Will you step out of your comfort zone?

Last month, a dear cousin flew down to India. We have been really close right since our childhood. So, as we caught up over the phone and swapped notes, she asked me how life was. When I told her my daily schedule, she got into the ‘sensible cousin mode’ and gave me a much-needed pep talk.

She knows what an introvert I am, who loves her own company, enjoys staying cooped up in her home and seldom approaches people for a conversation. So, she came up with a brilliant plan to revamp my lifestyle and add a pop of colour to it.

She advised me thus:

Get out of your house on the weekends. Visit a cafe and become a regular at the place. Carry a book, if you feel awkward, initially. Then, mingle with the other patrons, get friendly with the staff, have a few laughs and then come back home, feeling thrilled and upbeat!

My darling cousin has a reason. She feels if I do this one thing, then the anxiety and the gloom that looms large like an apparition and frightens the hell out of me, won’t bother me, ever again. The socialising will act as the best panacea as well as a stress buster!

Since some time now, I have been in the state of mind where I wish to go out, meet and socialise, but the mere thought of actually meeting people and conversing with them gives me the jitters! I am in such a dilemma that I’d rather stay put where I am–at home. I am too self-conscious and, at times, suffer from a low self-esteem. There, I admit it.

Chatting with strangers is not something I can imagine doing. It’s a different matter, altogether, meeting my blogger friends, even if for the first time. We all know our stories, where we come from, our likes, dislikes, pet peeves and passion, so even if we were to meet for the very first time, we would just be picking up from where we left in the virtual world, where we meet oftener.

Indulging in small talk with complete strangers is not my thing! What do I talk about? The weather? Fashion? Kids? Work? What???

So, when I asked my cousin what do I talk about with strangers, she giggled and told me to just talk whatever comes to my mind, but not get into anything serious–like talking about LIFE, for instance. She advised me to, “Keep it simple, silly!” and learn to chill.

Yes, CHILLIN’ is what I am supposed to be doin’ to bring about some vibrancy into my dull and boring life.

That reminds me, dull and boring is what an old friend thinks I am, which, as a matter of fact, is the fact. So, to get rid of this dullness, I need to get out of my comfort zone, which is my home, and learn to mingle.

Phew!

Oh, and, I also need to change my wardrobe, try out something that adds an element of zing to my life and watch myself bloom, all over again! Her words, again.

Now, introverts reading this post will, definitely, wonder how the hell am I going to attempt to do all of the above. I, too, wonder how I will manage it all. I mean, I am 45, and all my life I have been this wallflower who would rather stay on the periphery and watch all the fun than approach strangers and converse with them. Mingle with them.

Ahem…I feel like telling my darling sis, “I don’t mingle, lady..I prefer to stay single!” Hehe..Bad joke, I know, but that’s how I like it.

Oh, how am I supposed to do it, dear cousin? Pray, tell me!!

“Sweetie, you just need to step out of your comfort zone!” is what will be her witty retort!

Wish me luck, people! Will keep you posted!

Tell me, dear reader, have you ever tried stepping out of your comfort zone? Or, are you contemplating doing something like what I have been asked to do? If you have ventured out of your comfort zone, how has the experience been? Do share with me your story; it will be an inspiration for me!

Love,

SHILPA…

52 Replies to “Will you step out of your comfort zone?”

  1. That’s a novel idea actually! And I can relate to your struggles πŸ™‚ I believe I am what many people call an Ambivert.
    There are times when I want to socialise and I do but then there are other instances where I’d like to be left to my own devices. However, talking to complete strangers isn’t my cup of tea either unless I happen to bump into them while trekking. Most people I meet on the mountains share a common love for the hills like me and in such cases, conversation flows by itself πŸ™‚
    Best wishes in your quest to step out of your comfort zone! I’ll love to read a post about it in the near future. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s just how I am, too. Times when I feel like socialising and times when I want to be left alone…but the problem is when I do want to socialise, I don’t find anyone and that leads to a lot of loneliness that troubles me no end!
      I am really planning on taking up my cousin’s advice and I will definitely write a post on those experiences!

      Thanks so much for sharing a little about yourself! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. OK… Introvert, sometimes ambivert to a fellow intro-ambivert: Firstly, why should being happy in our own company be dull and boring? Secondly, why should anyone’s idea of happiness be universally applicable to everyone? Thirdly, why are introverts assumed to be leading a boring unhappy life?
    I can somehow imagine exactly what you are trying to say and I have multiple answers for you. I am an introvert and I love having fun, very much, but I have my own tribe that I do it with and I feel completely at home. I don’t push myself to do something just for the sake of it, because that doesn’t make me happy, rather it makes me nervous… And you can’t have fun when you are nervous. Sorry for the long comment. Hope I am making some sense. 😬
    Do what makes you happy… (if it is going out and making new friends or staying comfy at home)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The problem with me, Kalpana, is that I don’t have any such tribe of my own, like you do. So, often times, when I really want to have some adult human conversation, I don’t find anyone around. I have three close friends but who stay far away, and with whom I can talk only on the phone and that too not on a daily basis. SO, there are times when I want people and there isn’t anybody there and that feeling is so scary. I feel stifled in my own space sometimes…the same space that I consider sacred at others. And, you know, when the mind is in such a situation, there are all sorts of horrid thoughts that are too much to tolerate. That’s the reason my cousin keeps boosting and coaxing me to go out! πŸ™‚

      Thank you for sharing your views, K!

      Like

      1. A big bear hug to you dear πŸ€—πŸ€—β€οΈβ€οΈ I totally understand that feeling Shilpa… And at times like that you do need to get out to clear your head and have some heart to heart conversation ar just some human interaction to get our mind off…I guess I got all defensive thinking you needed some support (intro to intro) … You know what I mean πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ So silly of me really…Now that you clarified, I completely agree with your cousin. ❀️❀️

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Aww.. .That was so sweet of you, dear K! πŸ’–It does feel good knowing that someone out there, who has never met you in real life, can get so defensive about you!! Thank you !πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

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      3. Now, coming to the question in your post, I have a few interesting ideas to share. Very recently I have started doing something I hadn’t mustered courage to do earlier..that is, signing up for workshops or sessions that interests me. Previously I was very apprehensive about being in a space with strangers (I always wanted to be in a familiar surrounding) But off late, since I ventured into this, I find it quite interesting. After the first such event, I have promised myself that I would take up anything that interests me and just go for it even if I initially feel hesitant… A few such sessions were Soap making, Photography and this Friday I will be attending a Madhubani tote bag designing workshop. Not only do we learn something we like, we end up meeting like-minded people. I think you should definitely try this dear 😊 please do, I am sure you will love it.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Book club, maybe? I’m a happy introvert. I like (some) people fine – I’m not antisocial. But the idea of socializing JUST to socialize? Does not compute. πŸ˜‰ But I think that socializing over a book, or a shared interest, like blogging, makes sense. I hope the coffee shop idea works out for you. But only do it FOR YOU. Don’t twist yourself into a pretzel because it’s anyone else’s idea of what you “should” do.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Thank you, Holly, for the suggestion! No, I won’t do anything for someone else…whatever I do, it will be just for myself. Despite being an introvert, there are times, I crave human interaction which I can’t find and then that really brings me down. it can get depressing, at times. So, I am definitely going to try it out..maybe a place or an activity that suits my nature and liking. πŸ™‚

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  3. Shilpa eversince I started therapy I am doing exactly this, trying to step out of my comfort zone and try new things. For example I revamped my wardrobe this Durga Puja and bought clothes in colours that usually I never wear, for example I have always avoided colours like pink yellow, however this time i bought clothes in those colours and to my surprise I got compliments, I even tried yellow nailpolish πŸ˜‚ it is good to surprise ourselves.. I actually felt happy and confident after stepping out of the comfort zone. Great post Shilpa

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Balaka, that is just the reason I asked you to help me out! πŸ™‚

      I know these little things can change our mindset in a jiffy, provided we are open to that change. And, although I feel that I like my space and prefer staying away from people, the reality–which i am not ready to accept–is that I need people..to socialise with, to talk with and have a good time with. Sadly, there aren’t very many people I can talk to and even those that are here, I fail to gather the guts to approach them and begin a conversation with!

      I liked the idea of revamping the wardrobe, so I am going to make some calls to you, too! ❀ Maybe that change will give me some push to get out of my shell!

      Like

  4. I am a bit of a contradiction. I am an introvert that doesn’t do well with isolation. I am someone who loves the unexpected but if I don’t watch myself, I will fall in to boring routines and then feel sad and uninspired until I realize what I’m doing.

    So yes – I try to push myself out of all my comfort zones all the time. Probably the best thing I ever did was to take improv classes because it did what you talked about. It incrementally pushed me beyond what I was comfortable with and showed me that when I was doing those things, nothing terrible happened and I even had a bit of fun. Gradually I got to the point where I, a huge introvert, had no trouble getting up on stage in front of 30-50 people and helping make up a comedy show on the spot. Since then I haven’t done that in a long time and my comfort zone in this respect has contracted but I want to start pushing it again because it feels so good to succeed in going beyond it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, Todd, you performed live in front of 30-50 people?? And, you are an introvert!! I so wish I could do that, too!
      You know, I have this dream where I am not an introvert, but am an outgoing person who can talk in front of a crowd without an iota of stage fright or nervousness. But, the fear of people and getting judged by them is what holds me back. Also, the inability of making small talk holds me back. That is what I need to change and that’s why my sis keeps urging me to get out of the house! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah – small talk is still really hard for me with people I don’t know. It’s getting better, though. But yes, performing got easier and easier. Which isn’t to say I wasn’t nervous or didn’t ever worry about what they thought. It was just through practice that I got to where I cared a whole lot less.

        My wife is a professional storyteller and has had to perform in front of some even bigger audiences. She also teaches storytelling classes. One of the first things she tells people is how shy she is – which they don’t always believe but it is totally true. She is shy but has learned how to manage really well in social and performing situations.

        Of course after a big social situation both of us want to go back home and recharge with some alone time. πŸ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

  5. You need to, Shilpa, in all honesty. It is not healthy to be cooped up at home all the time. I need to step out of the house at least once a day if not more. Personally, I am more of an ambivert, I enjoy company sometimes and at other times not so much. But, of late, I make more of an effort to socialise. Just recently an old friend chided me about why I was not so active socially. Hence, I am trying more now. It is actually very therapeutic to talk, even do small talk. You never know which new friends you may meet. I think the cafe idea is great. Take a book and go every day for a few days. And yes go get a new wardrobe. Nothing lifts the spirits like some good old fashioned retail therapy. I have been buying some interesting lipsticks and I buy new clothes once entire few months. Don’t be happy sitting at home lost in books and writing. There is so much more that the works has to offer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rachna, my cousin is going to be so happy to read your comment!!

      True, I know I need to get out of my house. You know, I do go for a walk, and even at those times, I cringe if I meet some acquaintance and fear what if they join me for a walk..I will have to talk to them!!

      Yeah, I will get out of my comfort zone, for sure. It will take a lot of preparation on my part and a lot of mustering of courage, but I know that if I don’t do it, I will be the one to suffer. However much I like my space, sometimes, the loneliness can get too much to bear!

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  6. I have always been an introvert. More aptly, I am not much of a “talking” person. Silence is often perceived as a sign of disinterest, non-participation, and weakness. I feel silence is a virtue. It helps you think and imagine. Noise and chaos are detrimental to creativity.

    I have learned to be more silent. I don’t enjoy discussing world peace and career plans with strangers we meet at public events and family functions. It’s useless. The moment we walk out of that room, no one remembers. No one cares. Unless there’s any mutually beneficial information that we exchange through that conversation. Else it’s a sheer waste of energy.

    In this age of shameless marketing, you apparently need to be extremely vocal in publicizing your achievements.

    https://wordskraft.com/2018/09/06/3-silence-is-a-virtue-not-a-weakness/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I agree. But, for me, personally, I have begun to notice that if I don’t have any adult human conversations in a day, I feel miserable. And, so, in spite of me enjoying my silence and my space where I can create, write and read to my heart’s content, I need to get out and learn to mingle with people. We humans being social animals, I have realised that a little bit of socialisation is good for health.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. My husband keeps telling me this. I am forever in my house, doing something at my tiny work station in the bedroom or reading a book or playing with the toddler. I have become so unsocial that I wonder how I used to be such an outgoing person before. But this Durga Puja brought out a whacky side of me that had taken a backseat post mom’s demise. I let my hair down and indulged in the craziest of adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And, I am glad you did it, Sonia! That’s just what I need to do..I have become way too serious and quiet because of this nature of mine that makes me stifled at times. However, there is this fear in me, a complex, if I can call it that, that makes me wonder what will people think about me, and that is what stops me from going out and having fun!

      I so need to change!!!

      Like

    1. Of course, Shalini…I will definitely do that! From all that I have read in these comments here, is that we have but one life to enjoy….live it to the fullest! πŸ™‚ Let’s give each other some company in getting out of our comfort zones…What say? ❀

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  8. Shilpa, I am somebody who genuinely believes there is so much to explore and so much to experience in this world. Every person we meet has a story to tell, sometimes when we share our stories with strangers they redefine them with their own perspectives.
    Do everything that you can… life has so much to offer, grab everything … it’s too short to stay inside comfort zones. I know you can ….just try once… and that very moment you will feel your wings
    Love & Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are such a positive, brave soul, Bhavna! I loved the way you look at the world and totally loved the way you encouraged me to go all out and enjoy this short, uncertain period that I am going to be here!

      Thank you so much! I will definitely try. It will take some time to get over the fear and the shyness, but with practice, I am sure I will overcome it all!

      Am looking forward to doing a post on how I did it and came out of my comfort zone! πŸ™‚

      ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I am an introvert but I love being social and chatting with people and getting to know them. I used to be socially anxious but in 2013, I made a motto for the year to get out of my comfort zone. It was the best thing I ever did and I’ve written about it a lot on the blog. I pushed myself to go to things I never did, join Meetup groups. That gave me the courage to start doing more. With social anxiety, the best thing is gradual exposure. The more you do it, the easier it gets. Courage is not about not feeling afraid, it’s being afraid but doing it anyway. Also, introversion and shyness/social anxiety are very different. When I want ‘me time’, I can still go to a cafe by myself and write – that’s my introverted haven. Or to the beach on my own and read even though there are others around. It recharges me. Introversion does not necessarily equate to homebound or being unable to socialise.

    You and I have so much to talk about when we meet πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I liked that idea of making a motto of fighting the one thing that holds you back. I so need to do that, Sanch. I need to get over this shyness and the fear. I also get anxious about whether I will be able to speak intelligently in front of people I haven’t met. Will I make sense, will the words come out of my mouth or will I make a fool of myself? The fear of public speaking pulls me back, too.

      Like you, I think I need to make a motto of going out, into an alien space and learning to talk….just talk. What can possibly go wrong? And, how long will someone remember how I goofed up?

      You are right..you and I have a LOT to talk about. Maybe you could give me pointers on how to manage this fear! πŸ™‚

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  10. Shilpa, try toastmasters! Thats one thing I did out of my comfort zone . You meet people and you speak in front of them. Prepared speeches, impromptu speeches .. you can be a guest and a silent observer for as long as you like, until you muster enough courage to jump into it.

    I keep reminding myself that the only way to grow is to remove the limitations that bind you, fears that stop you.

    My mission from last year was overcome my fear. I have stage fright .. and my weakness is summarizing my thoughts with clarity while speaking. So i went and joined myself in toastmasters!

    Just do it gal ! You will surprise yourself !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OH MY GOSH!! Sampada, just thinking about it gives me cold feet!! But, you are so right. If there is something that holds us back because of our fears, then we ought to do just what we fear doing! It is a fantasy, of being bold enough to speak in front of people. Now, only if I muster enough courage and actually try it out will I be able to turn the fantasy into reality!

      I will give it a thought…serious thought…pakka!!
      Thanks, gal! ❀

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  11. Shilpa, I love you for writing this honest post. Your cousin is right, just step out – what is the worse that can happe? Just think of all the scenarios and you will realise there is nothing that you can’t handle. I know you like your own company, but others are not so bad too! Try us out! We won’t bite you, I promise! ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha! Anshuuuuu!!! I know you won’t bite! πŸ˜›
      It’s these days that I not only enjoy my company, but also yearn for other adult company–as I am either in avian or kiddie company all day long. So, yes, I am going to try …and as you said, what can possibly go wrong? Nothing that I won’t be able to handle…So, just wish me luck! ❀

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  12. Babe, I somehow think you are the warmest person I have ever known and this is without meeting you πŸ™‚

    And you know? The same thing is true of me as an introvert. I prefer to stay at home, be by myself. I am content with my home, my books and my me-time. But if it gives you anxiety, then yes, do what your cousin suggests. Don’t push too hard to make conversation. Sometimes it will happen naturally. Other times it won’t. Don’t stress πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love being at home, in my own company, Shy. But, since some time now, I feel the anxiety rise from evening onwards. If hubby isn’t home early, I begin getting jittery. If I have a good book to read, I forget it all, but there are times that I crave some adult human conversation, which I don’t find in the apartment complex I reside in. I so wish to step out, make new friends, or at least acquaintances, and learn to make sensible conversations, come out of my shell. It does get stifling at times! 😦

      Keeping fingers crossed!
      ❀

      Like

  13. Wow!! This one seems like a huge step out for you Shilpa but it will make such a difference that you will be amazed. Workshops / book clubs, photowalks, etc are a great way to meet strangers.

    It can be very daunting at first but then you will enjoy it yourself only! Bu tlike you said stepping out of the ocmfort zone is the biggest thing and only if you dare to step out, will you get there.

    I agree with Shailaja – you are one of the warmest persons across the E-waves and I am also saying this without meeting you! Folks will be lucky to make your acquaintance and be glad of your company!

    So get out of your zone and find the new normal for yourself!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Shalz!
      Yes, it is going to be a big step for me, but, let me see….I will do it if and when I feel comfy. Stepping out of my comfort zone on an impulse and repenting later is not what I want, but then I also want to make a minute change in myself…But, as I said, lets see….! πŸ™‚

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  14. Shalz, it is indeed going to be a HUGE step for me…it’s something I have never attempted. So, yes, I am nervous, but at the same time, I do want a social life…It’s been really long since I have been living the life of a hermit!

    I just wish I had as much as guts as you do, babe! I do fear getting tongue-tied in front of strangers!

    Thanks for the encouragement, Shalz! I so need it all! ❀

    Like

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