Have you ever watched a one year old explore the world around them?
It is an interesting exercise, because it also helps explain a great deal about how adults behave and navigate their way through adulthood.
Remember, the habits and patterns which we establish in our early childhood are the ones we tend to stick with throughout the rest of our lives.
A small child’s exploration of the big world around them can be broken down into two distinct phases.
The first phase begins when the child gets bored with playing beside its mother, and decides to set off and explore the exciting world which lies just beyond the horizon. So the child toddles off, for the moment putting any thought of mother and safety to one side, enticed by the prospect of all the adventure, freedom and newness that lies on the other side of the room or play-park.
But, as the child explores, at some point the thought suddenly enters his / her mind, “Where has mother gone?”, and it looks around to find her. This is the start of the second phase.
If she is still nearby, in direct line of sight, then all is well, she isn’t lost, and so the child is comforted and continues to explore.
However, if she appears to be far away, or even worse, can no longer be seen or located, then the child goes into full-blown panic mode, and frantically tries to find her again.
It either runs straight back to mother, or makes so much noise so that the mother is alerted to his / her plight, and so comes to the rescue.
Either way, the child returns to mother, and so feels safe and secure. Panic over.
Until… it gets bored… starts to wander off in search of newness and excitement… and the whole cycle repeats once again.
So the repeating pattern is fueled by boredom and the need for excitement on one side, and anxiety and the need for security on the other side.
What is important for all of us adults is to realize is that we do exactly the same thing, we repeat the same pattern in our lives, but often we do not even realise that this is what we’re doing.
The point at which the child realizes that the mother is missing and starts to panic is what we can call the edge of our comfort zone. This is a psychological space that, while we are inside it we feel safe and secure, but when we venture outside of its apparent protection we start to experience panic and anxiety. The comfort zone that we mentally create as children we carry forwards into our adult lives.
For the child, their comfort zone is represented by the ‘mother’, but for adults, our comfort zones comprises of a whole host of different things, both real and metaphorical, and comfort zones vary considerably from individual to individual. Comfort zones also come in different shapes and sizes, some are quite large, while others are quite small… some are expanding (confident teenagers setting off along their life-path)… while others are definitely imploding (which tends to happen as a person approaches the end of their life).
My comfort zone will be very different from your comfort zone, and your comfort zone will be very different to your brother or sister, or to your friends. After all, we are all unique individuals, even if we are created from repeating archetypal patterns.
Apart from the real protection which you mother / father can provide, along with any tangible skills that you acquire during your life, the remainder of your comfort zone is built from mental constructs, your own ideas and beliefs about how the world works, which may not have any real roots in objective reality. Whether these beliefs and ideas would be able to protect you, if ever put to the test, is debatable. However, their magic lies in the fact that you think they would, and so your anxiety is kept at bay.
As an adult, whenever you step outside of your comfort zone – i.e. to learn a new skill, meet new people, or travel to a different country – then you immediately trigger a burst of anxiety. You cannot prevent this anxiety from occurring, it happens automatically whenever you cross the boundary of your comfort zone.
In a sense, anxiety is a warning signal designed to alert you to the fact you are wandering into uncharted territory, and so need to pay attention. Your subconscious mind, which usually runs much of your life for you on auto-pilot, cannot help if the conscious mind decides to go any further.
But when this anxiety naturally arises, people respond in either one of two ways:
• They manage the anxiety, develop strategies to prevent it overwhelming them, and they keep moving forwards towards their goal.
• They panic, turn around, and rush back to the perceived safety and security of their comfort zone (i.e. Mother!), and look for ways to justify why they have given up on obtaining their goal (and they look for something or someone to blame for defeating them).
Because once again, when we are small children, our parents and other adults either teach us a) how to successfully handle our anxiety and go after our goals, or b) how to play it safe and live within our psychological means.
Also, have you noticed that some people, when they step outside their comfort zone, or are forced outside by external circumstances, create a lot of unnecessary psychological noise and activity? This is their inner child, hoping that if they make a lot of noise, someone, mother perhaps, will come and save them. Unfortunately, for these adults, help seldom comes (because as an adult, you’re meant to be able to look after yourself).
OK, if you choose to live out your life completely encased within the security of your comfort zone, then you will learn nothing new, go nowhere unusual, and boredom will be your constant companion.
But for many people, this is the lesser of two evils. When asked to choose between anxiety and boredom, unfortunately, many, many people would rather chose a life of boredom and sameness then suffer the anxiety and uncertainty of setting out along a new and different life-path.
Part 2 of this post coming soon.
Extract from Brian Parsons Energy Boundaries: How to Protect Your Personal Space (Samarpan Alchemy Publications 2015).
Practical Ways to Work with Your Comfort Zone – Part 1:
As the extended post progresses we will be presenting a number of different ways to work with anxiety, and the whole stepping outside your comfort zone thing… and 1st one is the crystals for the Worry & Anxiety Antidote…
Worry & Anxiety Crystal Antidote = Amethyst, Orange Citrine, Turquoise
But if you don’t have those to hand, don’t worry… (sorry, dreadful pun, I know)… below is an Audio Essence containing that exact same vibration… so you can work with it whenever you need…
More information coming with our next post…
Practical Suggestions on Use:
- The more conscious attention that you can give to an Audio Essence, the deeper and more fulfilling your experience will be. It is possible to receive the benefits of an Audio Essencewhile listening to it in the background, but the more time and conscious focus you can devote to it, the more fulfillment you will gain from the experience.
- It is strongly advised that you do not listen to an Audio Essence while driving or performing tasks which require your undivided attention.
- Many people have found that listening to an Audio Essence using headphones greatly enhances their experience… although if you do not have headphones or earplugs, listening to it played on your computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone will still prove equally as effective.
- The effectiveness of an Audio Essence is not dependent on the particular volume it is played at, in fact, it can be set at the minimum volume level where it is still audible to the listener and it will still be effective. When using an Audio Essence, therefore, select the volume level which is most comfortable for your experience at that time.
- If your internet connection is slow, it may be better to allow the Audio Essence to fully download on to your webpage first before you start to listen. To attempt to listen while it is still downloading may mean the Audio Essence pauses, and this may interrupt and disturb your experience.
(c) Brian Parsons October 2016