I have heard many people talk about “leaving their comfort zone.” What is this alleged Comfort Zone? Where is everyone going when they leave it?
My Comfort Zone has always been the place that I have deemed safe. It is the place that I have faithfully walled and constructed. It is impervious to the stresses and dangers that could possibly cause me discomfort or distress.
When I was younger, I built forts – forts out of blankets, forts in trees, forts that rested along the banks of the stream that ran near my house. I was creating little islands of comfort.
I was creating a place of safety from the chores that my parents might pencil into my busy life. My forts served as sanctuaries from the demands of being a middle child.
These forts had one king, one knight, one concern – ME! Comfort Zones are self-centered. They are closed. They restrict community.
If we choose to leave these walled havens, where will we be going?
I believe if we simply leave our Comfort Zone we are destined to build another fort (for ourselves). I believe we must have a Comforted Zone and Comforting Zone in our sights.
A Comfort Zone is where we demand safety, but a Comforted Zone is where we allow ourselves to be made safe. It requires a level of vulnerability on our parts. It is a state of openness – openness to others and whatever comfort, relief, encouragement and security that they might offer. It is likewise open to whatever hurt, opposition, discomfort and danger that others might instigate. A Comforted Zone welcomes community.
It is only as we allow ourselves to be comforted that we can provide a Comforting Zone.
A Comforting Zone is about making safe places available to others. It IS others centered. Your Comforting Zone is what makes your fellow travelers’ Comforted Zone a place of security rather than a place of danger. If a Comfort Zone restricts community, and a Comforted Zone welcomes it, then a Comforting Zone creates community.
Leave your Comfort Zone. Allow yourself to be comforted, and be diligent in creating places of comfort for others along the way.