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  • Fe Robinson

What's wrong with being in your comfort zone?

What does the idea of a comfort zone evoke in you? Is it warm, relaxed feelings of being at ease? Or is it a feeling of guilt, or discomfort, some sort of idea of complacency and not being enough if you are not striving? Or something else entirely?

Reflecting on comfort zones recently, I was shocked to notice that in a dictionary comfort zone had a secondary definition of ‘a settled method of working that requires little effort and yields only barely acceptable results’...ouch! Meaning is context dependent and we all have different contexts and so different meanings but I had not realised this one had become so ubiquitous.

It is a common theme in psychotherapy that clients may feel as though they, as they are, are not enough. This is hardly surprising when culturally ideas of satisfaction, or sufficiency, tend to be tinged with judgement. I see many a rating system where satisfactory is seen as less than good, and hear people talking of something being sufficient as if that means it is only just good enough.

Let’s be clear. To be satisfied means to be ‘contented, pleased.’ Sufficient means ‘enough, adequate.’ A comfort zone is a situation where one ‘feels safe or at ease.’ All of these are good things. You can strive for more, always AND you will reach higher if you are working from a place where you feel safe and at ease, because you can flow and relax into whatever your endeavour is. You can be very clear that you yourself are enough, that you are sufficient, and work hard to achieve different things. Confidence and self-worth are strong platforms for achievement, anxiety and self-doubt are not.

My kids have a lovely book called ‘The Whale Who Wanted More.’ It tells the story of a whale who is a collector, he’s always after the next shiny thing. In the tale a brave little crab points out to him that given he is so unhappy continually feeling he does not have enough, he might get rather more pleasure from sharing his own unique gift. Luckily he remembers his whale song and brings harmony to the reef. It’s of course couched in a simple narrative that works for the young, but it is a poignant reminder that we are all at our best when we are who we are, and we know our own worth.

You are the only you. If you hide your light under the proverbial bushel, or edit yourself to please others, or focus only on what you don’t value about yourself or regret, you risk losing the essence of what it is you bring to the world. It’s not a good path to tread, for you, or for anyone else.

Sometimes it takes time to tune in and remember your own gifts and talents. It can take courage to be prepared to share them with those you love, let alone the world more generally. And yet, this is the path to a life well lived.

You are sufficient, you are enough. Your comfort zone is a place you can rest and recharge, happily and with contentment. You can be shamelessly satisfied. You can be you.

If you’d like to explore themes of comfort, sufficiency or satisfaction in your life, get in touch.

To find out more about my services, here’s a link to find out more about me:

Silhouette of a woman full of awareness
Self acceptance is a path to more peaceful living


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