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Your comfort zone is holding you back.
Have you ever seen gold in its raw state?
It looks like this:
As you can see, there’s very little special about it. The yellow splotches look like moss. An untrained eye would use it to kick bottles, and then dust off their feet before going into a house. But it is pure, valuable gold. When my mom was younger, she worked in a jewellery store and would tell me how fascinating the process of turning gold into jewellery was. The goldsmith understands that gold needs fire to reveal its beauty. He heats and beats the metal, putting it through several arduous processes until the inherent beauty shines through and is converted into jewellery.
A lot of things have to pass through strenuous processes for their beauty to come out. Raw rice is only good for putting your phone in when it touches water. It requires cooking to become edible and the main ingredient in delicious meals. Caterpillars hide in cocoons for weeks till they become butterflies. Do you ever think about how it must feel to go weeks without eating? A caterpillar, known for its ravenous appetite, wrapping itself in a cocoon without food??? That’s so crazy.
I’ve been thinking about these analogies in relation to adulthood, and how easy it is to sit still and avoid discomfort. To exist in a raw state. Discomfort could look like so many things: getting a new haircut, starting a podcast, exploring a career path, speaking back at an older person that is condescending to you, wearing outfits you normally wouldn’t wear, confessing your feelings to a friend you’ve liked for years, creating an online community, leaving a relationship that doesn’t benefit you, etc. It is so easy not to do any of these things because as humans we naturally seek the path of least resistance. We love to be comfortable, we love ease, and doing things that would make us uncomfortable inspires feelings of anxiety and fear.
Sometimes you don’t even register how your desire for comfort is holding you back. You know your partner isn’t good for you; they constantly make you feel like shit, but you’re afraid of being lonely or mocked by your acquaintances if you break up with them, so you stay. You want to be a baddie, you want to dress with confidence and feel sexy, but you are afraid of feeling silly or getting teased by your friends so you don’t explore new styles. You have a lot of ideas you would like to share, but you don’t want people to think: ‘what is she doing?” So you ditch your writing dreams and settle.
And then you wonder why you’re so disenchanted with life, and why you feel a twinge of sadness when you see people do the things you would like to do.
I used to hold onto the little box I had created for myself because I didn’t like uncertainty. It scared me when things didn’t go the way I planned in my head. But I wanted more from life. I was tired of going through the motions. I didn’t feel like I was growing as an individual. Sure, I knew so much in theory, but I wasn’t applying much of what I was learning. I had to ask myself: “Treasure, what do you really want? Do you want to just get by, like everyone else? Or do you want to truly live?”
I realised a few things:
There is no such thing as true security. Life is full of surprises and you don’t know what would happen tomorrow. If you stay indoors all day because you’re scared of trouble, whatever you’re avoiding outside will come and find you. One of my biggest fears as a child was stray bullets because I heard stories of people sleeping at home and bullets landing on their pillows. The imagery jarrs me to this day. You can try, but you cannot truly protect yourself from life.
Sometimes our desire for comfort stems from a fear of regret, which again is something one cannot truly escape from. Life always gives us choices and a path taken is another path ignored. There will always be regrets, you just have to pick which ones you’d feel comfortable thinking about on your deathbed. Would you think, I wish I lived more? Or would you be happy that you didn’t stir waters? I highly doubt it.
The feelings of comfort and familiar discomfort are very similar. Living in Nigeria makes this easier to understand. We have a bad quality of life here, but we’ve gotten so used to it that we keep voting for the same leaders. There’s no light so we adjust by investing in generators and inverters. The roads are bad so we curse the government as we try our best to navigate them. The economy is bad so we juggle 3-4 jobs. We’re uncomfortable quite alright, but we’re so used to our discomfort that it feels like comfort. This is also why people find it difficult to leave abusive relationships. Sometimes our fear of change is greater than our discomfort. But why is it this way?
I don’t have all the answers, human psychology is a terribly complex thing. But I do know that the way I think improved once I decided I was tired of being “just there.” I knew that even though the things I wanted to do, like writing this newsletter, would make me feel very uncomfortable, I would be happier in the long run by doing them. Life isn’t about being certain, it’s about doing things that make your heart thud violently against your ribcage. It’s about discovering new facets of yourself and letting go of the dead weight that you've grown comfortable having around. I never want to settle so I have to constantly challenge myself because I want to see all there is to see before the lights go out.
What about you?
On Media I consumed this week:
I watched The Gray Man. It’s a Netflix movie featuring Chris Evans, Ryan Gosling and my bae, Ana de Armas. It also had the duke from Bridgerton (btw is it just me that got distracted by his beautiful face and later realised he isn’t quite the actor?). The best part of the movie was Chris Evans’ character. He was sardonic and bratty, the best kind of villain in my opinion.
I watched this ted talk by my other bae, Steve Lacy, about starting with what you have. I think it’s a really good video for perfectionist junkies like me (and you, maybe).
This interview with Adia Sowho, the Chief Marketing Officer of MTN is one of the best interviews I have ever watched in my life. I learned so much about confidence, and what scaling up a career ladder might look like for ambitious young women. It’s full of valuable life advice on confidence, self-care, and multitasking. Really good stuff.
I read this article on asking for help, which is something I really struggle with as the first daughter in a Nigerian household. LOL. I’m learning that it is okay to have people take care of me. I am a sweet babe, and I deserve all the love and support available to me.
I listened to this podcast that gives young people a space to share their experiences. I really liked this episode on living a double life, something we can probably relate to as 20-something-year-olds with parents that think differently from us. There are many more stories like this one in the episodes that I think will resonate with you.
The artist of the week remains Beyonce. #SorryNotSorry. Church girl has me on a chokehold. Come back next week, maybe I would have been released from my Renaissancemania.
Thank you so much for reading this week’s newsletter. I would like to know how it made you feel. Tell me one thing that makes you feel uncomfortable but which you’d like to do. Then do it. You absolutely have to. I’m rooting for you. Till next week, same time same place. xoxo.
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