Doing new things can be scary. There is great comfort in the familiar, even if the familiar is what is hurting us. Fear of discomfort, uncertainty, and failure is just too much for the frightened, weaker part of our mind to bear. It doesn’t know how to manage those feelings and is afraid that it will feel that way forever. So it panics and just shuts down any possibility of experiencing those feelings. Its goal is to keep you in its own comfort zone, the place that is familiar to it, where it knows what it will feel even if the feeling is something that is painful and defeating to you, like eating a whole plate of cookies, which makes you feel physically sick to your stomach and totally emotionally defeated because you know what that plate of cookies meant to your health. To your mind, at least those feelings of sickness and disappointment surrounding that plate of cookies are familiar emotions that it deals with all the time–pain that is recognizable is easier for it to deal with than an unknown pain. This is how your fearful mind stays in control, by allowing you to defeat yourself.
-Cameron Diaz, The Body Book
I can relate to this. I’m sure that you can relate to this, too.
I’ve recently been reading The Body Book by Cameron Diaz. It is my go-to guide on the law of hunger, the science of strength, and other ways to love my body. I’ve been reading it, absorbing it, and studying each word that is printed in this book. I quickly realized while reading it how passionate I was about everything that is related to my body — what I eat, how I move, how I think. What I didn’t realize, however, was how much my mind controls me. How much our minds control us.
The passage quoted above is a passage that I read today. Cameron Diaz mentions that doing new things can be scary because, well, “there is great comfort in the familiar”.
This statement is frightening because of how much truth is in it. We get so caught up in what is familiar to us — our regular routines, our regular diets, our regular friends, our regular attitude. We don’t realize that our “regulars” might not be the best thing for us. Sometimes we like who we are. We like our friends, and we like our daily schedules and routines, and we don’t want to mess up what we are comfortable with. On the contrary, there are days in which we wish we had the body that we have always desired, or the friends that would support us instead of downgrade us, or that regular attitude that always seemed to brighten someone else’s day instead of rain on their parade.
“Fear of discomfort, uncertainty, and failure is just too much for the frightened, weaker part of our mind to bear.” Yes, it is. We fear the unknown. We fear what we do not know because we don’t want it to be less acceptable than the path that we were already on. We don’t want to leap out of our comfort zone to change, because we have inhabited ourselves in a regular routine that keeps us content.
What if, ten years from now, everything that is happening to you right now remained the same — the same paycheck, the same car, the same house, the same friends, the same lifestyle, the same body, the same wardrobe, the same attitude. I bet that’s not where you were picturing yourself to be in ten years, is it?
Then why are we so afraid of change? Why are we so afraid to take a step out of our comfort zones and look for a new job with a bigger paycheck, look for a new lifestyle to keep us happy and healthy, look for a new attitude that will allow us to be more optimistic, or look for a different association to help support us? If you want change in your life for the better, then you can’t expect to stay in your familiar state. You can’t anticipate change if you don’t take a step toward new challenges.
It’s mind over matter. What you give power to, has power over you. It starts with you. Sometimes what you are most afraid of doing, is the one thing that is stopping you from living your life the way in which you were intended to live. Each day is a new day to change that one thing that has been lingering on your heart.
“This is how your fearful mind stays in control, by allowing you to defeat yourself.”
One step out of your comfort zone — just one small skip — is all that it takes.