Finding the balance between familiarity and something new
As human beings, we like the familiar. We like certainty. We like to be comfortable. It makes us feel safe. But is this always helpful? Are we doing ourselves any favours by sticking with the familiar, or do we need to leave this certainty behind in order to grow? We’ve all heard of growing pains, but are we willing to accept these pains and move on from the familiar?
In order to be able to grow, we need to move away from this certainty that we so desire. However, we need to understand why we crave certainty so much. When things are certain, we go back to them: we continue to do things that give us certain and familiar outcomes. This certainty brings us comfort, and this comfort becomes familiar. Then the action becomes familiar because we keep doing it because we find it comforting and we get stuck in a cycle. But for us to grow as much as we can, we need to be able to break this cycle.
We often avoid breaking this cycle because we want to avoid potential pain. We can never be certain about the future, and that’s scary. We have to take risks so that we can grow. While it may be so much easier to just stick with the familiar and certainty, we will never grow if we do this. We will never be able to grow into the people that we have the potential to be. We need to accept these growing pains and let ourselves grow and embrace the unknown, no matter how scary it may be.
Sticking with the familiar feels safe, comfortable and certain. But is this healthy? Quite often, what feels familiar is not healthy for us, whether it be something such as re-reading the same books or something such as staying in an abusive relationship. What is familiar is not always good for us, and we need to be able to leave the familiar behind so that we can grow. These familiar things can become habits, even if we know that they aren’t healthy for us.
While it can be so hard to break these habits, especially if we are stuck in a cycle, just being able to recognise these habits is the first step. Recognising that what may have once been the comfortable familiar has become an unhealthy habit can begin the process of moving away from the familiar and certainty and beginning to grow.
One thing we can do is begin to look for this sense of comfort, these familiar feelings, somewhere else. Due to the current global situation, this is something that many of us have been forced to do. We now have time to really look at the habits that we have, the routines that we have made, and understand why we do these familiar things. Now that we are unable to stick with the familiar, we can look at why we stick with this certainty. What is the feeling that it gives us? Can we find this familiar feeling in something healthier?
We have a choice when it comes to seeking the familiar and the comfortable; we can choose to seek this familiar feeling in more helpful places. As a species, human beings have a fear of the unknown. But if we move on from comfortable and certain places, we can find familiar feelings in new places and continue to grow as people.