I'm always telling friends and clients to 'do what's comfortable'.
"It doesn't matter what label your relationship has. As long as you're comfortable."
"Don't worry if it's too much too soon. Just go at a pace that's comfortable."
"No worries if you're too tired to come, hun. Do whatever's comfortable!"
But hold on, hold on. Isn't life supposed to start at the end of your comfort zone?
To be comfortable or not to be comfortable? That appears to be the question...
After quite a bit of pondering I think I've figured it out.
There are, in fact, 2 very different types of comfortable. There's the 'complacent comfortable', and then there's the 'feeling-right-in-oneself' kind of comfortable.
Sometimes the two are at complete odds with each other. To feel comfortable in one way, you may have to simultaneously feel very uncomfortable in another way.
Starting from scratch and creating this site felt decidedly uncomfortable at times. "What if I get 0 'likes'? What if I run out of things to say? What if nothing comes of it?" Part of me would have felt much more 'comfortable' just keeping my thoughts to myself. You can't fail at something that you don't do! But I decided to step out of my comfort zone in order to stand in my 'truth zone', and so far it's been well worth the discomfort.
Biting your tongue to avoid confrontation might keep you in your comfort zone, but out of your truth zone.
Walking away from a soul-sucking job or a destructive relationship might put you way out of your comfort zone, but closer to your truth zone.
Ignoring your wild creative urges might mean you're sitting pretty in your comfort zone, but aching to be in your truth zone.
Our comfort zone feels safe. Our truth zone feels right.
I think of one as being ruled by our ego and the other by our soul (aka higher self / true self / intuition / inspiration / god / mojo / deep inner knowing / still small voice / deep driving desire... etc etc. Whatever you connect with.)
I think of my ego as a pompous armchair critic, and my soul as a wise but child-like explorer.
If you think about it, our ego, with all its puffed-up pride, is actually a bit of a wimp. Underneath it all it's really driven by fear, scared of embarrassment, exposure, rejection, failure...
Our soul, on the other hand, is love-driven. Even when it's saying 'no' and setting boundaries. It says, "I love you, but I love me too, and this is what I need to feel comfortable."
Our ego asks, "But what if you fail?" Our soul asks, "What do you love enough that it doesn't matter if you fail?"
And (to borrow Liz Gilbert's metaphor on inspiration) even if we jump out of our comfort zone only to land flat on our face in our truth zone, while our ego lies there bruised and battered yelling "look what you made me do, you jackass!!", our soul is going, "Woohoo, that was awesome! Wanna do it again?!"
The great thing is, you don't have to catapult yourself off a cliff to land in your truth zone. You can just dip your toe in it. A little bit every day. And then your foot. And then you might splash around in it a bit. And then one day, you may just find yourself skinny-dipping and deep-sea diving in your very own glorious ocean.
So now, when something feels uncomfortable and I'm wondering what to do, I ask myself, is it my ego or my soul that's uncomfortable? Is my decision fear-driven or love-driven? Is it my pride that's at stake, or is it my truth?
Let's bite the bullet of our truths, my loves. It doesn't mean it will all be rainbows and unicorns. It just means that at the end of the day, when we check in with ourselves, we can say, "This feels right. I feel right."