Get Out of Your Comfort Zone… and Take Your Kids With You
A Comfort Zone is where we are safe from Distress
In an attempt to control everything possible, I go to the same places and do the same things I’ve done before. I’m comfortable at my HEB grocery store, my park, my church, etc. When I’m in my comfort zone, I know where everything is at; my kids know what to expect. This is mostly a good thing. We all need constancy and control in our lives to balance the unpredictability and change in our lives.
Obviously, unpredictability and change ARE a part of our lives. As adults, this part of life often produces anxiety and discord within most of us. This anxiety can be crippling if we never learn to be flexible. Children, however, usually thrive with new experiences. I for one regret losing that thirst for adventure, because it’s such a struggle to get out of my own comfort zone. To combat this, my husband and I try to keep our kids open to trying new things. We don’t want them to avoid new things and challenges out of fear of the unknown.
Unconsciously, I try to mold my kids to fit inside my Comfort Zone.
I don’t know about you, but I say “Be careful!” (or a similar sentiment) about 5 times an hour. I want my kids to internalize that safety is important, but I also want them to learn how to take risks. When they leave to go on an adventure with a friend, they hear me on the way out the door, “Have fun… but not TOO much fun!” Ok, so I’m not exactly the “fun parent”. I guess that’s why teaching my kids/teens not to be afraid of new experiences is important to me.
Baby Steps to get out of your Comfort Zone:
Recognizing the difference between a Love of Equilibrium and a Fear of the Unknown.
As adults, it is important for us to periodically examine our choices. Have we been basing our choices on what we have always done? Are we declining choices because we are unsure about what the results may be? Are some choices never even considered because of the mental shortcuts we’ve employed to help us make everyday decisions?
Becoming too comfortable with the “Devil that I Know” may be costing us money if we’re staying with certain companies whose rates are steadily increasing. Ordering the same meal every time we go to a certain restaurant may be comforting, but trying the chef’s new recipes may pay off. Changing up date night (learning how to dance with two left feet) may be something we’ve never considered, but it’s nice to get out of our routine once in a while.
I would like my children to become adults that know the difference between Comfortable With and Settling For; between Stuck in a Rut and Fear of the Unknown.
Adventure, Growth, Empathy, etc. are rarely Comfortable
Challenge, resistance, and difficulties force us to grow; mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. This type of growth is uncomfortable and sometimes painful, but at the end of the trial, we could say that we’ve been on an adventure, found empathy, matured, etc. It is important to us that our children experience positive growth. Perhaps most importantly, we want our kids to be comfortable with who and what they are, regardless if they “fit in” (or not) with other’s comfort zones. Equally important is the understanding that even if others don’t “fit in”, they are still valuable.
We all need control and comfort to fall back on, especially during stressful times. Us adults also need to rekindle our own sense of adventure. Who is better equipped to guide us out of our comfort zone than our children?