Alternate Title: Knowing your level of comfort is vital to self-awareness
In my opinion, self-awareness goes a long way. And knowing how comfortable you are with things in general, as well as in different situations, can be useful for putting things in perspective.
Everyone has a unique scale when it comes to how they live their life. Some people, on average, like to take more risks and “live dangerously.” Others are more cautious or timid and might be labeled “paranoid” or “scaredy-cat.” However, everyone also can stray away from their typical behavior depending on the situation. This is when we see shy people excitedly perform on stage or someone who’s considered brave and extroverted avoids an intimidating group. Despite everyone having an “everyday” comfort scale, certain situations make us go against our norm.
If I think about it… it’s like a traffic light. But, I’ll come back to that later.
The comfort scale
A comfort scale with medium levels across the board would look something like this:
Let’s start right in the center. The green part of the scale is the Comfort Zone. For a lot of people, this is where you feel the most in control and content. Nothing really frightens you and things might even be predictable. You might feel at peace and content with whatever activity or situation. However, some others think of this zone as boring or too predictable.
Next, there’s the Caution area of the scale. Although, it can also be viewed as the adventurous part. Yellow is where you might feel a bit out-of-place. But it can also be that nice balance between comfortable and scared. For some, it may be a difficult zone to maneuver as they may feel constantly under stress or worried.
[I also think for a lot of people, it’s where the safety nets are still in view, but there’s a good level of pressure or newness to make them feel challenged.]
Lastly, the red zone is probably the real love-it or hate-it zone. It’s the Danger vibe of the comfort scale. And it’s very much the moments when you feel completely out of your depth, powerless, full flight-or-fight mode, or something similar. Again, some people and some situations thrive in the danger part of the comfort scale.
How does it vary?
Like I said earlier, everyone has their own average comfort scale that derives from their unique Point of View and how comfortable they tend to be on an everyday basis. But of course, that can look very different in special situations or from person to person.
So, what does that image look like in practice? Well, let’s imagine these three examples as different people. [Or feel free to think of them as the same person in different scenarios.] I might describe them as such:
Person 1: Has an average size comfort zone. But, their level of caution is high. They might be the type to worry easily about many different things. But, they could also find a ton of things as adventurous and fun. Since they have a small danger zone, I might assume it’s the latter.
Person 2: Is probably at ease most of the time with their high comfort. Maybe it’s because they’re calm or good at adapting, but regardless it seems like they go through life not feeling too worried. However, their caution is really low. That implies they have a limited buffer between being comfortable and reaching the danger zone. Also, since the danger area is medium and not small, this person might face more stress than initially assumed.
Person 3: Might be regularly stressed and/or anxious. Their comfort zone is small, so they might feel out of their element often. Depending on if they view caution as “yea” or “nay” could indicate how “bad” this is. Their danger part is also high, though. So, I would assume that their comfort scale isn’t preferred.
[Be mindful that this is a really simple analysis, Each of these could vary in description based on the person’s personality and other details. I just wanted to provide basic examples.]
How do you apply this to yourself?
Personally, I’m mostly the kind of person that finds breaking things down to be helpful. You might prefer to jot down your thoughts if something makes you uncomfortable or serves to motivate you. Maybe you’re good just attaching a number from 1-5. However, if visualizing how something is affecting you is more your speed then I think the comfort scale could work. And I think it could be a good, simple way to keep track of your self-awareness.
For starters, feel free to take another look at the first image of this post. Remember, that’s what I would describe as having 3 medium levels. Arguably, the “standard.” But, how do you see yourself? What about when you’re doing something you’re passionate about versus something that makes you nervous? Are they connected or completely different?
I think a comfort scale is something simple you can do to put your frame of mind in perspective. But, it’s also an easy foundation for thinking more deeply about how you perceive things and when you break up your patterns. For example, if you’re the type that likes to be in the caution area, when do you find it to be too much or no longer worth it? Do you like it more or less than the danger zone? Can you recall certain situations where you view them as the opposite?
Anyway, if this all sounds a bit complicated or unnecessary, then allow me to finish off with an analogy about traffic lights.
I think we all know how to respond to traffic lights. If the comfort scale is too complicated or you just don’t want to be bothered, when you’re in a situation, just take a moment to think which color applies to your feelings and thoughts.