Safe Outside Your Safety Zone
Hi and welcome back to The Art of Onward! As I continue to share healing and inner wholeness tips with you, please feel free to reach out if there is a specific topic you'd like me to explore on your behalf. It's all anonymous, and I'm always touched and grateful to hear from each of you, and how this blog is helping your own journey. Email me, if you like, at theArtofOnward@gmail.com and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
Let's talk about that comfort zone thing ... I know, you've probably heard it a hundred times, but I'd love to re-approach this topic today.
In Conquer Resistance Parts 1 - 3, we discussed the power of our current comfort zone. How it can keep a solid grasp on us, keeping us from taking that next step we have such a longing to take.
But how we do define it? What happens in our mind and body when we are about to step across this invisible line in our patterns? We discussed the fear that steps in in the Resistance posts, but how does it FEEL?
Let's walk through a scenario if you will ...
I'm in a lonely place in my life, I live in a location that I've outgrown, I have negative and emotionally vampiric people in my lives, and I'm constantly wishing I could find a way to enter my next chapter of life.
Because I LONG to have healthy relationships, I desire to live in a place where my surroundings match my soul's needs and purpose, I wish to no longer be lonely, or unfulfilled.
And yet, here I am. And my nervous system and everything I am, have decided this is my "safe place", aka my "comfort zone". As I try to imagine living the life I would love to live, I have an extremely difficult time putting images to it. The concept of these elements in my life somehow scare me. What if I do all the work to make the changes and the results are less than what I thought they would be?
There are a million questions and doubts whenever we look outside our comfort zone - I call it my "perceived comfort zone" (because seriously, am I really that comfortable in the above scenario?) - because we haven't been there before. If we had, our comfort zone would have expanded to include whatever it is we are looking to add/change/be/find.
So how do we cross the line of this increasingly strong, seemingly magnetic, force in our life? How do we get our nervous system to accept the fact that there will be changes, and they will be scary, and they will FEEL dangerous, and still we will find a way to force ourselves to move in the direction of our dreams?
You've heard it before I'm sure, but here it is again:
Do one thing EVERY DAY that is outside your current comfort zone.
Begin to train your nervous system to understand that change can be good, and crossing that line of perceived safety can be thrilling, and even LIFE GIVING.
This pertains to every living being. We all have our perceived safety zone of life and mind within which we like to stay "safe".
What that safety zone is, depends on where we are at in our healing journeys, in our life journeys. For example, if you just are coming from the initial trauma, your safety zone has shrunk right now to your immediate whereabouts. That can be as tiny as the space in which you now stand or sit, as you read this. And even that may not feel safe.
I recall in my initial steps toward healing, just driving somewhere wore me out to such an extent, I felt I needed a nap when I got to my destination.
If this is you, please don't stop. Try to keep doing it. First drive to the corner store. Next day, drive to the grocery store. Take a few days off to recover, and then drive to a coffee shop. See if you can order a drink from a stranger. It's okay if you can't. It's okay if there are tears streaming down your face. See if you can. And if you get there and need to escape and return home without following through, THAT'S OKAY. Next time you'll take a few more steps ...
We are like elastic bands. When we stretch, it can be very painful, but as we release, we have lengthened somewhat. Next time, we'll stretch a little farther. And those tiny stretches will turn in to being able to go for coffee again, or meet a friend again, or even just buy supplies at the store again.
And then you'll be able to build on that. The baby steps will add up and one day you'll have the gift of looking back and seeing just how far you've come.
The strides get longer as we continue to build. Like legs getting stronger, our nervous system allows us to step forward, and the anxiety surrounding our progress decreases bit by bit.
For those of us who are a little further in to our recoveries, the baby steps will most likely appear differently. As we learn to trust ourselves more fully, and love ourselves more deeply, and value ourselves more completely, we stretch in to being able to give of ourselves more readily.
That's a mouthful. Read it again if you need to.
Please remember, FIRST comes the realization of our self worth. FIRST comes the beauty of loving ourselves, and realizing just how much of a gift we are both to ourselves and to the world. That we are SIGNIFICANT.
And then we may just re-evaluate our relationships with others, AFTER we re-establish a healthy relationship with ourselves.
This may seem somewhat esoteric where my posts are concerned, so let's return to what we can do right here, right now:
ONE THING EVERY DAY THAT STRETCHES US OUTSIDE OUR COMFORT ZONE
This works for physical workouts, this works for emotional strength building, this works for trust in relationships. Really, the ONE THING TODAY is what paves a solid path toward the stronger emotional, physical, spiritual muscles we long to build.
This week's challenge really is just that - Do One Thing Today, right from where you're at right here and now, with what you have, to build the path toward the life you desire. If and when anxiety creep up, use the breathing exercises I refer to frequently, to remind your mind and body, you are still safe. You're just stretching.
Have fun with this! Believe me when I say, the exhilaration of accomplishment is MUCH stronger than the fear. One thing. Every Day. Step across the threshold and enjoy the journey.
SO much love and strength to each of you!
Have an exhilarating week!