Right now, we’re all staying pretty comfy. I would be lying if I said I didn’t show up to school in pajamas every day. I mean, what else can you do when you’re stuck at home besides amass a 50-piece loungewear collection?
Being physically comfortable is great; it brings a sense of coziness and warmth that we’re definitely missing in the real world right now. And who wouldn’t want to live their life covered in layers of fluff?
But there’s another kind of comfortable that can be dangerous if left unchecked. The kind where we cozy up in our own little personal bubble because it’s safe. The kind where we forget that other people aren’t like us because it’s easy. And the kind where we become complacent with society’s harmful norms because it’s just less complicated that way.
It’s great to be comfortable, if you’re talking about pulling on some fuzzy socks and grabbing a cup of tea. But ignoring key issues because they “don’t apply” is not the same as hiding under your favorite blanket.
We all crave mental comfort. It’s what humans do. It makes us feel happy, and calm, and safe. But sometimes we get too comfortable. We ignore things because we have the privilege not to care. We stop checking in because it’s easier to assume that everyone is fine. We don’t have the hard conversations because it feels better to stay put in the comfy walls of our own heads.
Now, you may be thinking, what’s the point? Why make ourselves uncomfortable when it isn’t going to feel good? Why take away the ease and security of staying within in our own minds?
My answer is simple: to create change.
To spark positive change, you have to leave your cozy little bubble. You have to face people and things that are hard and intimidating. You have to put yourself to the side and have empathy for the people around you. And doing that’s uncomfortable. Recognizing other’s people’s pain will often hurt you, too. But that uncomfortable feeling is what allows us to connect with each other. It’s what motivates us to support each other through our struggles. It’s what teaches us to feel empathy, which in turn motivates us to act with compassion. It’s what inspires us to fight for issues we wouldn’t have otherwise cared about because we can see ourselves in the people who are affected by them. Being uncomfortable is how we create positive change. It’s necessary, whether we like it or not.
A few days ago, I created an Instagram page for this blog. For me, this was a very uncomfortable thing to do. I didn’t want people to see me, or judge me, or think of me differently after learning about my disease. And yet, I did it, not because I wanted to feel uncomfortable, but because I knew that being uncomfortable was the first step to creating change.
If I want to change the way chronic illness and disability are viewed by society, I’m going to have to put myself in an uncomfortable position. If I want to teach people what IBD is like, I’m going to have to be vulnerable. And if I want to combat the ableism that is so harmful in our society today, I’m going to have to ask some tough questions.
To spark change in areas that we care about, we have to tear down our walls. We have to let people in. We have to start the conversations we don’t want to have, and ask for the help we don’t want to need. To spread awareness, we have to be vulnerable. We have to open up and be willing to do things that feel a little awkward. We have to be uncomfortable. And that’s okay.
So when you can, start the conversation. Ask the question. Make the statement. And most importantly, don’t get too comfortable.