Sink or Swim
The more I step out of my comfort zone, the more magical my life becomes.
Date: 6/22/2007 5:40:20 PM ( 14 y ) ... viewed 1847 times
It's funny how oftentimes it is necessary just to jump right into something unfamiliar and scary and ultimately, the best result will occur when you don't leave yourself an escape route.
Case in point - I have struggled with issues of feeling extreme shyness and self-consciousness. Back in my teenage years, I would never go into a store to shop by myself, only if I was accompanied by a friend. I remember also crossing the street in order to avoid having to say hello to someone I knew. Or dreading an occasion where people would expect me to greet them with a hug or kiss or vice versa. This would always embarrass the hell out of me and make me feel so awkward.
What turned me around was at age 20, I was accepted into a youth exchange program and wound up living with a group of people for seven months (half of whom were Buddhists and Hindus from Sri Lanka). So there I was, having never travelled on an airplane before, half way around the world living in close quarters with people from a totally different culture, eating foreign food, and living every day totally out of my comfort zone. I never felt so alive and exhilarated like I did back then. Boy, was I ever challenged, and in every possible way. But there was no escaping so I stuck it through and that experience turned my life around completely (for the better).
After that, I decided to continue travelling while my fellow participants returned home. After all, I was on a roll. So we parted ways in Europe and there I was, alone, backpack in tow, feeling invincible after having endured the previous seven months. I managed to make my way to the Middle East and wound up staying there for 4 1/2 years. It was the best therapy in the world for an introverted, shy person. You cannot be shy over there because you will get walked all over. Again, it was like being thrown to the sharks. You either sink and get eaten alive or swim and thrive. I chose to swim.
This week has been one of uncomfortable decisions. Firstly, I joined Toastmasters because there is still some residual self-consciousness (albeit small compared to when I was younger) which I want and need to address. What better way to overcome not feeling comfortable in one's skin than by getting up in front of a group to speak publicly? YIKES! But I am determined to bulldoze my way through these pesky feelings of shame and figure that old adage - fake it til you make it - will eventually be true for me.
The second important step I took today was to register a small business. For many years now I have been wondering who I am and what I am meant to be doing with my life. The kids are older now so I have been in a crisis to try and figure this out. I really want to feel like I am leading a productive life. It is only the first step and I am nervous because I don't know where it will lead but I keep telling myself that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
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