A lesson I learned the hard way
I’ve been doing a lot of new things this year. New things take us outside of our comfort zone. This can be fun and exciting. It can also be scary.
When something is new there are unknowns. We’re comfortable with what we know. Unknowns cause anxiety.
Still, leaving our comfort zone is a good thing. Every time we leave our comfort zone we have an opportunity to grow. There are many quotes about the benefits of leaving our comfort zone.
But we need our comfort zone just as much as we need to leave it. I’ll show you how they go together.
THINGS THEY SAY
- If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone. — John C. Maxwell
- You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone. ― Roy T. Bennett
- I’m continually trying to make choices that put me against my own comfort zone. As long as you’re uncomfortable, it means you’re growing. — Ashton Kutcher
- Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new. — Brian Tracy
These words lead us to believe we need to abandon our comfort zone. They suggest we must live continuously outside of our comfort zone.
This is not true. *I learned this the hard way.
Yes, it’s good to step outside of our comfort zone but there is value in our comfort also.
VALUE IN COMFORT
Comfort is not a dirty word. The dictionary defines comfort as:
- to give strength and hope to
- to ease the grief or trouble of
Comfort is an aspect of love and love is a basic human need. We have a need for comfort. Especially after a trip outside of our comfort zone.
When we’re outside of our comfort zone we make ourselves vulnerable which causes a feeling of nakedness.
I love this quote:
People aren’t good at processing important things when they’re naked. ― Kelly Williams Brown
There are places and situations where nakedness is appropriate and needed.
For example, taking a shower. Or regarding emotional nakedness, in a heart to heart discussion or a counseling session.
However, we don’t live in the shower or in a heart to heart discussion or counseling sessions. These things are needed but temporary.
This is why we need our comfort zone. We need to return to it to process our new experiences.
PROCESSING FOR GROWTH
Going outside our comfort zone has benefits. It stretches us. But growth occurs through processing the experience. This needs to be done inside the comfort zone to acquire its full value.
New experiences can be large or small. With every new experience, we have an opportunity to enlarge our comfort zone.
It’s in the processing we discover if this new thing is something we’re now comfortable with or not.
- If it is, then we’ve enlarged our comfort zone.
- If it’s not we can decide if it’s to be repeated or avoided.
It’s in the safety of the comfort zone we can evaluate the situation, make plans for the future and perform proper self-care with a marathon mentality.
Leaving the comfort zone is needed for growth but so is returning. Like an ebb and flow, we need both for stable growth.
- How are you stepping outside of your comfort zone?
- Are you processing your experiences?
- *How I learned the hard way: 3 Things You Need When Leaving Your Comfort Zone