“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.” 
— Anne Lamott

How many times have you said you were going to do something and didn’t? Maybe it was because you really just didn’t want to do it. You felt forced by someone who expected it of you. You didn’t feel it served you. You were afraid you would disappoint someone. You didn’t feel it was the right thing to do or maybe it just went against your morals? There are so many things that keep us in our so called comfort zones, right?

The ironic thing about comfort zones is that they really aren’t comfortable. It is really a pity that we make ourselves feel so cozy and at home while we are living there. We think of it as a cozy Sherpa blanket wrapped around us on a cold day, cup of hot tea in hand, good literature filling our brain and warmth abounds. It feels like true Hygge (look it up). In that moment, all is aligned and we are surrounded in our space and protected from all the things that we try to avoid on a daily basis. There’s a reason it’s called the “comfort zone,” after all. It’s a great term to make us feel better about our shortcomings. I mean, doesn’t it sound so much better than saying “I’m in my scared-to-death zone?” Or, better yet, “I’m in my cowardly zone.”

The problem with this facade that we create is very simple…it is our coping mechanism for so many things that we have packaged into a nicely wrapped box and hid away for later. If we are completely honest with ourselves, we know that we are doing this. So, why do we continue?

One, we are just not ready to accept that we could be more. We are in denial that we could never be or do this or that. We could never chase that dream of law school, going back to college, asking for that well deserved raise, fighting for your rights or standing up for ourselves. We simply feel weak in our knees when we think of taking a step forward and putting down the tightly wrapped Sherpa blanket and asking for what we need. Why? Because we are afraid of the result…FAILURE. We won’t be accepted. We will be told no.

Two, we tell ourselves that our life will never be the same if we come out from under the blanket. This has to do with authenticity. It has to do with our subconscious smacking us in the face because we aren’t being true to ourselves or the life we’ve been given. Maybe we are more than what we show to the world? Maybe you’ve hit mid-life and wish you had done more? You wish you had traveled more, you wish you had went on that date or you wish you had “found yourself” earlier than now. Or, perhaps, you are discovering things about yourself now that you chose to ignore earlier in life? We all have one life to live to the fullest and it does hurt when we have regrets. Because we are constantly “wishing” we had done this or that when we were younger. Or, telling our children, “When I was your age I wish I had done this.” It seems we are constantly wishing our life away, so to speak. However, it is never, ever too late to be authentic. We can always, always change the course of our path going forward starting now. The reason we do not is based on FEAR. We will be looked down upon. We won’t be liked. We won’t be accepted in our current circles any more. People will judge us.

So, the comfort zone that many of us live in isn’t really comfortable. It’s actually quite the opposite. It’s uncomfortable. It’s stressful. It’s hiding from the world who we really are, hoped to be or afraid to be. Sometimes it even takes a toll on our health. Authenticity is so much bigger than the credit we give it.

Are you living in your true comfort zone? Or, do you have things you want to accomplish and discover to share with the world one day?

*Want to dig a little deeper into your “comfort zone?” May I suggest the amazing book, “The Book of Awakening” by Mark Nepo?