In spending the last year with myself and figuring out what it is I want, what makes me happy and who I want to be, I've discovered a lot of lessons. Some of them were big "a-ha" moments where I felt my Earth shake a little bit. Others have been less intense but important nonetheless. Ironically, as I've created a list of non-negotiables with men I'm also creating one for myself. Things I absolutely won't put up with me doing any more. Things I need to be happy that absolutely, positively (and quite frankly) cannot be fucked with by anyone, me included.
The list itself is really only important to me and not something that anyone else needs to read every word of. It's not something I'm even recording or writing down. I understand it's flexible, it'll mold and revise itself as time goes on. But the core values of it will remain the same.
One of these values is to travel outside of my comfort zone. I have admitted (many times on this very blog) my aversion to change. I'm not a big fan of large changes. I love traditions and repetition. Where others mind find this boring and vanilla, I thrive on knowing what's coming next.
However, my whole life can't be one large routine. I can't live in the comfort zone through all of it. My ex-boyfriend used to lightly chastise me for my love of routine. I like to order what I know when I eat a restaurant. I'm not always first in line to try something new. It upset him that I didn't want to try new things all the time. My routines occasionally bothered him. And while I do owe him credit for getting me to try things that I now love (namely Japanese and Indian food), for the most part I still hover around what I love. I do believe there is such a thing as too much time outside the comfort zone.
I don't think someone else can force you to live outside the box of your comfort zone. I think in doing so you end up associating animosity towards the place outside the box. You feel forced and anxious and hesitant. We need to push ourselves outside of what we're comfortable with, and I believe we do, when we're ready...or when life gives us no choice. This is when growth happens and strength is realized. There are sometimes where people in our life help us out a little bit. They see the strength and ability before we do and offer a gentle encouragement.
Last night I attended my favorite yoga class. I enjoy this class and I even look forward to it now. (A big change from yoga experiences of the past.) We were half way through class when Betsy (who had been pushing it a little harder than usual through the first half) said to us, "We're going to try a little circus trick." (This is a big part of why I love this particular yoga class, Betsy is not pretentious. She does not talk about some of the whackadoodle stuff I've heard in other Yoga classes. She says things like "circus tricks". However, she is extremely knowledgeable, explains the benefits of each pose without it sounding like she hit the bong on the way over. No offense, of course.)
The circus trick was hard, most of the class opted for the modified position without even giving it a go. That was my plan too after I tried one trick and failed miserably. But Betsy caught me out of the corner of her eye and came over to cheer me on to try again. She pushed me and helped me figure out what was going wrong. And when I tried again I did it! And then successfully completed three more tries of the circus trick. I felt strong and competent (two things I RARELY feel in yoga.) The challenge was presented and instead of convincing myself I couldn't do it - with Betsy's help - I did it. I thanked her after class for pushing me a little harder. And gave her permission to keep pushing me, although I have to say, it felt so good to accomplish something in Yoga, I might not need her help the next time.
Each time a little baby step like that happens it helps to reaffirm my belief in my abilities, my strength and my confidence. There's a whole lot I can do that I'll never know if I don't give it a try.