Give Up on Giving Up
Everyone has a bubble.
This is your comfort zone.
It may be a ring of familiar desires, routine, habits and maybe an inner circle of people you feel particularly close to.
Bubbles feel nice.
They protect us from the scary unknown. Yet for all their good qualities, there is one big downside: their outer boundaries are based on fear.
Fear can be a practical signal like: ‘Your stove/house/pants are on fire’, but not all fear is valid. Over-reaction in response to imagined fears can limit you from reaching your full potential.
Moving inside the bubble, people are kind of like onions.
Layers are built upon layers; childhood, upbringing, family, culture, education, past experiences melding together with time. These layers may protect or modify your core sense of self.
I like to imagine that within each of our bubbles sits a ‘comfort blob’. The comfort blob spews out comforting lies. It’s the weary and jaded voice that tells you that whatever you do “doesn’t matter”.
Why care about anything?
Apathy is easy. Staying kind and warm in a world that breeds chaos and negativity is hard.
This blob drags us down whenever we face a new trial. It’s like being trapped in a sludge. You’re fighting and trying and changing but it’s a daily struggle. Though deep down, you know there’s lots of opportunities outside of your bubble, you keep stumbling into the same old bad habits.
Bubbles can be formed by relationships. Positive relationships inspire us to go beyond our imagined limitations. Negative relationship might drag us down to doubt our sense of self-worth.
But no matter how you feel about other people, we are drawn toward meaningful connections. While our lives may be deeply interwoven during moments of pain, we are still individuals.
For introverts, you may have a smaller social battery. You don’t need as much time around other people to feel energized. Time spent around others drain your battery, so you need alone time to ‘recharge’. For extroverts, being around other people is energizing and you may seek it out. This doesn’t mean you never feel a need to be alone but that you can spend far more time with others without feeling exhausted.
On other people’s bubbles
Empathy allows us to see that another person isn’t a wandering NPC but a fellow human being with their own set of issues. They live in their bubble, you live in yours.
They are equally deserving of the compassion you give yourself when you mess up. Consider all the times you justified how you behaved because of the situation. How often do you show that level of compassion to others?
There is no ‘standing still’ but a steady current of daily life pushing you toward some direction.
Whether that current is culture, societal pressure, your inner voice — that wave shapes you unless you remain aware. Age makes us become caricatures of ourselves. Are you becoming more like the person you choose to be vs. the person you should be or ought to be?
You are the one that needs to take that first step: both inside and outside of work. Endless fixation on your present self and insurmountable challenges isn’t wise. As long as you’re alive, you’ve got options.
Give up on giving up.