Comfortably Unhappy

Comfortably Unhappy #1 – Comfort „Comfort“ can connote „better than standard“, „sophisticated“: the comfort line of a car model, comfort rooms in a hotel etc. „Comfort“, however, as used in the term „comfortably unhappy“ stands for „familiar“ describing what I see as a widespread phenomenon in German culture – the two meanings can go together but don´t necessarily have to. I often experience that once the necessities of life are covered, a surprising level of unhappiness is (most often unconsciously) accepted in return for the respective inner and outer environment remaining familiar. This can take on many forms such as staying in a boring, overly stressful and/or meaningless job, in estranged or even toxic relationships, a stressful living environment etc. Similarly within: beliefs and thought patterns proven to not serve any good are un- or subconsciously held up because they are familiar and thus do not challenge us to leave our comfort zone – most of us know that not only from our environments but also from ourselves. Change and innovation, however, can only happen outside the familiar, the known, which makes comfortable unhappiness its biggest adversary. (Rikke Wittich)

Comfortably Unhappy #2 – (Un)Happiness Sonja Lyubomirsky, a positive psychology researcher, defines happiness as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive wellbeing, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.” In my work, I most often encounter a lack of meaning as the biggest stressor for individuals leading them to retire into comfortable unhappiness. Meaning as THE decisive factor for motivation has been well-researched showing that meaning can neither be prescribed nor generated by one person alone but only in conjunction with others. It takes motivation to leave the comfort zone, to venture into the unknown, to innovate – the lever is what happens to also be a major factor in happiness: meaning generated by unique individuals pooling together to work towards something greater which can only be created by a collective. In my perception, that´s exactly what the Bruderhof, providing an exceptionally beautiful surrounding for societal innovators thinking and meeting outside the box, is all about – let´s network, pool thoughts and expertise, continue and enjoy the journey! (Rike Wittich)

Own Experience #4 In 2012 I moved out of my comfort zone and first became self-employed, later an entrepreneur. For me the absolutely right, even often not always easy move. From this moment on, I have encouraged people to at least think about their often comfortably unhappy situation. I recognized that with Corona, more senior people started to think about their situation and approached me, also because they knew about the Bruderhof project. It seems as if something is going on… With the Bruderhof project, which is also a huge, sometimes uncomfortable endeavor for us, we have the opportunity to tell our story, provide a great space for innovation, and creativity, for giving something back to the community, meeting great people, and building deep relationships to move things forward – not in theory, but in practice, aiming to motivate and empower others. If you are interested in the story and in the Bruderhof ecosystem, get in touch with me or ambassadors like Rike or Justin. This journey, meeting great people, and discussing new ideas and opportunities, has been extremely inspiring! We have repeatedly felt the „magic“ of this venture, generated by the people joining us on this outstanding journey. (Uwe Zell)

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