Comfort zone

There are two kinds or people; those who see their anxieties as an opportunity for exploration, and the others. For them, anxiety in all its forms is a no-go. something to be avoided at all costs.

Metaphorically you might say the first group would stop to look in a mirror to see what they could learn, the second group would hurry past it, in case they learned something.

The first group are driven by curiosity and self-discovery. They are comfortable with a degree of discomfort for two main reasons:

  1. They know that it might be telling them something about themselves that needs exploring. They see it as an opportunity for learning
  2. For them, ‘being comfortable’ is taking the easy route. Because they are committed to self-discovery they are obliged to go where discomfort leads them.

They are not always happy about this; I met someone in this group years ago, they said to me “Sometimes I wish I’d been one of those people who could take the easy route. All this ‘inner journey’ stuff is hard work. Some people don’t bother, when in doubt they just go to the pub.”

The second group avoid anxiety-provoking situations at all costs. Anything that could produce uncertainty, fear, self-doubt, personal insight, self-learning… is a threat. They’d always rather stay well within their comfort-zone. It amounts to a mission and they have well-honed defences to keep them safe.

It is possible to cross the line, to move from the second group into the first. That might be what life is all about; the idea that we grow and learn about ourselves as we mature.

And although it can be uncomfortable sometimes, most people in the first group never want to leave. There’s the odd occasion following extreme disappointment, betrayal or disillusionment where a ‘first grouper’ might temporarily lose it and hide among the second group for a time. But once your mission is self-discovery it’s hard to kid yourself for long, so you can never really leave group one.

So that’s why it’s (sometimes) better to believe what makes you comfortable, than to believe what is true. First group members are after the truth, you might say. But if you are in the second group, comfort is the preferred option, so it’s better to stay where you are until you are ready to leave.

I’m a psychologist, coach, and therapist. All my work is aimed at enabling people to improve personal aspects of their lives and work.


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