Friday, October 5, 2012

outside the comfort zone .

More and more as the years go by I realize that I have a huge problem stepping outside my comfort zone. I'm a worrier and a planner -- when I traveled in Europe, I made myself itineraries every time I went somewhere on my own. I had bus routes, plane tickets, places to go and ways to get there, emails and phone numbers; literally a place by place list of where I was going each day. Sometimes I had even written down places to eat. I hate not knowing what I'm doing or where I'm going. This neurotic sense is only cured by the comfort of things that I know that are "safe."

And yet where would we be if we never tried anything new? A new sport, food, exercise regimen, dating style, meeting new friends, asking someone random to just hang out and talk. I think one of the reasons I am so okay with just hanging out on my own or eating on my own is that I know myself very well. I am, to myself, a "safe zone."  I don't have to worry about meeting new people, having awkward pauses, and not knowing which doors to me and myself to open for that person and which to keep locked and shut with guards on duty.

Trust is not always easy for me. And while in government people are assumed innocent until proven guilty, the way I function is that I find it much easier to just put up a wall around myself than let people in and see everything about me. And so for those of you I've opened up to on here, it's a big deal. Some I've been able to really connect with, some people that I don't even know, and that's been awesome. Emails, snail mail etc -- it's been awesome.

And so I don't know if that severe anxiety from being outside my comfort zone will ever cease to exist. If it did, it would take a serious amount of work to do that. But I suppose now is the time to do that, rather than later. Oddly enough, I never have problems in a work environment. I share what I need do and not a drop more. Mixing an employer/employee relationship with personal commentary and notions is a dangerous game. Personally I just don't see why people at work need to know that much about me. If they do, then fine. Who knows, some of them may read this blog and I just never knew it. And that's fine.

Meeting new people has always been strange for me. When I used to go to camp, I had no problems with it. Strangers on Monday would be your best friends by Friday. But I think that was before I thought about things as much as I do now. Perhaps it was even before I felt I was cutting myself off and out from a lot of things. Now, it's very difficult for me to meet large amounts of people all at once. I hate that when you don't talk to this new large group people think you're rude, arrogant or some other derogatory thought. This is not the case -- it's just that I am very uncomfortable.

And so I have several options here. Go on just working with the people I've got and not really trying to branch out. Then there's really making an effort and pouring myself out everywhere (which I think would be exhausting, personally). Or maybe just somewhere in the middle -- striving to do things that sometimes make me uncomfortable, in hopes that the discomfort will be conquered and no longer an issue.

It's not always easy. In fact, I don't think it's ever easy. But in reality, I suppose that it's often a necessity. But I still don't want to step outside my box.


  1. The discomfort you feel in new situations has a name, it's called growing pains. It's okay to feel it and acknowledge it. Just be careful to not let it paralyze you. One of the quotes I collected is this. "Do one thing every day that scares you." Doesn't have to be a big thing. Some days just getting out of bed scares me. Give it a try, have fun with it.

    1. Thanks Steve. Your comment put a smile on my face, friend.


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