The Best Solution Isn’t the Most Comfortable

July 18, 2019
The safest and most comfortable path isn’t always the best solution. It may decrease your risks, but it also decreases your opportunities to learn.

There are times when you try to find the best solution to your problems, and perhaps you do it by behaving in a way that leads to other problems. Perhaps you anchor yourself in your comfort. It’s a way of traveling through life while refusing to explore unknown territory because other perspectives terrify you.

The problem is that, in many cases, people settle for comfortable life patterns lacking in satisfaction. The perfect lifestyle doesn’t usually agree with our main objectives or values, or those of our society. It’s like there’s something that holds us back and doesn’t allow us to avoid that one obstacle that seems impossible to surpass.

The fear beyond our comfort zone leads us to failure. The mere thought of experiencing negative emotions or facing challenges lead us to cling even more to what’s already harmful. In fact, most of us are enamored of our own pain. We’ll strongly challenge anything or anyone who tries to take it away.

Comfort as the Lesser of Two Evils Isn’t the Best Solution

A woman looking out the window.

Thus, we remain in relationships that barely contribute anything to our overall growth as individuals or well-being. We tend to stay in comfortable situations even when they’re harmful or even dangerous. Furthermore, we stay in jobs that are well below our capabilities or aren’t beneficial. All this because stepping into the unknown involves more responsibility. Thus, this is precisely how we end up thinking that the best solution is to settle for the usual.

What’s familiar is usually more comfortable, but comfort is highly overrated. Comfort doesn’t always mean wellness and/or peace of mind. The abyss that implies escaping from the comfortable and entering the unknown is so big that we choose to endure superficial pain which only leads to more intense endless pain.

Comfort seems to be an element that’s much appreciated by humans. It’s true that living comfortably gives us a certain sense of control and greatly reduces our levels of anxiety.

If we were to face new situations every day without knowing whether they’re good or bad to us, then we would die of stress. For this reason, seeking a dose of comfort for our life isn’t necessarily harmful.

Houston, We Have a Problem

When does the actual problem arise? At the moment when we opt for comfort. When we’re not truly as comfortable as we like to think. That is to say, what we have in our present is familiar to us. We do know how to be in our own element. Moreover, it seems we’re unable to control what happens to us but deep down it isn’t true. First of all, because there are few things we can definitely control other than ourselves.

On the other hand, what seems comfortable isn’t, at least not so much. If you don’t believe it, then ask yourself: Are you happy with your life? Are you truly enjoying it as much as you can?

It may be that, in the short term, keeping what you already have will give you peace of mind. However, think about the long term and then look back. What do you see? Are you stuck in the same spot as you were then? Do you feel as if something isn’t working out?

Perhaps comfort’s got a hold on you. You feel you’re climbing a ladder that leads to a precipice. You fall and go back up the same difficult way you did before. Yes, this looping entry is familiar and comfortable but, is it truly the best? As you already know, sometimes the best solution isn’t the easiest or most comfortable one.

Fear of Discomfort

A person standing by the ocean during sunset.

The fear of having to go through uncomfortable or unknown situations beyond your control or perhaps something that could lead you to experience negative emotions isn’t allowing you to try new ways of doing things.

Our society is in charge of putting enough pressure on us so that we’re happy and it teaches us to keep our struggles to a minimum. It’s as if feeling negative emotions was a sign of weakness. We demonize them to the point of avoiding them at all costs. Thus, people adopt this programmed motto that demands them to always think positively; fleeing from anything that may lead to laziness, discomfort, sadness, guilt, and so on.

No wonder the ending result is constant dissatisfaction. The feeling that you’re missing something lingers. It happens because you’re only thinking about today, conforming yourself to what keeps you tied to the same place, without thinking that your life could be better tomorrow. Thus, to get to the other side, you must go through a series of obstacles. Most of the time, it’s uncomfortable and yet it’s necessary. However, keep in mind it’s all about balance and not about becoming a martyr.

How to Find the Best Solution

The key is to craft a plan and to manage it intelligently. Balance the good and the bad. To say “enough is enough” and to overcome your unfounded fears. Also, to realize that all those “monsters” that “promise to eat you up” if you take the first step towards change will seldom follow up on their “threats”. And, if they do, they’re not as terrifying as “they” led you to believe. Remember that your mind is always in charge and that it has a tendency to magnify everything.

In conclusion, the best solution is unfamiliar most of the time. Instead, it’s uncomfortable and uncertain. Thus, you should repeat this mantra to yourself: “Here I am and whatever may come my way, I’ll take the best way I can. I’ll cry when the situation requires it and when I feel like doing it. I’ll laugh when I get there”. This way, accepting what life brings you will allow you to learn new things.

  • Barraca, J. (2005). La mente o la vida. Una aproximación a la terapia de aceptación y compromiso. 2º edición. Desclee de brouwer.