One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.
- Abraham Maslow
So here’s the thing: I know that nothing will happen in my comfort zone. Everyone knows that. So there’s me, full steam ahead, charging right out of it, determined to reach new frontiers - the master of my destiny and all that.
But then I reach this place that I don’t like. There are monsters there.
There are the big, ugly ones that you can see, and sneaky, slippery ones that creep up on you when you stop for a cup of tea. And then there’s the invisible ones.
I can feel them all over me, and so I have to run, and fast - all the way, back to my comfort zone. And here we are again.
So I try again, but my capacity for these terrors, this discomfort, is minimal. I have been a professional disassociator for the good part of my life.
Each time I fail, I berate myself – and slowly chip away at my self-esteem. I must be a big baby, because everyone else seems to be facing their demons.
So I resign myself to the fact that I will always remain in my comfort zone. It’s not a bad place to be. It’s certainly comfortable - but also not. I am just not someone who is hard-wired to live there.
And so, yet again, I am back at square one – wondering if there is ever going to be a way out.
And then, one day, I hear whispers of a place that isn’t inside the comfort zone, but the monsters are fewer. They’re also the kind that you can see coming and you can deal with one at a time.
This sounded promising, albeit a little scary. But I figured being stuck in this place for the rest of my life was even scarier.
So, one fine day, I took a short trip. I didn’t like this new place at all. It was very uncomfortable. I started crying. I wanted to go home.
But home wasn’t that far. I could easily go back. I realised I didn’t even know what I was crying about. I just hadn’t left my usual surroundings in such a long time.
And then the monster came. He was just as scary as I had imagined. And his teeth were so sharp. The pointy ones looked like they could really pierce my flesh. I remembered how I’d been badly hurt once before.
I ran away from him, but didn’t go home. Home wasn’t that far anyway.
I knew the monster would come again the next day, but I was less scared. I also knew that if he did bite me, I had thicker skin now. It wouldn’t be as deep. I knew I could survive.
And then he came. I saw his teeth. I was ready.
He growled, really really loudly.
And then I stepped past him.
He wouldn’t be able to get me now. But I could see another monster in the distance. I was going in the wrong direction from home. But then I remembered that I didn’t want to be home.
I was on the right path.