Throughout my battle with depression, I have learned many lessons. I have learned the value of having an accountability partner, surrounding yourself with positivity, and admitting sometimes I need help.
It has taken a long time to learn these lessons and fully understand their impact on my life. However, if I didn’t step out of my comfort zone, I wouldn’t have experienced any of them.
Comfort zones are something we build up in order to keep us from stumbling back into a relapse.
I completely agree with comfort zones; they are our instinct we create to keep us from harm.
However, what happens when we begin to experience growing pains with our comfort zones? What happens when the very thing we create to keep us safe ends up putting us in a bubble? What if in order to grow, we must experience a growth out of our comfort zones?
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I will say it outright–it is not an easy task to let go of comfort zones, nor is it something we should take lightly.
However, like I said before, if I didn’t step out of some of my comfort zones and take a calculated risk, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
I’m sure we’ve all felt this: we feel like we are becoming stagnant in our growth. We feel as though something needs to change, but we aren’t really sure what it may be.
I know for myself I found myself frustrated with the fact I “couldn’t do” something because it wasn’t in my comfort zone. I’m sure once or twice you have had similar frustrations, and if not, I would say it will probably come.
Sometimes the growing pains are that our recovery is stunted because our comfort zones don’t let us grow.
I remember there was a specific moment when I realized I was ready to transcend a comfort zone in my life. I have always loved sports, but I’m not inherently “sporty.” In the past, I would be made fun of because I was gawky or lanky or uncoordinated. Because of that, I slowly stopped playing sports. It became this constant pull in my life where I so desperately wanted to engage in sports, but I was too afraid of experiencing ridicule from my peers. So, I made it a comfort zone to avoid unhealthy criticism and negativity both on my part and others’.
I think at the beginning of my recovery, this was healthy and vital. I didn’t need to have that negativity, and so it became a comfort zone to just watch others play sports.
After I was further into my depression recovery where others’ words left little sting, I again had the urge to play sports again. I was afraid at first I would be totally awful, and I was. I hadn’t played sports for so long, so I was beyond rusty. However, I realized both my sports improvement and getting past my comfort zone were processes, and they could work in tandem with each other. And I improved… marginally…
The point is not to outline or brag about my (not so) amazing sports skills, but to show I let my comfort zone tell me I couldn’t play sports and people’s words meant more than they should. Once I was at a place where I could differentiate between what was positive criticism and negative criticism (and could deal with each appropriately), my comfort zone was no longer necessary.
Sometimes the outcome and growth of overcoming your comfort zone is more important than remaining in the comfort zone.
I know for me, I experienced growth and confidence in overcoming that specific area of my life. I know if I hadn’t made that choice I wouldn’t have been able to overcome the other areas in my life I have unhealthily bubbled myself into.
Now, I’m not saying every comfort zone is unnecessary, and you should just get over all of them at once. I strongly believe this is unhealthy and potentially damaging. However, I would encourage you to give some thought and take pause to consider if the reason why you are frustrated, feeling stagnant, or haven’t experienced the same growth you have before is that you are letting your comfort zones weigh you down and hold you back.
Start slowly, with little risk, and then work your way up.
It may be nerve-wracking at first and it may feel like you are jumping into an unknown void, but learn to love the process. You may fail and you may fall, but make sure there are people around you to hold you up and pick you up if you do start to stray.
Once you identify the comfort zones in your life that are slowing your progress, look at overcoming them with confidence and look at is as one step closer to a healthier, authentic life.
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