If you’ve ever been involved with a Mr/Miss Unavailable, you will be familiar with being managed right down into their status quo. If you imagine that on a scale of 1-10, their status quo is that they like things to be around a 5, whatever they do whether it’s blowing smoke up your bum and promising you the world or insisting that things will be different “this time” (going into 7,8 + territory), or whether it’s at the opposite end and frustrating you to the point where things become mighty tense or you give them the heave ho, if they have their way (they love doing things on their terms), they’ll eventually manage you and things back to 5.
One of the things that I’ve noticed about us humans though is that we are very loyal to our habits, even the ones that bring us pain and keep us in our uncomfortable comfort zone and this got me thinking:
When we end up in a cycle of doing and thinking variations of the same thing and expecting different results (think Relationship Insanity + the disappointment cycle), we are guilty of managing ourselves into our own status quo. We turn down the heat on ourselves as if we’re afraid we’ll overcook it.
You accomplish something really good. Maybe you get that job or promotion that you’ve been vying for. Maybe you win that client. Maybe you buy your dream property or start that business you’ve been talking about for ages. Instead of soaking up your success and giving you a pat on the back, you enjoy the good feelings for a nanosecond and then you get into a big fight with someone that on reflection, you wonder what the hell you were truly kicking off about. Or you get in touch with your ambivalent ex to share in your good tidings (Are you on feckin’ crack?) or you go on the hunt for problems and end up whipping you into a state of anxiety.
You go through a breakup and finally go No Contact. Unlike previous times, you actually last beyond a few days or weeks and you make it several months to a year. Things are going really well and you’re starting to get your life in order and to get a sense of who you are. You feel content without the drama and start to feel as if you’re almost over them. Yet this unease sets in. You wonder what the catch is. You wonder when the good feeling’s going to disappear or maybe you become afraid of how much more you and others might expect from you and start to forecast doom and gloom. What if I’m not happy on October 30th 2016? How will I cope then? What if this is my last chance saloon and I’m going to wind up with cobwebs in my pants? What if it all gets too hard? What if I’m not really happy and I’m just tricking myself? What if I meet another assclown? Next thing you know, you have a rough day and are feeling vulnerable and you wonder what the harm will be to text or even meet up. Suddenly you’re back to having drama in your life.
You finally meet someone who treats you with love, care, trust, and respect. By your own admission, they’re code amber and red alert free and you’re happier than you’ve been for a long time. And that’s the problem. Now that you’re not playing Columbo morning, noon, and night, or not having bust-ups punctuating your week or wondering what you said or did to ‘make’ them be or do something, you’re almost bored and at the same time frightened, so like clockwork, every 2-3 weeks, you find something new to be anxious about. It’s like being happy and content is out of your comfort zone so you need to create something to take you back to 5. I’ve heard from people who have gone through this feeling who have ended up cheating on the person or going back to a toxic ex only to feel deep regret over their actions and allowing their fears and a sense of unworthiness to overtake them.
If any of this sounds remotely familiar, it’s time to ask, What is my status quo? What is my comfort zone or more like uncomfortable comfort zone?
Your status quo is that state of mind that you tend to circle back to. It’s also your typical cycle of content (or discontent depending on which way you look at it). It’s whatever you’ve gotten into the habit of complaining about or what you express your frustration over yet struggle to take the course of action that would truly put you on the path to change. I hear from readers who are miserable due to an ex yet despite this, they wouldn’t block their calls/emails or stop responding to messages or even sleeping with them.
Your habits represent your comfort zone.
You always know that you’re in an uncomfortable comfort zone if when you experience what should be good moments in your life, you tend to sabotage them, often before they’ve really had a chance to bloom. You may be so used to doing it that you may be entirely unaware of your habit of keeping you in a state of self-doubt, anxiety, sadness, or resentment. If you also tend to cycle from one drama to another and almost feel bored if something isn’t straining your brain, you may have fallen into the trap of feeling purposeful due to drama. You’re either in the camp that would have a fight with a paper bag or you’re in the camp that just feels twitchy unless you’re thinking about how someone has wronged you and what you’re going to do about it.
The trouble with an uncomfortable comfort zone is that you spend your time here on earth affirming negative beliefs while at the same time feeling wounded by being in your zone while at the same time trying to move forward while at the same time pulling you back in some way. That’s incredibly frustrating and disheartening.
Perfectionism is a prime example of this. When we are perfectionists, we put ourselves into a permanent state of dissatisfaction and comparison because we continuously move our own goalposts so that our status quo is a state of not being “good enough”. We do something and no matter how well we do it, we decide that it’s below par and just won’t allow it to be. Then when we do it to a better standard than previous and we decide that wasn’t good enough either. And on and on and on we go.
It’s like, “Maybe I wasn’t pretty enough. Maybe it’s because I’m too ambitious. Maybe I’m not exciting enough in bed. Maybe I’m the wrong age. Maybe, Maybe. Maybe.” When I see people carve themselves up with comparison as they traverse the passage of their relationships, it becomes clear that because they feel unworthy, they will always find fault with themselves and take ownership of other people’s feelings and behaviour.
The status quo is of course subjective. As many a person can attest to who has ever had their expectations managed down by Mr/Miss Unavailable, one person’s idea of a comfort zone is another person’s idea of hell. Equally if two people have a similar comfort zone which includes similar values, they can get along quite well instead of battling up and down the scale.
If you tend to turn down your heat and keep winding up in a comfort zone that you say that you don’t want to be in or that certainly isn’t yielding results for you, it’s time to ask, Do I believe that I deserve to be happy?
A person who believes that they deserve to be happy or even recognises that the thing to do when they achieve and accomplish things is to embrace them, be grateful, build on it, not call themselves a fraud or claim it was a fluke, doesn’t keep peeing on their own parade. That’s simply because self-esteem has the word ‘self’ in it for a reason so if you believe that you deserve happiness (or love, care, trust and respect for that matter), you will give it to you. You will differentiate between real and imagined threats.
Our comfort zones need to expand. When they remain static, we don’t grow and that’s where the regret kicks in because we look back and realise that time has passed but we haven’t evolved to expand our thinking and behaviour. The wonderful thing is that when we become aware of how we hold ourselves back and become conscious about exactly just how comfortable our comfort zone is, we can expand it so that what used to be a 7,8 etc becomes our new ‘5’.