Anxiety and The Myth of Staying With What You Know

Thoughts on a Greek Island

Travelling across the Greek Island of Evia on holiday, I noticed fish farms along the coastline… circular pens of fish contained within a wider sea.

The enclosures got me thinking of how most of us like to stay comfortable with what we know in our lives.

On the one hand, the unknown can create feelings of anxiety, can’t it? It can feel safer to stay with what we know. I often hear my clients say that their world has become very small… a bit like those fish.

Yet on the other hand, staying with what you know can over time, create stagnation – and you may perhaps bury your frustrations as you inwardly question how amazing a change could be, if only you were brave enough to venture away from the familiar.

Just like the fish being contained in a farm within an enclosed space, perhaps you restrict yourself to the familiar world of what you know? Do you do this, I wonder, in order to avoid those uncomfortable feelings of self-doubt and anxiety which surface when you swim out into unknown water?

Have you ever considered that the comfort you experience, is possibly superficial, because it keeps you away from a wider sea of opportunity and a chance of real happiness in your life?

As humans, we are designed to continue to grow emotionally and intellectually.

Of course, those fish won’t know about life outside their pens. If they did, how wonderful do you suppose it would be for them to swim freely in an open sea? It’s the stuff of films, isn’t it?!

Staying contained within your ‘pen of familiarity’ is like staying contained within that ‘safe comfort zone of discontent’ in your life. You hold yourself back safely from any opportunity to grow, but then feel frustrated and stagnant as a result. The ‘pen’ you confine yourself to, restricts and limits your ability to grow beyond the environment you find yourself caught up in.

You stay small in the short game of your life, perhaps even controlled by circumstance or by others who determine your fate.

How might it be for you to swim in a wider open sea? Trust me when I tell you that you do have the power and the resources within you to break away from the self-imposed restrictions you are currently living with.  I know this because I have done it in my life – and if I can, you can too.

It is your thoughts and what you are choosing to believe right now about yourself and your abilities, which keep you contained within a safe comfort zone of discontent.  From my heart to yours, don’t let opportunities pass you by – take steps to seek the right support to strengthen your mindset, and find your courage.  Your future self will thank you when you do, and you won’t look back.

You have the luxury of a choice that those Greek fish don’t get…YOU CAN leave your pen and swim out into that wider sea. The moment you realise that your thoughts and beliefs are the barriers (the confines) that you alone have created, you make it possible for yourself to swim freely.

So, let me ask you… what are you holding yourself back from doing today?

I hope this inspires and encourages you today to embrace change and live your life fully – because just like me, you are worth it!


Lisa Skeffington Help for Anxiety

Lisa Skeffington


Lisa Skeffington

Anxiety Expert – Anxiety Help Bournemouth & Christchurch, UK
Support Nationally and Internationally In-Person and Online


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *