We all have our “comfort zone.” But the truth is that for many of us, that so-called comfort zone is actually a very dark, painful place. It’s where all of our limiting beliefs and fears thrive.
It’s our default setting, and for a lot of us, it’s built by years of negative feedback, negative self-talk, false beliefs and more. It’s the place where we feel most comfortable — in spite of the pain — because we believe everything we see and hear in that place.
When we start to grow, to challenge those beliefs and push back on our conditioning, we start to rise above default. As we climb out of it, we feel more exposed, more vulnerable. People we come across tell us how remarkable we are — how strong, how brave, how bright, how beautiful. They’re in awe of us.
And what do we do?
We grow more and more fearful that they’ll discover the truth. That they’ll find out who we REALLY are — that person who really belongs at that dark, nasty default place. The girl who isn’t good enough, the guy who can’t ever grow up, the woman who fails at everything. The more we stretch into this new, beautiful territory (where we don’t really feel we belong) the more the voices rise up to tear us down. We remind ourselves of our flaws, we pick apart our victories.
And then we self-sabotage.
Some of us are really spectacular when it comes to sabotaging ourselves. Truly talented, really. We cling to relationships that feed the darkness, where we always feel like we aren’t worthy. We walk away from opportunities that would take us leaps and bounds toward our dreams. We seek out anything and anyone who will confirm that our default-level beliefs are true. We make bad decisions of epic proportions. We subconsciously create health problems and chronic diseases. We do whatever it takes to prove to ourselves and to the world that we actually ARE who we fear we might be.
And then we settle back into that known pain. Relieved, somehow, because we feel validated in those beliefs we’ve bothered to drag around for most of our lives.
Take a look at your life lately. How far have you been going to keep yourself stuck at default?
As always, with awareness comes the opportunity to make a different choice. Are you ready for new default settings?
That’s really what we need to create. A new default. Think of it as a self-regulating thermostat. You have a temperature set, and the entire system conspires to keep it regulated to that specific temp. If you have it set at 65* and you want to warm it up, you can light the fireplace and turn on a space heater. Sure, it’ll start to raise the temperature — but as soon as it gets close to 70* the air conditioning kicks on and fights to bring it back down to 65. Because that’s where you said you want it. All of your efforts to heat up the room are wasted — until you change the temperature setting on the thermostat itself.
Here are a few tips for you if you’re ready to create a new default:
You can’t play victim anymore.
There is no amount of whining, no pity party big enough, to change the current setting. You have to get up off your ass and change it. This means taking responsibility for your part in it — YOU set the thermostat at some point. This is a double edged sword. On the one hand, yeah, it sucks that you did this to yourself. You bought into the lies you were fed, you misinterpreted or misjudged the words, actions and intentions of others. You created the current programming that is ruling your life. The other side of that, though, is that you aren’t dependent on ANYBODY else to change it! You can do it by yourself. In fact, nobody else CAN change it. You’ve got the power, baby!
You can identify the current beliefs at large in your life.
It’s pretty easy to step outside of yourself and see what beliefs or behaviors are holding you back. Once you step out of the victim role, and gain a more objective viewpoint, you gain access to a whole new perspective on what’s been running rampant through your mind. Because that is where all these default settings reside — your subconscious mind. They leak over into your daily thoughts, and if you pay attention to the thoughts and knee-jerk reactions you experience, they’ll reveal themselves to you in no time. You’ve just gotta be willing to look, which is sometimes tougher than you realize. It’s not much fun to analyze all the nasty tricks your mind plays on you — although it IS always enlightening.
…But you don’t always have to.
If you feel totally overwhelmed by the thought-mining process, or if you can’t *quite* pinpoint that slippery underlying belief…it’s okay. You can still change it, you just have to override it with something completely different, something that serves you better. While discovering those blocks can be incredibly eye-opening, and can give us a LOT of insight into our past choices and behaviors, it’s not entirely necessary in this process of creating change. We can create conscious choice without having to identify what choices we’ve been making up til now. The key is to commit to making choices consciously, intentionally, rather than allowing our old defaults to override any longer.
You get to choose the new settings.
Do me a favor here, will ya? Make sure they’re AMAZING settings. Because if you really secretly wish that your house would be 74* but you’re only brave enough to dream of setting the thermostat at 70* (because, really, aren’t baby steps best?) — guess what?? You’ll only be able to get up to 70*….EVER. And then you’ll find yourself right back here at some point, struggling to get that temp to go higher. Again. So let’s just skip over that nonsense and really embrace your awesomeness, okay? Own the full beauty of your talents and strengths and skills, and accept that your birthright is to always have plenty. Dare to imagine your life as vividly and lovingly as you possibly can! Go all the way. Need permission to dream bigger, to want more? Here. I’m giving you permission.
You have to remember those settings.
Write them down. Draw a picture. Make a collage. Use post-it notes. Somewhere, somehow, you’ve got to make it official for it to stick. Every time you start to backslide, you need that reminder, that little nudge — uh, nope, sorry…we aren’t going there again. Because it will happen. After so many years at 65* it’ll take a while for the system to regulate at the new programming. But as long as you keep remembering, it WILL regulate. Every time. So when you start to make excuses for the jerk you’re dating, remember your promise to yourself: you deserve deep soul love. When you catch yourself reaching for junk food because you’re upset about something, recognize emotional eating as something you choose NOT to do anymore. When you start letting a client walk all over you, remind yourself that you are the expert, that they hired you for your genius — and use it.
If you need help getting creative with your new default, let’s play! I can guide you to the place you really deserve to let yourself live — a place free from pain, without despair and doubt. Let’s imagine what life could be like if we dared to change that thermostat.