On comfort and discomfort
Comfort and discomfort are like breathing in and breathing out. You have to have both.
If you only live in comfort, you will grow lazy, sluggish, and probably irritable, as you become allergic to discomfort.
If you only live in discomfort, you can never relax. You always have to do something, you won’t have time to reset yourself, plan ahead, and spend time leisurely.
In both cases, you’re probably not present in the moment.
The comfortable man can’t enjoy his comfort, because he knows nothing else, and is probably afraid of any discomfort that comes his way. The perpetually challenged man is always rushing to the next thing, never smelling the flowers. He is bound to burn out.
Both want to avoid what they need.
As well in both cases, it is only a matter of time until the opposite — challenge for the lazy man and rest for the challenged man — will appear, whether they ask for it, or not.
The comfortable man will soon feel physical pain because he doesn’t exercise his body enough. Even the most comfortable positions he likes to sit or lie in will be accompanied by pain. The tastiest foods, which he gluttonously enjoys — he is too used to them, and they will cease to be joyful. As his gut grows, fueled by his complacency, he gets heavier and every step will be painful.
This is not to mention the psychological pain of knowing all the responsibilities you are shirking. Living in society does present you with a set of things you have to regularly do, lest you want to live in poverty, pain, anxiety, or other forms of hell-like existence. You need to take your trash out. You need to earn money. You need to move your body. And you KNOW you need to. This knowledge weighs heavily on you, as you go day by day without doing anything, and the pile of necessities in your head grows larger and heavier. As do you, but not in reach or influence or positive impact.
The challenged man will notice how his nights grow shorter, as his workload increases. He says yes to every new challenge because that’s how his surroundings know him. Eating food takes too much time away from his work, so he subsists on coffee, fast food, and other short-term “energy boosters”. He is running low on true energy — every day is a desperate gasp for air of a drowning man.
The difficult thing for you is — you don’t know that. You don’t know because society mirrors back to you what a good man you are. How much you get done, how effectively. How needed and useful you are. They shower you with praise and money. Everything mirrors back to you that you are doing the right thing. And of course, you want to take a holiday. Just after this important project is finished. And even then, will you take one? There is a perfidious fear … will you retain your status when you return from your time off? The workhorse gets slaughtered when it stops working. So you don’t, you keep at it. Until one day, you burn. And you will have to lie down, in bed for a long time. You can’t even look at your work, your head will burst. And here you are, back to square one.
Both cases are a spiral. the comfortable man is useless in work and sluggish, and no one will invite him to undertake something meaningful and difficult. The challenged man is erratic and can’t relax and have fun, so no one will invite him to kick back and hang out. They deny themselves that which they need most because they close themselves off to it.
Both paths leads to misery. Not only for yourself but also for your family and loved ones, who invariably will have to help you carry this burden, which is almost impossible to carry for long. And then, when it’s time for you to wake up from this nightmarish slumber, you better do your best. Or else your burden will be too much for them and there will be pain and separation.
If you’re any of these men — or if you find that any of these men live inside you, you might want to do the following:
- Ask yourself for the source — why is this problem befalling me?
You must have an honest dialogue with yourself. You can do this best by writing. Do this over and over again, if the problem sits deep.
- Ask your best friend for help — can you please help me with a moment of relaxation / with a challenging project?
If your friends are good friends they will have been trying to get you to do this anyway and they will gladly give you a hand.
- Ask the world / the universe / God for guidance — can you please show me the way?
Maybe you can find guidance in some reading or listening material — there is plenty to go around.
Good luck on your journey from the narrow edge back to balance.