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
It is a scary for many to step out of what they are comfortable with and try something new. To leave their safe place and what they are used to, can be an upsetting thought. But, it is only by challenging ourselves to do things we haven’t done before, that we will grow. Whether it be driving to somewhere we have never been before, taking up a new sport, taking on a different job or joining a social club and meeting all new people, it is about embracing opportunities and situations that arise in our daily lives. Through those experiences we grow and increase the circumference of where we are comfortable. Our comfort zone increases and our lives become richer, more fulfilling and we can achieve happiness that otherwise we never would have experienced.
When you are stuck in your comfort zone or in fear, then you are closed up. You tend to create division in your world and mind. You create barriers between you and other things/people and your life may not be as full as it could be.
I know many people struggle with “coming out of their shell” when they engage socially. An individual may be confident and outgoing in a one on one setting but shy, timid and nervous in a more public or social setting. It is often more difficult for someone who is recently single, because of divorce or death, and understandably afraid to get back out there and meet new people. Or, they may have been single for a while and have gotten comfortable with their routine and to step out of that comfort zone takes effort.
If you are nervous or feel awkward in social situations or not knowing anyone in a group, take small steps. Steps like first just saying hi to people. Introduce yourself. Realize that everyone has felt uncomfortable at one time or another meeting new people. And being more involved in conversations will exercise conversation muscles. After a while those things will feel more comfortable. And so you can expand your comfort zone a little bit more.
You will gradually desensitize yourself to social situations or whatever you are uncomfortable with. Realize it can be fun to get out of your comfort zone despite what your mind and feelings might be telling you before you get started. Think back to the previous times when you have broken out of your comfort zone. Focus on the positive memories, when you got out there, when you took a chance. And you will probably remember that it wasn’t so bad, it was actually fun and exciting and something new to you.
Since going outside what you are comfortable with feels scary, most people spend their whole lives inside it. They emotionally don’t dare to go outside it, into unfamiliar territory. To be able to move towards what you want, you really have to become dissatisfied with your current situation. Ask yourself how your boundaries are limiting your life today? How is this barrier keeping you from being truly happy?
Socializing, having friends, interacting with new people and having a full life is important to the overall picture of healthy aging. With the holidays approaching, it is a good time to take that step outside of what is comfortable. Live your life now. There is a wonderful world out there and a new life is just around the corner!
Laura Kay House, MA, is the founder and owner of Silver Connections, located in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Silver Connections provides numerous socializing opportunities through events and travel, quality members and connections for age 55 “and better”, active and single adults.