Are You Comfortable in Your Cage or is it Time to Fly Free?

Diane Wing

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by Diane Wing, M.A.

Feeling restricted is a good indication that you’ve built a cage for yourself. Blaming it on circumstances and the way others have held you back exonerates you from taking responsibility for creating the situation. Saying that your employer, your parents, your children, your significant other, or the lack you feel financially have built the walls you hide behind. These relationships and circumstances reflect how you feel about yourself and your beliefs about what is possible.

In some ways, there is comfort in self-imposed confinement. It provides an excuse for not pursuing worthwhile goals or expanding beyond the outmoded ideas you’ve grown fond of. Change can be scary, and the cage has protective elements that allow you to stay comfortable in your discomfort.

The bars are made-up of limiting beliefs, self-criticism, regret, fear, doubt, or a combination of these. The door is built from behaviors and decisions that keep you locked in. There are times when hiding behind the bars, claiming restriction, and complaining that there is no key to get out feels safer than reaching through the bars and unlocking the door. Stepping out of the cage opens up too many possibilities and the changes are unpredictable and frightening.

Measuring the level of dissatisfaction you feel is the indicator of whether or not it is time to take action and break out of the cage. Rate your level of discomfort from zero to five as you consider these questions, zero being no discomfort, one being mild discomfort, and five representing intense anxiety or discontent. Discomfort is defined as being tense, experiencing mental pain, or distress.

  1. Relationships: When you think of your most important personal relationships, what level of discomfort do you feel? Rate each one separately to get more detail on which one needs to change the most.
  2. Situation: Think about your present life. How uncomfortable do you feel with the way things are going in general?
  3. Work: When you think about your job or your work, is it what you envisioned for yourself? What level of discomfort do you associate with how you feel when you’re at work or performing your job?
  4. Self:  Consider who you are and your nature. Separately rate the level of discomfort for how you feel about the choices you’ve made, the way you feel about yourself, the behaviors and habits you display, and the kind of person you are versus how you want to be.

The aspect of your life that you rate as the highest level of discomfort is the one to focus on to make a significant change.

If you scored between zero and two, then it’s likely you don’t need to make adjustments or make very minimal changes. You’re basically content regardless of the circumstances and whether or not you choose to complain about it. If you scored low and often complain about your life, your situation, or the people in it, then you have successfully created a cage of comfortable discomfort that is unlikely to change. The continuous loop of complaining and then giving up and not taking action is likely prevalent.
If you scored between three and five on any aspect, then it’s time for a change and you’re more likely to succeed at creating the life you want. When the discomfort gets to the point where it takes over your thoughts and actions and anger and anxiety rule your life, then you are likely at the point of making the decision to make a significant change and break free of the cage. Do a deeper dive into what prevents you from making the necessary changes. List the things that, if modified, would make the biggest difference in attaining fulfillment, peace, and contentment.

What could you do with this newfound freedom? It’s your choice and a chance to have the peace and joy you’ve been waiting for. There is no need to wait. You have the power to unlock the cage door and to fly free!

If you feel you’re ready to move forward but don’t know where to start, contact me by clicking here to see how we can work together to overcome obstacles to change and help you reach your potential.

Copyright Diane Wing, all rights reserved

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