I know firsthand that change is an inherent part of life, yet I still find myself hanging onto familiar things, relationships, or situations for far too long. There is comfort in the known, and let’s be honest venturing into the realm of uncertainty doesn’t always sound like a good time which can also prevent you or me from growing, discovering new opportunities, and experiencing the fullness of life. I want to share the paradox of comfort and explore why holding on to things for too long is a thing and what can be done about it.
The Illusion of Comfort
Comfort is a seductive concept. It offers us a sense of security, familiarity, and stability. It’s easy to become accustomed to a routine or a particular way of living, which then creates a comfort zone—a safe space where you feel in control. Stepping outside this zone feels daunting, as it requires you to face the unknown and adapt to new circumstances. And yet, this comfort can become a double-edged sword. While it may shield you from immediate discomfort, it can also hinder personal growth and prevent us from pursuing our true passions.
But it isn’t just about habits and rituals sometimes – it could be the tools of the trade. For 25 years I have used the same brand of wood-burning tool and when I needed to replace the last one, I was elated but quickly found myself frustrated as it was just mediocre. It was too hot too fast, not hot enough, or wouldn’t get hot at all – which is no good when there’s art to be done.
But investing in a new tool with a new brand – I wasn’t too sure about that which leads me to my next point!
Fear of the Unknown
One of the primary reasons any of us hold onto something for too long is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, and fear of losing what is already in existence. It’s so easy to become so accustomed to the present circumstances that the mere thought of change triggers anxiety and doubt. And this starts to spiral of questioning your abilities, worrying about what lies ahead. This fear can paralyze you, trapping you in a cycle of complacency and preventing us from exploring new horizons.
Back to my woodburning tool – I have been exploring different brands and I knew that other woodburning artists were keen on a specific brand. It’s different from my current tool, a bit on the pricier side, and yet could be just what I need for my work. I had to let go of the comfort that the original brand provided me with. It was the first professional wood-burning tool I had ever bought.
Letting go of something that has provided me comfort is undoubtedly challenging, but it is essential for personal growth and fulfillment. Confronting your fears head-on and acknowledging that change is necessary for progress. Remember, true growth happens outside of your comfort zone. By holding onto something for too long, you deprive yourself of valuable opportunities and hinder your personal development.
And so I invested in a new woodburning tool with a new-to-me company and I am in awe of the art I am all over sudden able to create. It’s been a small adjustment period to the change but I don’t hate it – in fact, I like it. And it may seem not relevant to the conversation here, but I do believe it is because we do this with so many other things in our lives – this is just a small example.
Embracing change requires a shift in mindset and I want to share a few things that you can do to help you navigate the change and overcome your fear!
- Self-reflection: Take time to evaluate your current situation and identify what no longer serves you. Are you staying in a job you dislike out of fear? Are you holding onto a toxic relationship for the sake of familiarity? Recognize these patterns and understand that change is necessary for personal growth.
- Embrace uncertainty: Instead of viewing the unknown as a source of anxiety, reframe it as an adventure. Embrace the excitement and potential that come with stepping outside your comfort zone. Remember, without uncertainty, there can be no growth.
- Seek support: Surround yourself with a network of supportive individuals who believe in your potential. Share your aspirations, fears, and goals with trusted friends or mentors who can provide guidance and encouragement along the way.
- Set achievable goals: Break down your desired changes into smaller, actionable steps. By setting achievable goals, you can gradually ease into the process of change, building momentum and confidence as you go.
- Cultivate resilience: Understand that change often comes with setbacks and challenges. Cultivate resilience by viewing these obstacles as opportunities for learning and growth. Each step, whether successful or not, brings you closer to the person you aspire to be.
The comfort of familiarity can be a powerful force, but it can also hinder personal growth and limit our potential. By recognizing the illusion of comfort, understanding the fear that holds us back, and embracing change with an open mind, we can break free from the chains of stagnation. Letting go is not easy, but the rewards that lie on the other side of fear and uncertainty are immeasurable.