Self-Care Sunday: Leaving Your Comfort Zone

Illustration by Malaika Astorga


The comfort zone: a blissful place, where you're safe and happy and everything is peachy. However, not a place where things can grow if you stay put long enough. As scary as it is, leaving your comfort zone can kick-start real change and real growth. Letting go of your security blanket is difficult, but can be so rewarding — a lesson I'm trying to teach myself and share with everyone else.

This time next week, it will be the eve of my first media internship: in a different country, where I'll live for two weeks, by myself. Am I terrified? You best believe it. I've thought about giving up so many times. What if no one likes me? What if I don't know what I'm doing at all? What if they think I'm the worst? I've been replaying the worst-case scenarios over and over in my head, like the poster child for an anxiety disorder. The prospect of being wildly uncomfortable is terrifying and I've wondered many times if I'm ready for that type of challenge. But the reality is, in the words of the incredible Amy Poehler: great people do things before they're ready. If you wait to do something until you're ready, it’s always going to be the excuse that holds you back. So how do you know if you're ready? Is there a specific bell that goes off in your head and says, in a smooth Ryan Gosling voice, "Hey girl, you're ready,” that tips you off?

As scared and terrified and insecure as I feel, I have been reminding myself that every time I've stepped out of my comfort zone it has been worth it. When I moved to a different country for four months, I became more open-minded and independent, fell in love, fell out of love and discovered a new career path, and met some of who are now my greatest friends. When I started submitting my writing, I become a more confident and a better writer. When I started a crap retail job — my first 'real' job — I realised how important fighting for my future was and how much I was willing to work for my career. Pushing through fear has brought me so many good things. Holding on to that thought is what keeps me going even though I am uncomfortable and have no idea how things will go. I'd like to think of myself as confident, but the truth is, I'm faking it a lot of the time. Fake it 'til you make it, right? But pretending to be confident can trick your brain into actually feeling great and give you the bravery to go for things you usually would not. So do it, even if you feel like you can't. You never know what you'll be able to do if you just push all the way through fear to the other side.


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Inês Mendonça