I take comfort in a warm cup of coffee on a cool fall day. In throwing on a well worn sweatshirt to cover up my insecurities. In talking with my mom about my hopes, my fears, my worries. In listening to Emily Haines and zoning out to the eretheral melodies of her piano. In a soothing yoga podcast, comfortable in downward dog. Even in cruising the aisles of a grocery store, gathering endless possibilities. There are plenty of things in which I take comfort.
Though the specifics might vary from person to person, everybody has certain things to which they return, time after time, to seek comfort, warmth and joy. We need these things to be able to navigate life’s more trying times, to be able to rise above the things that are too confusing or horrible to understand. If you think about it, much of human interaction is centered around the seeking of comfort: comfort food, comfortable clothing, comforting friendships.
No matter how you define comfort, the fact remains that we are hard wired to avoid conflict and turmoil. When faced with these negative things, the options are fight or flight. The flight response lends itself quite easily to my hypothesis, when you look at the direction of the flight: away from conflict, toward comfort. Less obviously, the fight response, too, reflects a desire to be comforted. Fighting the system, “the man”, or the emotion might work in the short term, but I’d argue that sooner or later the fighter too would seek a more comfortable place. Given, the more pyschopathic might actually be comfortable in a place of anger and hate. But comfort is comfort, and most of us will go out of our ways to seek it.
Nowhere do I see the tendency to seek comfort more clearly than with my little puppy. Despite many toys strewn about the living room floor, the fuzz ball whines at me until I either play with her or put her on my lap while I type. And here I sit, lap warmed by golden Hope, experiencing a reciprocal form of comfort.
Whether your comfort is mom’s macaroni and cheese or a fireplace and a good book, the image of comfort endears us. So lets gravitate to comfort, and give in to the pull of that comfy sweater in the closet.