Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Pushing The Limits Of Our Comfort Zone
"To the degree we're not living our dreams, our comfort zone has more control over us than we have over ourselves." Peter McWilliams.
I dedicate my knowledge of my comfort zone to Peter McWilliams, for without his powerful words this blog and my attempt at achieving my dreams would not be. I thank you from the depths of my heart.
The comfort zone is a powerful thing.
It can charm you into staying right where you are in life, whispering sweet nothings that will keep you at a standstill. It can also strike venom into your veins, threatening what will seem to be the very fabric of your reality. The comfort zone will continue to pressure you, torment you, darken out the very pinpricks of light that you might be so diligently following.
The comfort zone is also yours to abide by...or turn a cheek to.
When I was a wee one, growing up under my parents' watchful eye I didn't give much consideration to my comfort zone. My parents were near me, which meant I was free to explore. That was that. It was only when I began to get a little too enthusiastic with my explorations that I was informed, as every child is normally warned, of the dangers of the world. Each parent has their own way of explaining these things.
Mine made sure I understood.
That was the beginning of my subconscious acknowledgement of the comfort zone. When I was little it was important to have that imbedded into me, so that I knew when my comfort zone felt threatened I knew to turn back, to stay away from someone or to not eat what I found on the ground.
However, as I got older I didn't shake off the over-exaggerating shackles of childhood and the restricted thinking. I kept my comfort zone as small as possible, I didn't try stretching it out to try new things that became available in my life. My comfort zone was filled with doubt, insecurities, questionable variables that I just didn't want to confront. Inevitably, it meant that if I didn't do something about them I would never get past them.
Fortunately I met new friends and had, albeit a bit frustratedly, my parents' support and I began to grow. I realized that the world really doesn't topple down when you threaten the old boundaries of your life with something new.
And believe me, this can range from such little things as picking something new out for lunch to bungee jumping off the bridge. The comfort zone of an individual is different things for different people.
It can be deciding whether or not to get your bum off the couch and work out. It can take the form of a bad friend pulling you into an equally bad habit, just because that's the norm. It can show up as the mundane chores you put off for the pleasurable extra hours of sleep on a Saturday morning. It can even be the fear of getting to a college course late and having everyone stare at you while you skulk inside, causing you to obey your comfort zone and sulk outside the door in indecisiveness. I know that last one pretty well.
But what is a life worth living when all you're letting stand in your way is yourself? Your comfort zone?
I've been asking myself that very question for years.
I've decided to try something new.
So let's all stretch the limits of our comfort zone day by day. Not in a harmful, life-altering, one-single-event sort of stretch. Let's just take it slow and continue on realizing how much we have control of both ourselves and our lives.
So what have you done to push your limits, readers? Do tell!
If you have a chance, please stop by the website Peter's Page. It is dedicated to the gentleman, Peter McWilliams, whose self-help book "Do It! Let's Get Off Our Buts" inspired me in my times of uncertainty and hardship. Much thanks to "The Curator of the Peter McWilliams Online Museum" for creating such a splendid website.