In one of my recent blogs, I mentioned that choosing comfortable over self-growth always leads to regret. I’ve been thinking about this concept a lot lately, so I’ve decided to expand on it here today.
Many people today are using comfort as a crutch.
I’ve come to believe that there are two kinds of comfort: authentic and inauthentic. Authentic comfort comes from a true place. Maybe you’re lying on the beach with your family or enjoying a good meal with great friends. You feel comfortable. Happy. At ease. You’re living in your truth.
Then there’s inauthentic comfort. You might be staying at a cushy job for the money or stuck in a less than optimal relationship because you’re afraid to be alone. On the surface, everything looks great. But deep down inside, you feel trapped. Stressed. Fake. You’re not living in your truth.
I think that as a society, our use of inauthentic comfort is reaching epidemic proportions.
On paper, our lives look fantastic. We have nice cars, beautiful homes, white picket fences, and big screen TVs. But underneath, we’re miserable.
I’ve experienced both types of comfort in my life. When I worked in the corporate world, I had everything that a person my age is supposed to want: an eight-minute commute, a husband, a car, and a house. I liked the people I worked with. I made good money. For all intents and purposes, my job was a great job. But I was inauthentically comfortable. Even though my job looked great on paper, it was eating away at my soul. I knew I wasn’t doing what I was meant to do in the world.
In the two and a half years since I left my cubicle, I’ve experienced all sorts of discomfort. There’s been financial stress. Worries about what people would think of me. Late nights. Tears. But throughout the entire process, I’ve also experienced an overarching sense of authentic comfort. Sure, sometimes things felt tough. But I was living in my truth, which was far better than any house, car, or paycheck.
From living in this place of truth, I managed to manifest a job that combines my love for research with my passion for yoga. It didn’t happen overnight, but it happened.
When describing her work in the world, Oprah once mentioned her favorite prayer: “Use me, God. Use me until you use me up.”
I’ve started to say a similar prayer. Because the truth of the matter is that I believe I was put on this earth for a reason. One of these reasons, I think, is for me to use my skills and training to help yoga become acknowledged by the scientific and medical community as an effective treatment modality. This is a life purpose that is requiring me to make many sacrifices, such as leaving friends and family. So, whenever I get stressed about my impending move, I silently say: “Use me up, Universe.”
By saying these words, I’m affirming my belief in my purpose. If this is what I’m truly meant to do, then all of the pieces will fall into place to get me there. I’m trusting that there is a plan far bigger than mine, and I’m surrendering my personal plan to this greater purpose. As always, this isn’t about believing in a particular creed, religion, or dogma. It’s about trusting that everything will fall into place to help me do what I’m meant to do.
Interestingly enough, a few weeks ago, I was offered a full-time research coordinator position for a project that is going to help thousands of psychiatric patients at hospitals across Ontario, Canada. I helped write the grant for the project, and I’m very proud of what the study is going to accomplish. If I took the job, I would be making better money than my upcoming position at Harvard. I would have a three-minute commute. I could keep my house, my car. I wouldn’t have to move 600 miles away.
On paper, this sounds very comfortable.
So, I checked in with myself. On the one hand, there was a voice inside that was screaming, “Take the job. Take the job! Then you won’t have to go through all of the stress of moving to Boston. You can stay where you are. You’ll be comfortable.” But as I sat in stillness, my true voice, my authentic voice, came through: “I know you’re scared. This is a big transition, and it’s ok to be nervous. If you take the job close to home, you will be comfortable, but you won’t be happy. You contributed enough to that project by writing the grant. Now you can release it and go do what you’re really meant to do in the world.”
If I’d accepted that job offer, I would have spent years being inauthentically comfortable. Moving to Boston is causing me discomfort, but my experience of leaving the corporate world taught me that this discomfort will give way, eventually, to authentic comfort.
I want you to be brutally honest with yourself. Reach deep down inside and assess whether you are authentically or inauthentically comfortable in the following areas:
Remember, authentic comfort feels good, truthful, and pure. Inauthentic comfort feels fake.
Where are you using comfort as a crutch? Share your comments below!
Bethany Butzer, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, researcher, and yoga teacher who helps people create a life they love. Check out her book, The Antidepressant Antidote, follow her on Facebook and Twitter, and join her whole-self health revolution.
If you’d like tips on the topic of manifesting your dream job, plus some personal instruction from Bethany, check out her online course, Creating A Life You Love: Find Your Passion, Live Your Purpose and Create Financial Freedom.
*Photo by momsgrowingwithgoals.