I live my life through many quotes and sayings. I love quotes. I love relating to people, past and present, of various intellect and importance. It reminds me that people are just people and that we are all bound together by some common interest.
There have been many sayings that have especially helped me with my battle of anxiety. One of the bigger sayings is, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” – Neale Donald Walsch.
It’s very simple but profound, in my opinion. If you try to challenge it, you can’t. Are you happiest when you exclusively do what you are comfortable with? When have you been exceptionally proud of yourself? Was it when you laid in bed all day or is it when you did something you weren’t entirely comfortable with? What’s the most fun you’ve ever had? Were you comfortable throughout the entire event or was there some anxiety involved?
You get my point.
For me, in all of the aforementioned situations I have been anxious.
College is a great place to challenge your anxieties. I live by myself so I am alone with my thoughts a lot which is both healthy and toxic. I am around (for the most part) people around my age which means a smaller comfort zone for me, yet it allows for a community of support. We are all bound together by our common interest: being college students.
As this semester comes to a close, I reflect on all of the ways I have challenged myself. For the most part, the challenges have been active decisions.
I am not ashamed to say that I have a therapist who has helped encourage me to step out of my comfort zone (sometimes I need gentle encouragement to proceed with my ideas).
My biggest achievement this semester, probably has been being comfortable with being insecure in public. Specifically, being comfortable with being insecure with eating at the dining commons by myself. At first I hated it. I texted my friends and my mom the entire time and would only eat facing the wall. I only got food that I knew exactly where it was located. Now, I text less, and am more willing to face the masses while I eat (although I still prefer not to, it’s not a disaster if the only seat available faces everyone, either) and I have explored the coffee area of the dining common that I visit. I feel like I have so much more freedom now that I know I am capable of doing one more task by myself.
Eric Fromm said, “The task we must set for ourselves is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity.”
On a smaller scale, I have been trying to make a point to put on my brave face and be friendly to people when I can, no matter how little I may know them. Sometimes it is hard for me to respond to someone in the simplest of ways. Recently, someone I have not officially met told me to drive safely. I was not expecting this good wish and quickly got overwhelmed and only grimaced in response. This probably was not reassuring to the kind stranger. But I have been thanking people who open doors for me, and responding to others when they thank me for opening the door for them, and excusing myself when I am in the way. I am not rude nor do I try to be rude when I don’t respond. It sounds very simple but I get incredibly flustered very easily.
I have also had to face my (intense)insecurities in the face everyday, every time I leave the room. They have not gone away or diminished by any means, but it has been a “fear” I have faced everyday.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'”
And Robert Frost said, “The best way out is always through.”