Beyond the Comfort Zone

As a person which has traveled around the world, I have created a lot of tolerance for many unexpected situations. I would forgive anyone for believing that there isn’t much which could faze me or even take me out of my comfort zone. How I wish this were true though.  The fact is that there are a lot of situations that can still make me rather uncomfortable, yet instead of actively avoiding these, I seek to confront them instead. After all, as the great Dr. Albert Ellis said in vivo desensitization requires a degree risk-taking behaviors, and in my case this means stepping outside into social scenarios.

When people think of sailors the typical image they have in mind is rough and tough, trash talking, beer guzzling men of the sea.

Something along the following lines:

Drinkers with sailing problems.
Drinkers with sailing problems.

But, you would be amazed at the vast amount of diversity that this group of less than 10% of the population in the United States of American contains. We aren’t all party hardy individuals, and this especially applies to me.

I do not consider myself a socially awkward person, nor an anti-social one. However, For me the mystical embrace of a loving family and a good book is all I require to be at peace. We all seek the things that bring us peace, and why shouldn’t we? After all, if we could constantly seek happiness the world would be a much brighter place. But, without adversity there is no growth, and as the years have passed, I have come to accept that the boundaries of my comfort zone will only serve to inhibit potential.

I hate scenarios where it is expected to drink, or socialize with people who are barely known. I hate going to places where it is expected to rely on others or that they have to rely on me (such as being a designated driver). Yet, I actively seek to participate in these scenarios for more than a few reasons. A part of me understands that these are social norms which are appreciated in society, and if I am to become a well-rounded individual then they must be sought. We can’t limit ourselves to our comfort zone constantly for it is inside of it that we grow complacent. By stepping outside of my happy place, I am allowing myself to understand on a grander scale the vastness which our tiny planet holds. The comfort zone should be the place you go to seek solace, not the place in which you remain constantly. Stagnation after all is the enemy of progress.

Stagnation is what we face when we refuse to admit to ourselves that perhaps we are too limited. But, why is it that we humans do this? I believe it is because life can be so stressful that we are almost pathologically inclined to seek things that make us feel good quickly. This could be the reason why some individuals seek drugs, sex, and other items which bring quick relief to an otherwise aggravating life. For some of us we choose to remain in the comfort zone simply because it’s all that we know. Change is never easy and as I’ve stated in the past being forced to alter your life (such as by moving) so often brings about a sleuth of anxieties which can be extremely detrimental to a person’s mental well-being. However, I wouldn’t change my decisions for the world. I understand why I’m actively seeking to place myself outside my comfort zone.

When I go out with acquaintances, co-workers, distant friends; I am provided with an opportunity to learn about these individuals. I am given a chance to understand their own plights, fears, fragments of their personality which aren’t apparent at work, dreams, hopes, goals, and a million other aspects that wouldn’t be seen otherwise. I have a chance to bond with another human being who could even be feeling the same way as I am (dreading a social situation and simply facing it with a steeled heart). Because of this, I am given an opportunity which otherwise would not exist. People are amazing creatures, we are capable of adapting to so many situations and circumstances which we have the full option of avoiding, and yet we can seek to do them. Fear, loathing, and distaste should never hamper our ability to grow because by stepping beyond the comfort zone we learn what it truly means to be human.

And while I will never be this guy, I would certainly love to hear what the situation behind this picture was.
And while I will never be this guy, I would certainly love to hear what the situation behind this picture was.

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Also guys, sorry that my posting has slowed down, I have been working on a project with a friend of mine and we are trying to decide if we will use this as a means to post updates on it still. I have also been busy with school and I leave to Japan in approximately a few weeks.