I’m not the type of person who forces myself out of my comfort zone “for the experience”, and I probably never will be. I appreciate what’s familiar, and any slight sign of change will always give me at least a dash of anxiety.
However, if I’ve learned anything as your basic millennial who works in PR, does boozy brunch every weekend, and notoriously whines about the “Sunday Scaries”, it’s that being complacent doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re as happy as you could be.
The tricky part? It’s never a simple matter of assessing the situation, and logically arriving at the conclusion that you’re either in the right place or you’re not. You’ll go back and forth – incessantly. One day, you’re happy as hell. The next day, you’re fighting back tears.
Here’s the thing – I’m not here to provide a solution for you. Only you can ultimately do that. However, I am going to recognize a few signs that you’ve probably been forcing yourself to ignore for some time now.
1. When asked what’s new in your life, your reply is “same old, same old” – and you’re not just saying that. It’s the cold, hard truth.
First of all, this question is obnoxious in itself. Even if you just received a huge promotion or got engaged, you still have to pretend to be super humble to not look like a total asshole.
Conversely, sometimes there really just isn’t anything exciting going on in your life outside of “the usual.” This isn’t necessarily problematic – but it is when you start to realize that the “same old, same old” isn’t so fulfilling anymore.
Many of us make the mistake of looking for something new and shiny to complement our life when we’re in a period of ambiguity. The insecurity gets the best of us, and we make irrational decisions to attempt to secure the smallest bit of stability.
In actuality, these “meh” times are when it’s opportune to try something new. We’ve established a good routine, and we’re at a safe spot. Why not test the waters a bit?
2. You rationalize your lack of movement with “it’s better than nothing.”
Your boyfriend is kind of a loser, but it’s “better than being single.” Your job is pretty much a living nightmare, but it’s “better than being unemployed.” You get my point.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s easy to get trapped in this way of thinking, especially due to the notion of “what if”. What if you quit your “okay” job, and the new one is ten times worse? What if you end your “blah” relationship, and start to miss the little things that once annoyed you?
That’s the thing about leaving your comfort zone – it involves taking a risk. It’s a risk that many of us steer clear of, out of fear of making the wrong choice. However, you can really only ignore that pesky feeling for so long.
Eventually you’ll realize it’s time to stop settling for “it could be worse” and shoot for “I’ve never been happier.”
3. You can’t remember the last time you experienced a true challenge.
Every time I type the word “comfort”, I envision a couch. That’s because comfort is easy. It’s worry-free and relaxing. It’s agreeable and adequate.
Truly growing in life – whether as a person, in your career, or in a relationship – involves solid effort. It should entail hardships and arguments. You need the difficult times so that you can ultimately conquer them and emerge stronger.
Of course, that long lack of discomfort is initially pleasing. We feel that we’re on the right track and in a good spot. However, sometimes it rears its ugly head and taunts you, saying:
“There’s more. Quit making excuses and go get it.”