Article Written By Dr. Jane Cox
Why not me?
Perhaps we have a bit of a defective gene. Either that, or we’re just a bunch of excuse-seeking lethargic people who need a damn good kick up the backside. What makes me say this? Well, the fact that, across the globe, people seem to seek reasons to NOT do something, rather than grabbing opportunities and challenging themselves to grow and to learn as a result of expanding out of our comfort zones and into the big unknown.
We use so many reasons to not do things. We talk about all the people we put first – our partners, children, friends, family – and hide behind our love for them as a reason for not stepping forward into our own lives. We feel like we shouldn’t love ourselves as much as we love those important people. But of course the reality is that, by loving ourselves and living a life that proves that love and respect we have for ourselves, we set a better example and are a more rounded individual, capable of loving others as equals, and as fellow travellers through this game of life, rather than as a subservient player of the game of life.
For every single one of us, there is a tendency to seek comfort, to seek predictability and routine, and the reality is that an awfully big part of the world’s incredibly talented population choose this path of least resistance. But to me, feeling like I’ve hit a comfort zone sets off alarm bells all through my system. Why? Because your comfort zone is like a comfort blanket, and a comfort blanket is something we use to sooth and protect us. It represents sameness and predictability.
The trouble is that in life our comfort zone is not a comfort blanket, it is a fire blanket. It literally smothers growth, reduces oxygen, and puts out the flames of our fire, of our potential progress. In short, it kills you. Perhaps not physically, but it is the place where our dreams, aspirations, talents and ambition are reduced to smouldering embers.
Is that what we want? Do we want to live an easy life? A life that doesn’t stretch us or test us? Do we really want to lie on our deathbeds one day regretting the opportunities we didn’t take? The excitement we didn’t experience? The impact we could have made? The fact is that, if we learn to love ourselves and embrace what is really important to us, the idea of hiding under that blanket would seem appalling, rather than appealing.
The progress of each and every one of us is so important. We are souls in the process of continuous evolution and change. How do some people stand out from the masses and earn our respect? Well, the answer is simple – they are the people who step out of the shadows, and into the living, breathing world. Instead of skulking around the outskirts, hoping they won’t be noticed, a select few have got the courage and the faith to stand up and be counted. To step forward, often without knowing where that particular journey or decision will take them, and trust that if they have got the courage to take that leap of faith, the Universe will provide them with a safe place to land.
I have always tended a bit towards the reckless. I tend to say yes, and then figure out the details of how to actually do whatever it is I’ve agreed to. But actually it’s not really reckless, because always I trust my gut feel. If something “feels” right, then it will be the right thing for you. And it’s not a case of whether that challenge feels comfortable – in fact, almost by nature, what you should be feeling is that slight feeling of fear and uncertainty, tinged with excitement and anticipation – but more a case of whether that challenge feels like a gift that has been sent to you with the purpose of stretching your abilities and testing your levels of self-belief.
You see, if you live a comfortable life for too long, you lose the ability to feel. Literally. Your life becomes like those comfy shoes and sloppy clothes that you slump in front of the telly in, watching other people’s lives, rather than living your own. You start losing awareness of self. Do you genuinely feel joy? Achievement? Excitement? When was the last time you really felt bubbling anticipation, or were moved to tears of sheer happiness? Or have you lost the ability to connect with life’s beauty, because you’ve been scared to death of risking it’s pain?
When we pluck up the courage to risk feeling pain, we add so much dimension to our lives. Because life is constantly resting on a fulcrum. And it is a seesaw from good to bad and back, from fear and distress to joy and completeness. If you cut off your ability to feel pain, life has to keep itself in balance and so in turn it cuts off the other side of the seesaw to match, and takes with it all the positives that we yearn for so much. The more we run away from, the shorter the length of happiness we can experience on the other side of that fulcrum. And when we shorten it into our comfort zone, we start just existing in the middle, rather than living all the way to the edges.
So perhaps today is the day to make a decision to live. To challenge your boundaries. To take a chance, and push yourself into the uncomfortable. Because when we open ourselves up to those challenges and allow ourselves to be vulnerable, the rewards will be priceless.
Take your leap of Faith, and trust that the Universe will supply you with a safe place to land.
Are you ready, today, to challenge yourself?