The power of stepping out of your comfort zone
We all want to feel safe, and secure. But as our columnist Grace Victory reveals, if life is feeling stagnant, stepping into the unknown could be both energising, and rewarding
If I look back on my almost 30 years of life, there is so much to be grateful for. But I am definitely the type of person who rarely stops to celebrate my achievements, because when I’ve accomplished one thing, I immediately move on to the next.
However, the pattern that I’ve noticed with my successes – whether big or small – is that more often than not, to achieve whatever I have achieved, I had to step out of my comfort zone. And if I’m being totally honest, sometimes I’m dragged out of my comfort zone by my therapist, and sometimes I leap!
Maybe you can relate? It pains me to admit that while I regard myself as quite adaptable, there are certain experiences relating to my childhood trauma that have affected my ability to make adult decisions, and experience growth in certain areas of my life.
I took me two years to make a career change, because I simply wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do. I knew I felt stuck and that I needed a change, but to muster up the courage to do so... well, it took me longer than I’d like to admit. But in other areas of my life, I can swiftly move on, and alter the direction of my path.
I guess it’s also dependent on whether or not I feel in control – buckle up for some serious truths! Have I told you about my issues with control? Not the control that polices people, or screams at my boyfriend that he can’t go out. I’m talking about the kind of control where if something out of the ordinary happens during my usual routine, I will immediately feel stressed. I used to use food to feel a sense of calm, because everything else in my life felt chaotic. Control, and a person’s need for it, isn’t always obvious; sometimes control works in manipulative and subtle ways, but the crux is always to feel safe.
Staying within comfort zones creates a sense of safety and security, because the box we or others have placed us in, is what we’re used to. For nearly all of us, our comfort zones begin as children, often residing within our subconscious. Take playing in the park. Some toddlers can climb about, and go down big slides, without a care in the world, while others will be petrified and stick to playing in the sandpit. Or perhaps as a child you were boisterous and unafraid to try new things, but growing up, an authority figure made you feel inferior, so now you only stick to what you know.
Whatever the reasons may be, comfort zones may make you feel safe, but they also play a part in you feeling stagnant, bored, and unmotivated.
“A redirection to a new life means a rejection of your current life” – you can quote me on that.
Listen, rejection isn’t always bad. Making changes rarely leads to a catastrophe, even if your mind tells you it will. Comfort zones are made up of old patterns that no longer serve us – maybe they never did. When was the last time you felt alive and enriched? One of the main reasons I made a career change was I constantly felt uninterested and unenthusiastic, and I became so bored with feeling that way. The same goes for my personal development. And the only person who can change your life, your circumstances, and the direction of your journey, is you.
We all have the tools within us – some of us will also need therapists and mentors to help us see those tools – but the biggest, most important thing of all, is the belief that we can create our own lives. That we can take leaps of pure faith, and make it out the other side. That we believe we are capable of whatever we want to accomplish.
Change is full of vulnerability and uncertainty, but without those things, how will you ever know courage?
But (and this is what you have probably anticipated), in order to live a life full of rejuvenation and stimulation, you have to leave your comfort zone. The excitement, the rush, the joy, the opportunities, are waiting for you, right outside the walls you’ve put up.
Change isn’t always fun, or a beautiful enlightening journey – I’d be lying if I said it was. Change is full of vulnerability and uncertainty, but without those things, how will you ever know courage? Our time on earth was never supposed to be easy or enjoyable all the time. We are here to learn lessons, experience blessings, and to feel all the feelings we need to feel – there is something really beautiful about that, if you are able to adjust your perspective.
Magic happens when you take a deep breath and step into the unknown. Maybe you’ll find your superpowers. Maybe you’ll find the parts of yourself that you had forgotten. Maybe you’ll realise your worth. Maybe you’ll finally understand your purpose, and never, ever, look back. Love Grace x
Come back next month for more from Grace!