“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest achievement”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Where Does Your Comfort Zone Begin And End?
I’m guessing a fair few of you gazers are, like me, the types to push yourselves two steps uncomfortably outside your comfort zones – flinging yourselves into new and exciting territories – the kind that zoom in on your greatest fears, your biggest needs and those essential truths waiting to be unlocked somewhere between your heart and your soul – bringing you one step closer to your higher selves – your essence – your peace and your joy. Those heart-stopping – am I nuts, asking – scary – real – authentic moments which tell you you are really LIVING. Those beautiful, non-regretful experiences which tell you – this is what life’s all about. Those snapshots of reality which force you into zones which sometimes confront you with uncomfortable, soul-revealing truths which offer up new and exciting paths on your road to your bliss.
We’re all uniquely different – with different ideas of what feels comfortable, good, exciting and worthwhile – but we’re united in the experience of newness shedding light on all of the above. Those real – nitty-gritty – truth exposing moments which tell us who we really are – what we really need and what pure, unadulterated happiness looks like – to us. Not to our boyfriends or girlfriends – not to our family or friends – not to our sisters or brothers – just little old us.
Why Being Out Of Your Depth Is So Enriching
Having lived in London, Madrid and France in the space of a year, throwing myself into new languages, new companies, new social scenes and new sports (white water rafting and canyoning make skiing look easy…), I’d be lying if I said there haven’t been challenges along the way. The extreme, spectacular climes of Chamonix and Castellane, while awesome in their beauty, are a world away from the soul-nourishing cityscape of Madrid – that magical place which lulls your soul to the gentle pace of sangria, tapas and those reassuring words: ‘mañana, mañana’.
And while I’m driven wholeheartedly by the saying, “life begins at the end of your comfort zone” – I’ve also realised – amidst the beautiful canyons of the Gorge du Verdon in the South of France – what my greatest needs – and my limitations – most surely are.
What You Can Extract From Challenging Environments
Mostly – I’ve accepted the following – as you may also have done in new and challenging environments, wee gazer – and you know what? It’s a big relief:
\\ This above all, to thine own self be true. Even if your nearest and dearest think you really should be flinging yourself off 12 metre rocks into icy cold rapids, if you’re not digging it, that’s totally cool. In fact, the coolest thing in the world it to be totally – unashamedly you.
\\ We all have our unique selling points – so avoid comparing yourself to others. Their idea of normal might be your idea of wonky – and if you start throwing yourself into wonky too much – you’ll start to feel pretty wonky yourself. One supremely outdoorsy, French chum here looked truly confused when I said my twin might not appreciate a day trip white water rafting as a wedding gift – asking with an utterly bemused expression, ‘what DOES she do in her spare time?’ I gently explained she’s pretty busy running her own business in London and loves bars and restaurants – a lot. The fog still didn’t clear… So embrace your norms, sit proudly in ‘em – and if anyone tries to make you feel bad for not wanting to move too far from what feels like home – stand confidently where feels good – and maybe gently ask yourself whether you’re really where you belong.
\\ Never forget to put your needs first. “Love seeketh not itself to please” n all, but if you’re too nice, too concerned with the needs of others before your own, guaranteed you’ll end up frustrated – or worse still – unhappy. You may even – unconsciously – sabotage a relationship you may be desperately trying to accommodate. The sexiest thing you can ever be is your own – independent – unapologetic – self – whether that’s standing a would-be partner up for a cringeworthy tea-party with squealy girlfriends or having the courage to let someone realise they – or their habitat of choice – while fun for an adventure – may not be your kinda world longterm.
So stay true to your needs, today, wee Gazer – those ever changing soul-nourishers which make you feel alive – however silly or unconventional they may be – whether meeting new people, learning new things, living near cities or my good old friend – variety – in every, single, beautiful form. Love will always be if it’s meant to be – and the surest way to find happiness – YOUR way – in and outside of your comfort zone – is to focus on YOU – what you really want – what you really dig – and what really ignites your soul – what brings you alive – what alights your power – what lights up a room. If you stay close to these, you’ll never stray too far from home.