I am uncomfortable every single day of my life. I have never experienced a day of total relaxation, calmness or peace. I wouldn’t know what it felt like. I am uncomfortable right now just telling you this. So, why do I do it? Because it’s important.
Winter is a difficult time of year for me, just like it is for a lot of people. But aside from the depression that comes from the lack of sun and the trapped feeling one gets from weather-induced imprisonment in the house, there is more to it than that. In the winter, my comfort zone shrinks.
The only way to cope with your fears is to face them. Once you do, you see that you can manage your life into a happy and fruitful existence. Fears never go away. They always need to be dealt with. But facing them makes you stronger and them weaker, so it gets easier over time.
The one problem is that, once you stop facing them, they come back. It’s not like you can conquer something once and for all and move forward. The battle never ends. This being so, the winter can serve as a “fear-enabler” as extenuating circumstances out of your control makes it impossible to do many things. In layman’s terms: the more I am forced to stay inside my house, the harder it is to leave; the less contact I have with people, the harder it is to face them.
There is always hope, always promise, always the opportunity to change, improve and fix the situation. That is one reason why I love Spring so much. It’s like wiping the slate clean. Spring is the best time to make resolutions – think about it.
Right now I am struggling; but I know I will be fine. I have the ability to recognize what is happening inside me and the knowledge of how to fix it. And the first step is with positive thoughts. That is why I would like to include the following list. It is about doing things in and out of your comfort zone.
Living a full life doesn’t mean that you have to jump out of an airplane or bungee off a bridge. I would never do either one. But I don’t avoid them because I am afraid of them. I avoid them because I have no desire to do them – and that is a big difference. I have included a list of things that I have done at some point in my life. Some might seem easy to you, others difficult. I have included them because they were out of my comfort zone, but meaningful and important to me. These are some of the things that have enriched my life. What are yours?
Difficult (?) but Meaningful Things
1. Raising a child – Just ask anyone who has done it. If you have any doubt, try it for yourself.
2. Changing a diaper – This could be combined with #1, unless you are the type of person who hands the baby off to someone else. That is why this is separate.
3. Crying in public – Not easy for everyone, as this draws attention to you and to your emotions.
4. Traveling to a foreign country and eating the local cuisine – That’s why they invented antacid.
5. Kissing an animal or your pet – Animals need love, too. Don’t be afraid to show it.
6. Being on stage/performing in front of a large crowed of people – Don’t be afraid to try it. You’re not going to die.
7. Doing something that was dangerous (even life-threatening) because you trusted the people you were with to take care of you in case something happened – Yes, this does feel scary – you have to learn to trust. In my case, this was taking a small rowboat onto Lake Ontario (I can’t swim).
8. Speaking to over 100 people at once – I have done this many times and I managed to survive. So can you.
9. Cooking a meal for more than a dozen people – Anyone who has done this knows the stress that is involved.
10. Playing on or coaching a sports team – This can be a lot of fun if you stop thinking about the people staring at you.
11. Flying in an airplane – No explanation necessary.
12. Helping a total stranger – For people like me, just talking to a stranger is a big deal, so it can seem even scarier to offer help to someone. I started by asking elderly people in supermarkets if they need help reaching something or picking something up. They love it (plus they call you things like “a nice young man” and that makes you feel young.)
13. Standing up to peer pressure – Much harder than it sounds. If you can do this, you are well ahead of most people. Be prepared, though, as it could cost you friends. Hang tough!
14.Traveling in a boat at sea – For people who are not comfortable in water, this is not easy. Trust me on this. Still, it’s worth it.
15. Saying “I love you” right out loud – One of the most important things a human being can ever do, yet for some people, those words never roll off their tongue.
16. Holding hands in public – Be prepared for the stares, if you want to do this. But the way I see it, the people who stare are the ones who wish they were doing it.
17. Refusing to take money for a job you did because it was the right thing to do – Sometimes helping another person is all the payment you will ever need.
18. Correcting someone for being bigoted or prejudiced – If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.
19. Helping the hungry, homeless or the needy – Everyone can do something to make the world better.
20. Wearing a costume in public when it wasn’t Halloween – Been there, done that. Again, be prepared for the stares.
There’s the short list. I could have listed a lot more. I hope you have done a few of these – and a lot more that I didn’t list.