Ten years ago, my life looked much different than it does today.
Every day I’d drive home from clinic to my beautiful French Country home in a golf course community. Pulling up the driveway lined with watermelon-colored Crepe Myrtles and Stella Dior Day Lillies, I’d marvel at how lucky I was. Inside I’d greet my wife and children, help with dinner, clean up after, and give homework assistance before tucking the kids into bed. My weekdays and weekends were a routine, and, for a long time, I thought that’s what was creating my comfort zone.
Clearly, though, something was off. Granted, I couldn’t see it at the time, but if all was well and my life was really as comfortable as I was telling myself, I’m certain that marriage, that family life, and that house wouldn’t be just a memory today.
Turns out lots of things in our lives are like this. —Graduallyor all of the sudden—we find ourselves realizing that what we thought was making us comfortable (be it our dietary choices, our jobs, our home life, or even how we spend our free time), is really only creating more pathways to being uncomfortable.
After my divorce, I went through a phase where I chose to eat whatever I wanted, regardless of calories or nutritional value. For me, this meant lots of pizza, cheeseburgers, tacos, pasta, french fries, chips, and—of course—any dessert I could get my hands on. As my supposed freedom of diet flourished, my desire to be active plummeted.
At the time, such a carefree approach to my health seemed very comfortable. However, the longer I stayed in that supposed comfort zone, the more uncomfortable I became. I experienced a steady decline in energy, worsening knee and back pain, and weight gain.
The more I hurt, the less I did—and the less I did, the worse my diet became. It was a vicious cycle. But even my lack of energy and my worsening joint and body pain didn’t turn on the lightbulb. It wasn’t until I stood naked in front of the mirror and really saw myself, 40 pounds of extra weight, with an ever-enlarging “spare tire” and round face, that I had to admit the obvious: I DON’T like this, I DON’T LIKE ME . . . I am NOT comfortable.
You see, our brains often play tricks on us. Most of our choices are driven by our subconscious; therefore, if we fail to remain mindful of those choices, mindful of what we truly need to be comfortable, we can wake up one day and find ourselves surprisingly uncomfortable.
So, how can we catch ourselves before we realize our comfort zone isn’t all that comfortable?
TOP 5 SIGNS WE ARE INTRINSICALLY UNCOMFORTABLE:
1. Declining self-care / hygene
2. Developing an excessive willingness to please others over ourselves
3. Being more difficult, defensive, or irritable without due provocation
4. Declining confidence / Becoming overly self-critical or indecisive
5. Growing more envious of others
At the end of the day, if we want to achieve greater physical health and contentment, it’s up to us. It’s our CHOICE.
So I ask you reading this: Just how comfortable are you, really? Do any of the above signs hit home? If so, don’t beat yourself up. The first thing I want you to do is appreciate that you’re not alone. We’re all works in progress. But every time we make the choice to live our value we take a step in the right direction, and even small positive changes can, over time, push us closer toward being truly comfortable.