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Finding comfort in relaxation

If I were to find a common theme that connected all of my clients, I would choose the theme of comfort. Whether suffering from depression, an illness, or various kinds of unwanted behavior, all of them feel discomfort, as well as some form of pain - emotional or physical.

Compared to any other time in history, we live in great comfort. Even with food shortages, there is no starvation. In fact, a large percentage of Americans - 48% - are obese – implying too much food, too little exercise, and too much sitting around… in comfort. So why is it that so many people feel discomfort and have so much trouble comforting themselves, when the fact is they appear to suffer from too much comfort?

Why do I feel depressed when all appears well?

One reason, of course, is expectation. Because we have only enjoyed a few generations of this kind of physical prosperity, we still think of ourselves as needing to finish all the food on the plate, for fear we won't have food tomorrow. We need to rest, rather than tire ourselves out. We expect to have children and own a house before a certain age. We expect job security. We expect our parents to love us in the way that we want them to love us. We expect our children to outlive us.

When our expectations aren't met, we feel pain and disappointment. So, why don't we drop them when they aren't realized? The answer is that expectations give us comfort, and they also give us hope. Our expectations are what drive us to do the things we do. The trouble is that because they are expectations, rather than dreams or ambitions, they really belong to a pest. If we want things to change in our lives, we need to be projecting what we want in the future.