I like to think of myself as being spontaneous, even a bit compulsive, when it comes to living every day. Those who know me well think quite the opposite of me. To a large degree, they are right!
The more rigid side of me wants to know the rules to play by, whether it is at work, at home, or hard at play. Along with my own willingness to play by the rules, I expect others to respect the fact that rules are rules, especially when it comes to things that matter, like the workplace, or in relationships. I believe a certain amount of rigidity enhances trust, that it does not detract from it. By trusting others to follow the same rules to which we oblige ourselves, we can gradually learn to rely upon our coworkers and friends, that they will not betray our trust. With practice and experience, it deepens the level of friendship we can have.
Spontaneity and new relationships
On the other hand, rigidity can stifle opportunity for discovery, for relationships which our “safer” side won’t allow, for learning we can swim in the deep end of the pool after all. When we open our lives to spontaneity, we open ourselves up to new and exciting adventures and motivation for living joyfully. We discover the beauty of diversity, and we learn that people are people, not enemies vs. friends.
So, what’s the problem?
Whether we can see it clearly or not, allowing or creating new opportunity by stepping out of our comfort zones, involves fear. We are afraid of risks. Things like rejection, embarrassment, feeling “stupid”, looking too “fat, ugly, tall, thin… (fill in the blank)” are small, though overwhelming, fears that tell us risks are treacherous and can lead to bad things, and humbling thoughts.
Finding the sweet spot
The way of greater joy and peace, I believe, is to find comfort in those things that we truly trust and upon which we can rely. Once we are sure of those things, which, by the way, has a lot to do with finding comfort in ourselves, we can gain the confidence that new risks won’t kill us after all.
By taking small steps into this scary new world, we find interesting people, richer relationships, and lots of new things to think about, talk about, and relax about. This, I believe, is the right path for anyone finding themselves entrapped in a cocoon of safety, and often, boredom.
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