The False Sense of Calm in the Comfort Zone

The false sense of calm in the comfort zone is about self-deception. Often, people mistakenly think they'll be better off if they don't expose themselves to new and uncertain experiences. However, they mainly enhance their fears by not doing so.
The False Sense of Calm in the Comfort Zone

Last update: 24 July, 2020

The false sense of calm in one’s comfort zone is a set of circumstances people passively adapt to. Therefore, it exerts a minimum degree of demand over them. And although this offers tranquility, it’s all a mirage, as life is dynamic. Thus, sooner or later, you’ll have to face change, even if you resist it.

The most problematic thing here is that the comfort zone isn’t exactly the best space to develop the ability to adapt to the new. It’s rather the opposite. The longer you continue to repeat routines and moving only in the realm of the known, the more difficult it’ll be to visualize and address change.

This is why some say that the comfort zone generates a false sense of calm. It isn’t the tranquility of someone who trusts themselves. Rather, it speaks of someone who thinks they’re in control of everything. Upon leaving their comfort zone, their supposed peace disappears and turns into insecurity and anguish. Thus, tranquility, in this case, doesn’t depend on a person. It depends on the stability of their circumstances. This is why it’s so fragile.

“The further you get away from yourself, the more challenging it is. Not to be in your comfort zone is great fun.”

-Benedict Cumberbatch-

A person inside their comfort zone.

The comfort and fear zone

One of the most troubling aspects of the comfort zone is that it’s based on fear. What a person who settles in the context of circumstances and people familiar to them is looking for, mainly, is to experience security. They want to minimize uncertainty and, therefore, demarcate a subjective territory and never leave it.

As we mentioned above, the comfort zone is configured out of fear. Thus, the goal of not leaving it is also dictated by this feeling. Anything outside of that known territory is considered a threat. The new, the different, and the unknown are threatening to those who live this way. The false sense of peace they experience ends when something unforeseen arises.

Due to that latent presence of fear, many think the comfort zone is actually a danger zone. It’s, in fact, a danger zone because those who settle there become progressively vulnerable. This is because their security and tranquility depend exclusively on external factors. As usual, these can change at any time.

A false sense of calm can be costly

In addition to all of the above, those who remain in their comfort zone don’t even feel completely calm there, even if there’s no change. They’re dependent on certain circumstances, which is why it isn’t uncommon for them to experience episodes of great anxiety and false beliefs. Even when they’re not at risk, they fantasize about any possible risks. This causes them anguish and puts an end to the false peace they think should prevail.

Also, they pay a high price to pay for someone who refuses to cross their comfort zone barrier. The most common example is that of the employee who hates their job but won’t give it up for anything in the world. Certainly, it’s not reassuring to spend your time doing things you don’t enjoy. But in some, the fear of facing something new and, of course, uncertainty, is greater.

Those who stay in their comfort zone aren’t really calmer and they’re not happier. What they do is create a hiding place to deal with their fears. They don’t solve their insecurities, though. On the contrary, they potentiate them.

The only way to overcome fear

The only way to overcome your fears is to confront them. Everyone knows that, even if you try to ignore them at times. Doing so isn’t pleasant, at least in the beginning. It’s something that pushes you to your own limits. In principle, it generates unpleasant sensations. You experience intense fears for a moment.

A person cloud hoping.

Deep down inside, staying in your comfort zone is a way of declaring you feel incapable in many ways. It’s true that you aren’t capable of doing many things because reality imposes limits. You’re not capable of being immortal, or of preventing situations that cause you pain. However, you may be able to find a way to regain balance.

Fears return to their true dimension when you manage to reasonably trust yourself. There’s also a false sense of calm that doesn’t equate to the supposed tranquility of your comfort zone, but rather to a better expectation of your own performance. It takes that trust to lead the life you want, instead of reducing it to a corner. A false sense of calm protects you but also imprisons you.

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  • Forés Miravalles, A., Sánchez i Valero, J. A., & Sancho Gil, J. M. (2014). Salir de la zona de confort. Dilemas y desafíos en el EEES. Tendencias pedagógicas.

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