If trying new things were easy, would you do more things outside of your comfort zone? Would you explore every possible activity if they were not challenging you?
I for one, would absolutely do it. Unfortunately, that is not the case in our world. There is a certain type of vulnerability that we all feel when we do something new, something out of our routines. It forces us out of our comfort zones. Now, if you do not like venturing out of your comfort zone, I suggest you keep reading, because I am about to share with you some strategies to make first times easier on you, mentally and emotionally. Now, all of this I have learned from a beautiful soul, Brené Brown. I advise you all to give her podcast, Unlocking Us, a listen!
Naming the situation, the first time, is the key way to start handling it. Okay, I’m experiencing a TFT (terrible first time). Naming and owning things gives us power.
“Power is the ability to affect change and achieve purpose.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Normalize How You Feel.
I think it is first important to address the fact that first times are uncomfortable. But that is NORMAL!! It’s a beautiful thought, it’s normal to feel uncomfortable, frustrated, vulnerable. It will be hard. Normalize that feeling. Being new is hard, and it’s okay, it’s supposed to be hard. Accept that. The foundation of courage is learning how to stay standing during the discomfort. Knowing we have the strength to come out on the other side with new habits, new experiences, new understandings, is how we can get braver with our hearts, and lead a life in discomfort.
“This is exactly how I am supposed to feel.” “This is uncomfortable because brave is uncomfortable.”
This is not permanent! This feeling will not last. You will not always be bad at this new activity!
Now, I am living in a couple of TFT’s at the moment. I have been trying to do yoga for about a year now. For those of you who know me, you know that I am stiff as a board, so it has been incredibly hard for me to keep going because I can’t do the splits or a forward fold, but I also know that in this practice it takes YEARS to develop those skills. So whenever I find myself frustrated, I take a step back and tell myself to not give up, because I know that if I keep going I will “get better” at it.
I don’t know about you guys, but this is my first global pandemic. We are all collectively going through a TFT together. And it has been hard, but we have had no other choice but to adapt to the new world around us. To have courage to try new things, like fully remote school/work, a lot of people had to become teachers on top of being parents, people lost jobs, homes, loved ones. We had to learn how to social distance, not hug our friends and family, and the people who were close to us could not be any further.
Reality Check Your Expectations.
We, as humans, have terrible expectations for first times. You are not going to get good at something new right off the bat. We set ourselves up right from the beginning for disaster. People tend to be scared of that vulnerability, and then don’t do anything because they are scared to make a fool of themselves. If we don’t have any expertise, or tools, we don’t do it at all. And I think that’s even scarier than vulnerability. Life teaches us that we can’t fast forward through the hardships, even though we wish we could.
“When we give up being new and awkward, we stop growing. And when we stop growing, we stop living.”
The more you embrace the terrible experiences, the more you are willing to try.
Universal Reality Check: This is a heavier lift than what we expected. Emotionally, mentally, and physically, this is harder than I thought it was going to be, and it’s scary.
It might take twice as long, be twice as hard, but one day you will look back on that TFT, and say, “Remember when that was so hard?” But that’s why we do it.
Right now, you should accept that for the rest of your life, you will have to do things that are out of your comfort zone. It’s the way that this life works. But, you can set yourself up for success by normalizing how you feel, changing your perspective towards a TFT’s, and reality checking your expectations.
For years now I have followed this group, known as Yes Theory. Their whole goal is to push people to live in discomfort, to say yes to every opportunity that crosses their path. It is truly an inspiring group to watch, and everyday it just helps me understand that once you push yourself to discomfort, that thing becomes comfortable. It helps you to keep pushing the limits and to truly chase everything you want in this life.
I hope this message finds you well. The world is your oyster.
With love, Jaclyn.