These are questions I’ve often asked myself! Year after year I was struck down by a fear that paralysed me from taking action…one that literally held me back from stepping into my own and being my Authentic Self. One that I brushed aside in the hope that I would wake up one day and just know. Like a scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail where God appears and tells Arthur what to do….yep….I’ve been waiting for something like that too!
But life isn’t like that. We have to work at it to find out what our true purpose is. The one that we came here to achieve. And that takes time and effort to examine who we really are and to dig deeper to what our core values are, what our strengths are and what we hold to be true about ourselves.
But then the Ego gets involved and tells us that we can’t do something or aren’t any good at something or that nobody will want to listen to us….blah blah blah. And with the Ego comes fear. We fear putting ourselves out there for fear of judgement from others. We fear doing new things because we worry about failing and looking like a fool for failing! We fear being who we truly are because we worry that nobody will want us or like us. These are all just fears….and they come from the Ego which is fearful in nature and tries to keep us safe. It’s not a bad thing that the Ego is trying to keep us safe….but it DOES hold us back. If we let it. And we don’t have to let it hold us back because we all have CHOICE!
We can CHOOSE to listen to the fearful thoughts of the Ego…or we can CHOOSE to acknowledge these thoughts as ones trying to keep us safe….and then just let them go. You cannot grow within your comfort zone, it’s a protective measure designed to keep us safe from harm. But this is massively outdated and we aren’t living in caves anymore! Back in cavemen times, we needed our brains to work quickly to keep us safe from perceived dangers….but times have changed and the so-called dangers of the past (big wild animals!) aren’t really something we see in our urban lives anymore. So the fear has changed and it’s pretty much what we fear outside of our comfort zones.
For years we’ve been told to go to school, get a job, pay our bills and be happy etc and yet just living like that from day to day doesn’t inspire a lot of people. We all have wants and needs and desires to have more in our lives. Like more time with our children. Or more holidays. Or a bigger house. Or more respect from our co-workers. Or more money to buy things with. Whatever those desires are, we all have them but all too often we are afraid to actually go out there and do something about it because to do that it means that we are stepping over the comfort zone threshold. And that takes balls to do that – to take inspired action! (I know this is a female empowerment blog but I do like using the term “to have balls!” lol!) Because it is hard to admit that we want more and yet we are scared of what we will have to do to achieve more. For some people, it could be a case of quitting a job and walking into another one which pays more and which values you more. For others, it could take more work and could mean doing a complete 360 degree turn on your life and following a completely different path…but one which aligns with you more and with your values. And for some, it could be wanting to reduce your hours at work to have more time with your children but worrying about the financial impact that would have on your family but knowing that you would be better off having that time together.
Whatever path you choose, it is unique to you and you will have your own fears trying to hold you back. Which is totally normal. But the best way to get around this is to simply acknowledge those fears. Acknowledge the thoughts that those fears bring up and the emotions that are connected to those thoughts. Because everything is connected – thoughts create emotions and emotions create thoughts. When we live an Ego centred life, we fear things. We fear stepping outside of that comfort zone because we worry about what is on the other side. We have no experience of what it is like to live that life we desire because we haven’t lived it before….so instead of embracing all that scares us, we choose to hold back and to stay comfortable in our comfort zone bubble.
But you’ll never grow in your comfort zone because you aren’t pushing yourself. As humans we have evolved to constantly be growing. Look how far we’ve come in 50 years, 500 years, 1000 years, 5000 years! To survive, we have to continue to grow and to accept new situations and experiences as challenges that are there to expand our capacity for a more fulfilling life. If we want more, we have to grow more. And growth happens OUTSIDE of the comfort zone.
Take for example a child who is learning to walk. I remember my own daughter very vividly trying to learn to walk. She was SO determined to do it. And yet every time she tried at first, she’d fall down. Over and over and over again. Did that stop her? Nope! She’d just get up and try again and again until she mastered the art of walking! Because as children we are programmed with that need to grow and to evolve…no matter what that takes! We don’t let fear take over. Can you imagine a 1 year old child sitting there on the floor after they’ve tried to stand up and walk for the 100th time and thinking, “Sod this walking malarkey, it’s bloody hard! I’m just going to stay sat on my bottom for the rest of my life!”. Can you imagine that?!?!? Where would society be if children chose to live in their comfort zones and never EVOLVE?!
So take a lesson from children and look to them for guidance. They know a lot!! The Ego based fears of a lot of so many of us (Can I pay my bills if I leave my job? Should I quit my job and do something different which makes me happy? Will this person still respect me if I be honest with them? Will people actually pay me to learn from me? etc) will just keep on holding us back unless we make a CHOICE to stand up for our values and our beliefs and just go for it. So much growth can happen when we choose to step outside of the comfort zone and just embrace life and all that it offers.