves out at the same time, entertaining those thoughts that are uncomfortable.
Stress...and bored. What a combination!
IRONY - WHAT WE THINK VERSUS WHAT'S TRUE
It is proven that we are poor predictors of what will make us happy. One of the parts of those poor predictions is that we think "comfort" will make us happy. (And then we retire... and die.) We spend our lives looking forward to the relief of the work week ending, so we can feel happy. But when scientists beeped people at various times of the day and in various situations, they found that the happy feelings were most often felt at work and that unhappy or bored feelings were occurring during alot of our "free" time. (I guess we think our "free" time is free, so we spend it worthlessly, not realizing there is a cost. The cost is what we could have done with that time that would create value for us!)
How does one know that one is seeking comfort? The signs of seeking comfort:
TV - One is not seeking what one really wants, at least past an hour or a specific inspiring movie.
Sugar - One is not seeking the health, long term energy, and peace of mind by consuming sugar
"Messes" - One is not seeking psychological order, but one is leaving things in a state of disarry, from actual messes in your surroundings to unresolved problems in relationships or work or health...
"I do myself no good by living in a comfort zone, avoiding the inevitable changes of life until ..."
John Levenia, Integrity Is Everything
The irony here is that I get less true comfort by trying to be in my comfort zone. In seeking to stay in my comfort zone, I get to have alot more of those very feelings I do not want to have.
When it comes down to the bottom line of life, looking at the essence of what we truly want, it is happiness that we seek (not comfort!). We seek a way of feeling. We don't seek a material object for itself; we always seek it for the way it has us feel
(which is a fleeting feeling we find as we mature).
And what makes me happy in the true long-lasting way is how I feel about myself and my life. It is about how I feel about who I have become and what I have in my life that I find of true value. Since almost all feelings occur from thoughts, then having the happiness sustain itself comes from an underlying, ongoing self conversation about feeling positive about who I have become and how great it is to have what I value in life. (This is not a "limitless" proposition where I won't be happy unless I am Superman with a billion dollar bank account. It is about getting to "enough" to "fill oneself up." It is about making a "success of one's life", but defined correctly - without a clear definition of what this is for you, you cannot achieve it!)
If you sat down and listed what you really want in life and then you sought to be in your comfort zone, watching alot of tv and eating or drinking too much, you would not get what you want in life. So, first, you must determine what you want in life.
Then we can determine whether we are willing to do what it takes and whether certain things are worth it. Our comfort zone will not be something that will forward us - it will just distract us. (I don't mean we won't "destress" [properly] or that we won't do recreation, entertainment, and rejuvenation. We will do those things to the extent that they support us in being in such a state that we can get what we want.
Well, can't I be in my comfort zone even sometimes?
Sure. How about 10% of the time? Actually, we mistake "comfort" for feeling good. It is simply a non-stressed time, but we can create being non-stressed almost all the time, even when we are doing things that are getting us what we want.
IT'S A "RACKET"
Although with no malintent, our thinking that the comfort zone is to be sought is a "racket". It is something that is an ongoing detractor from our overall well-being, but one that we don't see clearly enough to change it. It has a believed payoff, one murky in its vagueness, poorly defined. And the payoff is mere dust and illusion, not what we really want.
A false payoff (or minimal payoff), essentially is thought to be achieved but there is a cost that is much higher.
The racket results in us losing something of more value or just not getting something of more value that we could have chose to try to obtain.
What we truly want is a state of ease, free of worry, stress, or fear, a state of calmness of the body, with good chemicals. That can be created through better means that are more direct than "escaping" by staying in one's comfort zone.
A comfort zone really is a place to stay away from discomforts. Confronting something we fear or something that is hard are all "mind" related creations of tension. The fear is one that is illusionary, unless it is something major. For instance, a fear of disapproval is based on the illusion that one is not good enough and that approval will make everything ok (or have one be rescued because someone "values" you). Althought the primitive brain will cough up recordings that include these ideas and the emotions that are related, we do not have to believe that those recordings are anthing other than just recordings. They represent no danger. We can deal with them by applying the general mantra, except where it is a big thing, "this is just a thought, just a recording, with no substance and there is nothing to be afraid of here".
THE (FALSE) PROJECTIONS OF THE PRIMITIVE MIND
One of the key projections the primitive mind makes is that one won't be able to handle an undesired consequence at the time that it happens. We overestimate the negative impact, which is almost always deminimus unless we create it being more. We underestimate our ability to adjust and be ok. In the more major consequences even, we adjust back to the same level of happiness within a year of our becoming a paraplegic (i.e. life ain't so bad even then, and in fact it can be great, as there are lots of opportunities for us; read W. Mitchell's story. A truth that he adheres to that we all should imprint in our minds "It's not what happens to you. It's what you do about it." And there is plenty we can do about it, as we are amazingly well-equipped for accomplishment.).