Enter the cave: get uncomfortable to get what you want

Every once in awhile it seems there’s something (a quote, a photo, an article, something a friend says…) that strikes you just right and sticks with you. Today I’d like to write about one of those things. Every week I hang a quote of the week in our waiting area. A few months ago I found a quote that struck me just right, so I’ve left that quote in the template ever since. That means that every week when I pick out a new quote to print I get to be reminded of the old quote. Every week it seems important to me, but this morning it really jumped. What is the quote, you ask? Here you go:

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” ~Joseph Campbell

It is uncomfortable to enter the cave.

It is uncomfortable to enter the cave.

The treasure you seek. Sounds nice, right?! Wouldn’t we all like some treasure? Maybe our treasure is a happy marriage, an end to family conflict, feeling self-confidence, getting over anxiety. Something we’d like to have in our lives but don’t have yet. Wouldn’t it be great to get that treasure we seek? Yup! Let’s do it!

So, what do I need to do to get this treasure? Enter a cave? A cave I fear to enter? Um… hmm. Maybe I don’t want that treasure so much. Are you sure it is in there?…

See, the thing about caves is that they’re dark and scary. There might be monsters hiding in them. We can’t be sure that there’s actually a way out of the cave. And if we don’t like it, well, we’ve already walked down into it – what then? What if the treasure isn’t there like promised? We don’t know what to expect if we walk into that cave.

Maybe we can live without that treasure. I mean, life is pretty good right here! If there’s an elephant in the room with your spouse or family, well, he fits in, right? And actually, this job might just grow into everything I want. Maybe my partner and I will stumble across the treasure in the middle of the living room! And I don’t mind always picking that friend up when he’s drunk. Or maybe if we stuff this worry over in that corner it won’t bother us anymore…

What I’m trying to say is that sticking with what we know, staying in the place where we’re comfortable, isn’t likely to get us new and different results. If we want a treasure we don’t have, we’ll have to do something different to get it. Sometimes we get used to a place and we tell ourselves “oh this place is great, why would I ever want to leave this place” even though we know we’re not totally happy. Sometimes we look around at other options and decide that the risk seems greater than the reward – we’ll just stay here where it is comfortable! Sometimes we look at ourselves and see that we aren’t everything we want to be and then make small gestures towards change – safe gestures that won’t actually make us leave our safe place. It is tough to leave comfort!

I’m not saying that we always need to be improving and changing – that would be exhausting if we could never rest in one comfortable place! But I am saying if we haven’t challenged ourselves to grow lately, if we’ve been in the same comfortable place for awhile and we have something nagging in our ear, well, we might just be accepting less than we could be.

What might entering the cave mean? It could mean telling your spouse about that thing that’s been bothering you. Or telling your partner about the new thing you want to try together. It could be addressing the elephant in the room with your family, instead of pretending nothing is wrong. It could mean stopping enabling someone you care about. It could mean examining that part of yourself that you don’t totally love. It probably means taking an “okay” situation and destabilizing it in the hopes of making it better – addressing a problem head on that you’d rather just ignore. Entering the cave will be uncomfortable. You won’t know for sure what monsters live down there. But you’ll also know that nothing will really change until you walk down into that cave.

So, what treasure is it that you want? Are you willing to get uncomfortable to get it? Are you willing to walk down into that cave? We know it is difficult to leave comfort. Our counselors at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando are ready to enter the cave with you, to help keep you accountable, to challenge you to keep moving, and to stand with you when there are monsters. Whether you’d like to work on family counseling with Cindy Fabico or Dr. Melissa Rojas, marriage counseling or couples counseling with Cindy Fabico or Risa Bos, or individual counseling with Amy Smith or Summer Katz, we have a counselor who can meet you at the entrance to your cave. Give us a call at 407-355-7378 to get started with a free phone consultation.

Hoping you’ll risk for reward, Krista Bringley