Comfortably Numb

The child is grown. The dream is gone. I have become comfortably numb.” Roger Waters

It happens slowly – so slowly that most of us don’t even notice.  After years of disappointment and unexpected life events, we wake up feeling somewhat numb. And despite our sense of dissatisfaction with our lives, we comfortably settle into patterns and routines that help us avoid what we might really be feeling. Indeed, for many of us, numbing might start out as a simple tactic to avoid pain in the moment, but over time, grows into a habit that keeps us from really looking at our lives. We watch TV, drink wine, help others or over-exercise even - just to avoid looking at the condition of our lives. We even may derive pleasure from some of the habits we engage in; which is why we ultimately become comfortable in our numbness. Yet, underneath the surface, we all probably know that we are simply avoiding – trying to get away from the reality that our dreams may have fallen away with our childhood. We blame responsibility and adulthood, but we have likely given up on our dreams and have determined that maybe, they were silly after all. The truth is, though, a life without dreams is a life that feels – well, a little empty. We have to learn that sometimes, being comfortably numb is the reason we are stuck. It is only when we have the courage to let ourselves feel that we may begin to see where changes need to be made and opportunities to dream can again become a reality.

Weekly Path to Peace: Step out of your comfortable numbness.

  • So, where and how do you numb? Begin this week by simply recognizing all the different ways you numb. Some ways might be more obvious, such as over-eating, working too much or drinking, but other ways may be subtle: helping others, keeping things orderly, fantasizing, surfing the web or playing games on your phone. Write all of them out.
  • Make a commitment to let go of at least one of the ways that you numb this week. Whenever you are tempted to engage in a numbing activity, simply write down what you are feeling in this moment. What discomfort are you feeling? What are you angry or afraid of? Spend at least five to fifteen minutes journaling each time.