Your Comfort Zone (Part 1)

A few months ago I was reminded of the worth of stepping outside your comfort zone. I'd been invited to a book launch that I really wanted to go to for various reasons - including the fact that book launches sound glamorous and involve free stuff - and because I really liked the writer and also because it was in the field I'm most interested in - postnatal support and mothering. I asked a few people to come with me but in the end no one could, and I felt all those resistances to doing an uncomfortable thing come up in my mind and body. On the train there I literally stood up to get off at my normal stop so I could go home and get in my pyjamas and not have to be brave and walk in on my own.

I firmly told my legs to sit me down and take me to the bloody launch. Were things like this easier before I'd had a baby? Does our confidence take a knock when we aren't regularly practicing this kind of social sauntering?

Walking in was intimidating and I arrived embarrassingly early, but the host/writer was very skilled and kind in terms of giving me a fair amount of her time, noticing I was on my own and making sure I was introduced to lots of people. I had loads of great conversations (and free wine) and was so glad I went, but still, there were some fairly excruciating moments when there was no one to talk to and I was standing on my own trying not to look like the most awkward person in the world. I willed myself not to take my phone out and just start scrolling (SO. HARD). I looked around the room and sipped my drink and tried to breathe slowly and relax my shoulders. And then I had to choose someone to go up to and say "hi! do you know [name]?" or whatever my opening was.

I had to do it maybe three times, and everyone was friendly each time, and I don't know if it got easier (except maybe it did with wine). Of course, nothing dreadful happened when I did the thing I was dreading. Afterwards I I felt tired from all the effort required, but also exhilarated and proud. At what I could discover about myself when I stepped beyond the boundary of what feels comfortable, at the things that can happen and the feelings that come up when I say "ok, go on then, yes" (of course in certain situations, GREAT things can happen when we say no, absolutely no way). It was a neat example of the good stuff such action can produce - not all of the lessons discomfort can teach us are tied up so neatly. Sometimes we need to be acutely aware of a long situation of hardship culminating in a big shift or growth in us. Having faith that work is being done and something is happening.