“Great things never come from comfort zones.”
“Life begins when you step out of your comfort zone.”
“Comfort zones are great, but nothing grows there.”
“Fear is a sign that you’re at the edge of your comfort zone. That’s where greatness is made.”
I have come across these “inspirational” quotes all through my Instagram and Facebook feeds recently and, honestly, I understand the sentiment of pushing yourself to grow, but as someone with anxiety, I do that every day in various forms already. I am simply working hard to grow enough to find my comfort zone.
I find it difficult to read these, especially on my bad days, but that’s kind of social media summed up – often bad for you, but it’s especially worse on your lowest days. So, I just wanted to put something out into the blog-o-sphere that would mirror something that many people who suffer from anxiety feel – more undue pressure to be “great” when “normal” is already difficult enough.
Those words, “great” and “normal” are extremely subjective so I put them in quotes. But let’s agree there are societal baselines for what those words generally mean. And it’s absolutely, completely, 100% okay to be aiming for “normal”, because for you, for me, for many people in our communities, that is great in and of itself.
Anxiety is already like you’re living in fear every day. If you get out of bed and go to work despite waking up in an inexplicable panic – that’s great. If you attend that party where you only know one person – that’s great. If you tell someone how you’re feeling (good or bad), being honest and up-front after preparing what you’re going to say for days – that’s great. Leaving your apartment, even for a walk, when all you want to do is stay curled up in your comfortable home – that’s great.
Everybody has their own fears that they battle daily, and for those of us with anxiety, we really don’t have to stretch ourselves too far to do something that scares us. It’s finding that “normal”, comfortable zone where you discover, “hey, that party wasn’t so bad, but maybe I won’t go to another one for a few months because that was enough for me for a while” - that’s what’s important. Find your boundaries. Sometimes push to that “normal” and find where your boundaries lie that don’t make you too anxious.
I must note, however, that if you are truly struggling on a daily basis it is important to seek help from a professional – a social worker, counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist – that you trust that can help guide you to find that comfort zone of greatness.
So, take those inspirational Instagram and Facebook posts with a grain of salt. Understand that as a person with anxiety, you are already pushing yourself everyday – and that’s great! And for you, that “comfort zone” is probably your goal. Find your path to that place where you can finally breathe a sigh of relief and know you are truly comfortable – and in so doing, you will have accomplished something amazing.