The truth about comfort zones
I’m sure all Harry Potter fans will remember when Harry stumbles upon the Mirror of Erised.
For the one or two of you who haven’t read “Harry Potter” (or at least seen the films), the Mirror of Erised (Desire spelt backwards), shows the person who is looking into it nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of their hearts.
Of course, for young Harry, who had never known his parents, he sees them standing around him. Ronald Weasley, always overshadowed by his brothers, sees himself standing alone, better than the rest of them — Head Boy and Quidditch captain, as well as holding both the House Cup and Quidditch Cup — and looking GOOD!
But as Dumbledore reminds Harry: “The happiest man on earth would be able to use the Mirror of Erised like a normal mirror, that is, he would look into it and see himself exactly as he is.” (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone)
What would you see, if you could look into the Mirror of Erised?
I’m sure very few of you would see yourself EXACTLY as you are.
Maybe you’d like to be taller? Perhaps have straight hair? Any hair!!? Maybe a little less round. Some of you might like to have more money in the bank. Some may see a version of themselves bursting with vitality. Perhaps more education under your belt. Some of you may be in an exotic location. Or perhaps married with a brood of children.
Whatever the case, very few people in the world would see themselves EXACTLY as they are.
Some of you know, I have been making some significant changes in my life over the past 12 months. Notably:
Fitness — Instead of trying on losing ‘weight’, I have been focussing on building muscle, losing fat and changing my body composition. This can be very difficult at times (particularly during some of my training sessions), but this is a choice that I have made.
Work — I have recently started a freelance writing business. Yes, certain things acted as a catalyst for that decision, but once again, it was a choice to go out on my own.
Eating — Earlier this year (after months of investigation) I was diagnosed as wheat and fructose intolerant. That means that if I want to feel well, energetic and healthy, then I need to limit or cut out certain foods in my diet. Once again, certain factors have contributed to this, but it is a choice of mine to feel well.
All of these changes have involved me doing things that I have found uncomfortable. Some have been exciting changes, others pretty scary, and some unpleasant! Some have also been extremely difficult and have been made over a long period of time, with some hard lessons learned. However, by doing things that I was initially uncomfortable with, I have achieved some great things. I am also closer to achieving some of my other goals, and overall, in a happier, healthier place.
The other good news is that the ‘uncomfortable’ has become ‘comfortable’.
Now you may be thinking you couldn’t possibly move out of your comfort zone, to make the changes you want.
What if I told you there was no such thing as a comfort zone? It doesn’t actually exist.
Think back to your mirror. What is it you see? If you can’t see yourself EXACTLY as you are now, then you are already uncomfortable.
Yesterday, I was feeling a bit out of sorts. I happened to walk past Baker’s Delight. Mmmm mmmm. Even to someone who is wheat intolerant, it still looks and smells very appealing. The thought even popped into my head: “How nice would it be to get a fresh, soft bun and take it home to have with my cup of tea?” It was quite a comforting thought.
But then I realised that eating a bun was not really going to make me feel comfortable. Within 20 minutes, I’d feel bloated, sick and I’d have a stomach ache for the rest of the day. Not to mention that the food wasn’t going to help me reach the goals that I had set myself, and I’d have a terrible case of guilt and regret.
It dawned on me that the past way of behaving wasn’t going to make me feel comfortable.
I realised that if I’m working towards certain goals, then there is a level of ‘uncomfortableness’ about my present.
I also realised, that to achieve my goals, I’ll have to continue do things that are uncomfortable.
So, past, present and future — all uncomfortable for one reason or another.
Which means — NO COMFORT ZONE!
Just varying degrees of discomfort.
So the question is not whether you are prepared to move out of your comfort zone; it is: If you are going to feel uncomfortable anyway, then why not do the things that will bring you closer to your dreams?
So that’s what I am trying to do — embracing all those things that will take me closer to my goals — no matter how uncomfortable they may be.
And knowing there is no real comfort zone anywhere, makes it a little easier to step out into the unfamiliar.
How about you? Are you making the most of being uncomfortable?