I teach a course, “Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone.” I take clients through reflection and learning and exercises that are designed to stretch them and push them out of their comfort zone. I teach it, therefore I must believe it.
And I do, but still I find that I fight it, at times, at least as much as my most resistant clients. I think it’s basic human nature to prefer what we know and feel safe with.
I believe that getting out of my comfort zone is important. I believe it is a way to grow. I believe that life exists with more beauty and fun when I lovingly push myself. I believe it’s vital, in fact, to a full and filling life. So why is it so hard?
I can be a huge creature of habit. As much as I like to be (or like to appear to be) spontaneous and outrageous, I gravitate towards routine and structure. I think it reinforces my, albeit false, sense of control. And even when I want people to think I’m wild and free, I worry about what they will think as I try something new. And I love the comfort of what I know. It’s comfortable.
But I’ve learned that my greatest growth and joy comes from incorporating the new into my life. From trying new things. From experimenting with new ideas. From playing with new ways to approach life, and people, and myself. And I know that every new behavior and choice can feel challenging at first. Nearly every yoga pose is awkward until my body learns it. Every new exercise – physical, spiritual and mental – is uncomfortable until I’m used to it. Every new thought pattern, outlook, and action can be difficult in the beginning.
Besides, many of my old ways were built during my past – when my mind was reacting to some nasty input and trying to control my surroundings (and myself) so that life wouldn’t seem so scary. My old habits were a response to the terror I felt as life shifted around me – my pain at my mom leaving, my confusion within the Church, the fears I lived with as I lived with Danny. This in and of itself should be enough incentive to push me past my comfort zone and see what’s out there.
To get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
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