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"The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance." - Alan Watts
The comfort zone.
Those three words that you're undoubtedly familiar with, your safe place, your home.
Breaking out of your comfort zone. Leaving your comfort zone.
Sounds scary, right? Immediate sense of panic going through your body right now thinking about it?
You're not alone!
I have been that person before. In fact, I've been that person the majority of my life. No matter the situation, context, people involved, challenge, big or small, I have wasted far too much of my time being afraid of the unknown.
It's not an easy thing to overcome. Obviously, having a sense of self-confidence helps, but most likely, that self-confidence is only held in where you are right now. Where you currently are in your life - you're comfortable with the way things are, you've adjusted, you like it this way - or so you think.
That's what I always used to think. For years, I've lived my life trying to be safe - not taking risks, not doing things that I think would be too much for me to handle, anything that seemed too big for me to take on. I've always realised that I had a slight problem with leaving my comfort zone, but rather than doing anything to tackle it and taking action, I've often just silently acknowledged it, brushed it to the side and pretended that it's not having as much of a negative impact on me or my life as I think it is.
"The comfort zone must be good. It wouldn't be called the comfort zone for no reason". I would think along those lines. Almost as if I was trying to find some justifiable excuse as to why I have remained in this same place for so long.
And by my comfort zone, I mean a whole range of things. It could be something as simple as talking to someone new, giving my opinion in class, saying 'no' to something I didn't want to do, saying 'yes' to something I really wanted to do but worried I would mess up or something terrible would happen - anything like that. I'm sure we've all been there - regretted a chance we didn't take because we were too damn scared to take a chance at the time. Too scared because we thought it wasn't the right time, or the right place, or we weren't ready, or insert every excuse in the book here.
But, whether we choose to acknowledge the comfort zone as something good, or something bad that we choose to do nothing about, we must ask ourselves this question.
What is so exciting about the comfort zone?
Why am I so reluctant to leave?
The comfort zone is boring. Nothing new ever happens here. Sure, you're comfortable, you're not doing anything that makes you scared or gives you a brief sense of uncertainty, but where did this obsession for everything to be certain and set in stone come from? Where is the fun in that?
Things change when we do new things. Sometimes, yes, these changes are scary. They can be terrifying. They can make us feel sick to our stomach, up to our knees with worry and dread, petrified of the outcome of our actions that we have no control over.
But you know what? That's the best part. Having no control over every single situation in our lives sets us free.
Amazing things happen sometimes when we have no control over what will happen. Amazing things can happen when we take chances, when we finally do that thing we've dreamt of for so long but never even imagined we could pull off or get through. Incredible, life changing, miraculous things happen when we pluck up the courage to jump over those walls we've set for ourselves and finally leave that comfort zone for good.
I have completely realised this from personal experience, and personal experience alone. I didn't read any blog post prior to this about leaving my comfort zone, I didn't look for practical tips on how to do it - I have just been victim to living in it for so long I've eventually cracked and realised it is no longer any way to live.
And in a way, I believe there are no 'practical tips' on leaving your comfort zone. Sure, it's likely that some things could help you get there one day, maybe there are ways to make the idea of it less uncomfortable, but isn't that the whole point of leaving it?
The area outside of your comfort zone isn't supposed to be comfortable! We all, myself included, need to get this idea out of our heads that comfy is good, because in this context, it certainly isn't. Just remind yourself of all those times you've not done something because you were afraid of the outcome, the feelings, the emotions you would experience. And I'll bet you anything, you've regretted it more than anything you have done before.
And that's because, you know deep down, that good things could have happened from that decision. Good things could have happened just as equally as bad things could have happened. And that's the thing - we will never know how things are going to turn out, we are vulnerable to that open possibility that some things will work in our favour and some things won't, but let me tell you that no matter the outcome, good or bad, it will be worth it.
I still have a long way to go, but I'm not going to give up convincing myself either. You don't need me to tell you all this, to tell you what to do, because you already know. Your personal experiences will, if not now, eventually push you to break out of your comfort barriers for good. You'll realise what you've been missing out on, just like I did.
Now, I consistently push myself everyday to do things, that at first, aren't physically comfortable or appealing to me. Stuff that I generally know will be good for me if I did decide to do, stuff where there's a possibility something great could happen, no matter how scary or intimidating it may seem to me at the time. I've been doing it already with certain things, and I can assure you - it feels so good.
I've been getting myself out there, expressing myself to the world and working at no longer being afraid of how the world will react to me. And I challenge you to do the same.
It can be something huge, like asking that girl to marry you, taking that scary looking management job position, moving abroad all on your own. Or something simple, like smiling at a stranger, starting your own book/blog, initiating a conversation with someone you like - I did this particular one recently, and hell am I glad I did. I spent a good ten minutes thinking about what they would think of me, whether I would be rejected, worrying about the outcome etc. But guess what? It went fine. It went well.
And the great thing is, I've no doubt opened a whole lot of possibilities for myself from that simple action alone.
No matter how big or small, I'm sure you can think of something that you want to do, or something you've been putting off that you know you should do.
Even if it doesn't go exactly as you expected, at least you can say you tried. That's all that counts. You are capable of so much more than you think, and it's you who can break down those walls to unlock the true potential of who you're meant to be and what your life could become.
After all - the only real failure lies in failing to try.
My blog: Emilicia Style
A fashion and beauty blogger - follow for my daily ramblings, beauty tips and personal style!