Get Out of Your Comfort Zone to Grow
Hey, I was finally alone tonight! I decided I wanted to get dressed up and go out to a nice place for dinner and a movie, and no one seemed available so, I decided to go on a date with a cool girl, "me." We totally get along with each other, and I’m the best company I know.
We went to Anasazi Grill and totally agreed on the dessert fondue, then, me, myself and I went to the movie, "Eddie the Eagle." Myself and I had tears pouring down our face! So uplifting and edifying! Then we came home and watched CNN with my doggies. It was an awesome date night!! I might go out with her again soon.
The truth is, I can’t remember the last time I was alone. I seem to be crawling with people where ever I go. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining, I’m just saying that I teach college, I lead a social group that has grown from two to over 500 people, I teach aerobics, lead hikes, compete in cycle triathlons, teach seminars and workshops and have clients all day. Not to mention my five kids, eight grandkids, and the three babies on the way, so I do people all day every day.
What Did We Do Before Facebook?
When I think about being alone, it’s hard to remember what that's like. But I guess as I reflect back, there were times in high school when I sat alone on my bed wondering what everyone was doing. We didn’t have text or Facebook at the time, so the only way to be alerted as to the happenings of the night was for someone to knock on my door or ring my rotary phone that was plugged into the wall.
Sometimes I felt lonely, and because I wasn’t sure who I really was, I was a bit insecure and needed people to surround me. I suppose this is typical for a kid that age, to need to be accepted, acknowledged and liked. And isn’t that important at any age?
So now that decades have passed, am I any different? Have I changed? Stepping back I see that I truly haven’t changed much. I have years that are evident on my face, a few degrees behind my name, a large house and kids and grandkids to prove that time has passed, but the need to be accepted is just as strong today as it was eons ago.
I still really like to be included in a social gatherings, honored as a friend and recognized and appreciated as a mother.
Venturing Out Of Our Comfort Zone
Basic 101 psychology textbooks teach that going out of our comfort zones is healthy for growth and development. We all have zones where we’re comfortable, and to grow we need to venture out of what is natural and known so we can push ourselves towards new limits to learn and grow.
It’s common knowledge that going beyond and striving in the new territory will stretch our intellect, our abilities and create positive results in all areas. Pushing new limits builds muscle, it takes us to heights we have not discovered, and creates evolution.
To demonstrate this in an experiment, try putting a mobile over the crib of an infant about one or two months old. Place the cute colored mobile where the baby can easily bat the characters dangling above them. See how they play with the items and the gleam in their eye at the ability to make the items move about, dance and sway.
Notice how they seem to enjoy the power and control of manipulating the movement watching it respond to their punches and pushes. See how long they are enamored with the mobile and notice the spark in their eyes. Well, sure enough, desensitization and habituation set in.
Soon they show signs of disinterest and will begin to crave something new, some new toy or stimulation. They will get bored and start looking for something else to experiment with that is more stimulating. So now, take the same mobile, set it just far enough where they can almost reach it but only with an effort of stretching and reaching can they hit just the very corner of one character.
It’s far enough away that when they barely touch it, it does not have enough push to affect the movement of the rest of the mobile. It sits still. Notice what the infant does. They will wiggle, they will look determined, and they will reach farther than they have before. They will figure a way out to finally bat the thing and make it obey their smack.
Walk on the Wild Side and Do Something New - Stretch!
So it is. We get out of our comfort zone to grow. Is it out of your comfort zone to go to a movie by yourself? Do you think everyone is looking at you? In your next experiment try it if you haven’t’ before. With curiosity, notice that people around you are very focused on the people they have come to dinner or the movie with, and they don’t seem to look around because they are thinking about their own needs and wants.
People are looking at what suits them best, and interestingly enough, it is not you. Most people won't look at you unless you are very beautiful or handsome, and even then it will be a glance and back to what they were focusing on before.
With this in mind, going out alone is a beautiful experience. Once you get beyond being self-conscious, you can actually hear yourself think. Also, you have grown leaps and bounds in the self-confidence. Realize that you are enough. You are lucky to hang out with the coolest kid around, YOU. You are great; you are special, and you can do it. Let me know how it goes. Here’s to you and you!!!
Dr. Darlene Braden holds a Ph.D in human behavior. She brings to her consulting clients a breadth of knowledge and practical experience. She draws from a wide variety of personal empowerment tools ranging all the way from Eastern philosophy to modern, tangible techniques. Please visit Dr. Darlene on her website, whatstopsyou.com
Or, click here to take her FREE Balanced Living assessment to see if your life is heading in the right direction: http://balance.whatstopsyou.