Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"Stepping Out ....of your Comfort Zone"

Hi All!

I am excited to be posting again. I'm thrilled to be a part of this blog and have been enjoying reading the posts and comments. Through this blog, I feel a great sense of community between us. We are family by choice because we share such awareness and a desire to explore ourselves and look at life and our experiences from all sorts of angles! Yee haa, what fun! A big thank you to Iris for creating this and for everyone's thought provoking posts.

I want to write and explore about the phrase "stepping out of your comfort zone". What does this mean to you?

This phrase implies that we have an area or space that we are comfortable operating from and that we can, by choice, actively move OUT of this space. Does doing so necessarily mean we move into a place of DIScomfort? Must it be uncomfortable to step out of our comfort zone? If so, why do we set it up this way?

First of all, why would a person want to step out of his or her comfort zone anyway?

I think it has a lot to do with: MOTIVATION! In many ways through out my autism treatment training, I stepped out of my comfort zone because I was highly motivated to do so! My "comfort" zone in actuality wasn't all that comfortable! It was familiar but also restricting. I wanted more room for myself and I was greatly inspired to help and learn from people with autism.

A big part of my training was uncovering the many layers of my judgment that being uncomfortable is bad. I continue to come to deeper levels of understanding as I explore the topic of discomfort further. During training, especially in the beginning, I didn't feel that it was OK to be uncomfortable. Not wanting to do the unmentionable and get uncomfortable in the playroom, I avoided doing things that I got uncomfortable about and during feedback, I often thought "I should be over this issue by now" and so I was not very forthcoming.

Because our culture puts such an emphasis on judging discomfort (how many of us were told: "Don't cry, you'll be fine" or "Stop crying you big baby!"), I think it is very important for people to be given space and permission to be uncomfortable. I just realize now how much I wanted to feel safe feeling whatever I felt versus being asked why. Being asked why got me intellectualizing which further blocked my feelings that were already blocked because I was judging them. I simply wanted a safe place to feel uncomfortable.

When I experienced this space and acceptance (from myself and therefore felt it from the teachers) training was so much easier. When someone shares a discomfort with me, I feel honored, I celebrate them, and take time to embrace their feelings!

Going back to the question: Must it be uncomfortable to step out of our comfort zone?"

I'm deciding no, it doesn't have to be and it isn't even meant to be. Nature and young children don't seem to operate from the "no pain, no gain" paradigm. I don't think a tiny plant struggles with discomfort as it emerges from the dirt, or a baby gets uncomfortable as it learns to sit up or crawl.

The experience of discomfort is resistance to the ease of our natural unfolding and growing. Like trying to pull apart the petals of a flower or trying to hold them shut. Discomfort is a sign that says "Let go". When I get uncomfortable, I am most likely pushing myself, or "shoulding" myself rather than acting from a place of genuine and inspired wanting.

I see that stepping out of my comfort zone is more accurately simply stepping into a new stage of myself or into a new way of experiencing the world which doesn't necessarily involve discomfort. For so long my "comfort" zone was all about struggling because that what was most familiar to me. Now I've eagerly stepped out of struggle and into ease without effort and from this place of ease I will continue to grow my comfort zone rather than step out of it!

Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. This is AWESOME because I struggle with the many layers of being uncomfortable and being too uncomfortable with being uncomfortable to be willing to really stop judging it and be easy at examining the beliefs that started the chain. Sometimes I feel uncomfortable with being in the playroom and then my discomfort further keeps me away from thinking about why. Thanks for shedding light on this! Barb F in Texas


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