What exactly is a comfort zone and why is getting out of it so important for growth, especially during recovery? The answer may not be what you think. The term "comfort zone" is thrown around quite a bit in self help and recovery circles and most of us think of it as a place that feels good to be in. It sounds like what is normal or natural to us. But the truth is actually quite different.
A comfort zone is actually not a healthy place to be. Those who spend their lives without straying far from it feel unhappy, frustrated, and stuck. It's a place where real progress can't be made and changes that do occur happen too slowly to make much of a difference.
The worst part of staying too long in a comfort zone is that you're often not even aware of it. The feelings of restlessness, stagnation, and unease just grow by the day. Being stuck in a rut like this can last for years and even decades.
For most people, getting out of their comfort zone and finding a better way to live and be happy means challenging beliefs and identities that have been firmly in place since childhood. As we grow older, we settle deeper into these ideas and identities even as they start to create conflict in our lives. The problem is that living in these comfort zones feels so natural and familiar, it's hard to imagine that there could be anything wrong with them.
Staying in your comfort zone can damage your quality of life and emotional well being in a few ways depending on what being in that state involves. For some people, it can be holding on to a negative feeling or perception about oneself that has been in place for decades.
This negative thought, feeling, or idea may have put in place by your parents during childhood or other people who influenced you in your early development. As you become an adult, you continue to hold on to these ideas about yourself because it feels right and you may have learned to ever see yourself differently.
A negative feeling or perception of oneself can end up causing damage to relationships and can hold a person back from reaching their true potential. Even with all the negative consequences of staying in this kind of comfort zone, challenging these ideas can seem even more scary. This is how a comfort zone can end up becoming a trap for an adult.
The good news is that it is possible to break out of a comfort zone and change damaging patterns of beliefs and behaviors. It's a big part of recovery and something that will end up changing your life for the better. Get ready for some hard work though. Breaking out of your comfort zone can be one of the hardest things to tackle.
The first step is awareness of where you are limited yourself. Take a look at how certain beliefs, feelings, and perceptions are holding you back or creating conflict. Be kind to yourself during the process and remember that this is one of the hardest things for a person to do. It's a good idea to get support through a therapist or support group.
The process of leaving your comfort zone will be scary, challenging, and full of obstacles. You will find yourself doubting and losing hope along the way, but know that the challenges are a normal part of the process and the only way to truly make any progress. Soon you will enjoy a feeling of self respect, well being, and confidence that you never thought could be possible.