“The only constant in life is change” is a familiar and frequently quoted phrase. The last few years have proven this to be true, and it is guaranteed that you will be navigating the expansion of your comfort zone for time eternal.
I don’t think any of us would disagree with the notion that we need to get super comfortable with change. However, the interesting thing is that humans who must adapt to change are wired to protect their turf with their very being.
You’ll inevitably bump into the comfort zone of others as yours expands and grows.
When you do, they will most likely do whatever they can do to make you reconsider and take a big step back.
I was first introduced to this concept when reading Harriet Lerner’s The Dance of Anger… She spoke of the progression from partners executing practiced dance steps (dancing together in the comfort zone), to the addition of new steps that growth introduces (moving to the edge of the comfort zone), eventually leading to a completely new dance being danced by one partner (a leap out of the comfort zone).
What if your expansion causes you to bump into the comfort zone of another person? Most likely, they will not understand the new dance and may fight like heck to pull you back into step.
In a case such as this, compassion (not disdain) is your friend. If you are the partner who has traditionally made ALL the decisions, and you invite your partner into the inner sanctum of decision making because of a new awareness or a commitment to shifting, they will likely be confused.
Remember that we teach people how to treat us and you have taught your partner that you are the decision maker. Have some compassion- you’ve changed the dance steps. The dance is different, and the comfort zones are not as comfortable as they once were.
Take the time to share what you are doing and why and then be persistent, compassionate, and loving as you continue to practice your new awareness.
A few tips:
- Take the time you need to be comfortable yourself.
- Be patient with others as they learn the new normal.
- Communicate what is happening to avoid confusion.
- Take a deep breath when they try to lull you back.
- Practice, practice, practice your new way of being in the world.
- Teach the other(s) the new dance steps.