The Scenario: She was in an emotionally damaging relationship five years. Even though that was some time ago and she’s in her early forties, she still has difficulty saying “Thank You” or responding to someone thanking her. In the past those words were uttered out of sheer frustration and sarcasm. This has created a discomfort zone surrounding any action of gratitude. She avoids those moments when possible. She was not exposed to gifts of adoration, compliments or tokens of appreciation either. Her efforts went unnoticed and unacknowledged for years.
She’s currently dating someone who cares deeply about her. He’s exposed her to the kindness she’s been missing yet she’s ill equipped to accept the pleasantries gracefully. Instead, she feels indebted, overwhelmed, stressed and unable to match his effort. The possible romantic moments are tense and uncomfortable.
What is a discomfort zone? How can she learn to seek her new comfort zone and stay away from her discomfort zone?
A discomfort zone is created in the same way as a comfort zone. The exception is that it’s based on negative experiences, reinforced repetitive cues and collective societal pressures. A discomfort zone can be unlearned by rewarding the negative thought patterns with positive affirmations.
We know her discomfort zone is provoked by the word, “Thank You”. First, she should learn to say “Thank You” and reward herself by giving her boyfriend a small kiss on the cheek when she does. Her journey begins by practicing how to say thank you every day until it rolls off her tongue effortlessly. She’ll include simple smile, nod and not a single thought other than “Thank You”. Body language and eye contact are as important. Communicating with her boyfriend about the change in behavior will clear up any misunderstood reactions if she reverts to her old behaviors.
To ease the tension she should be more self-aware of each negative reaction and take the opposite course of action. When he opens her car door, instead of saying, “Why’d you do that or I’ve got it,” she should say “Thank You” and permit him open it. When he offers to help carry the groceries, instead of saying, “No thanks, I don’t need any help,” she should say “Thank You” and consent to his assistance.
The Insight: A discomfort zone can be limiting to personal growth like a comfort zone, if not identified. It can give some people a negative sense of solace or force others to seek balance by avoiding it. Comfort zones allow people to become complacent when they are in that realm and anxious when it’s not available. No matter which zone you’re seeking or avoiding, when you know what centers and challenges your growth you’ll be able to foster an environment for personal development, self-awareness and inner peace. The life goals are to seek a new challenging comfort zone and shy away from the negative discomfort zone.
A Positive Perspective for Life, Love, and Relationships