Julie Nelligan PhD | Having the Comfortable Life
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Having the Comfortable Life

I was bingeing on “The Good Wife” and a scene between Alicia Florrick and Rose, Peter Florrick’s campaign manager, struck me. Hard.

Alicia asked Rose if she ever wondered what would have happened if she made a different choice. Rose said it wouldn’t have mattered; Alicia would have ended up in the same place or in a place much like the one she is in now. Alicia wondered what life was all about. Rose answered that when you get to a place where you wonder what life is about, you have stumbled upon a Truth.

And right there, in the middle of bingeing on a television drama, watching an inconsequential dialog, I realized that the thing I’ve been searching for, even when I didn’t realize what I was searching for, was not what I need.

What have I been searching for? Good question.

I always wanted to be right because feeling right felt smart and that felt good; I got approval. I always wanted to have money, because having money made life easier and that felt good; it’s a different kind of approval. I always wanted to help people feel better because it feels really good when other people feel better and you helped them feel that way; yet, again, more approval.

So, was I seeking approval? Maybe. But, that’s not quite right.

I’ve been seeking a comfortable life. It’s hard for me to be comfortable if people don’t approve of me. But, if they approve, it feels like I’ve done the right thing.

I say it “feels like” because when I do something that others approve of, they are more comfortable and then I am more comfortable, I relax. Oh Boy! That feels really good!

But, the kicker is feeling comfortable is not what I need.

As I sat there listening to Alicia and Rose, I realized that wondering what life is all about is uncomfortable. And, uncomfortable is where we all need to get to if we want some measure of truth about life.

I need a meaningful life. I need a life that makes a difference to me, to others, to my world. I know this for a fact.

If I’m not paying attention, I will end up living a comfortable life, regardless of the choices I make. Because, without awareness, my choices will lead to a place of decreased uncertainty and increased comfort.

If I am going to live a meaningful life, it isn’t about being comfortable. It’s about facing discomfort and uncertainty.

It’s about having discipline and conviction. It’s about rattling people out of complacency, even if they don’t like me as a result. It’s about doing things I don’t feel like doing or feel uncomfortable doing so I can make a difference and instill meaning.

It means that if I am comfortable, I may not be living my best life.

Crap! So much for binge watching television!

Julie
julie.nelligan@gmail.com
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