People will often tell you to step outside your comfort zone, as if where you are right now is detrimental to your overall well-being.
If you come away from this article with anything in mind, let it be this: There is no comfort zone.
Nothing exciting or miraculous happens when you leave it. What you seek is where you are, and when you let go of that which you fear the most, the world opens to endless possibilities.
I used to shove myself to the edges of this zone, hoping the adventure, happiness and balance I sought were out there somewhere.
I thought by changing how I lived, I could feel out who I thought I should be.
I plastered my walls with posters and quotes of motivation and inspiration, so I could keep my intention going every morning when I opened my eyes.
In my heart of hearts, I believed I kept myself truly sheltered from being more social, more adventurous and more loving.
So, I changed.
I ripped off the introverted facade and painfully entered the world. I became a shadow of a social butterfly, who wanted nothing more than to be comfortably alone.
I pulled myself to events, parties and workshops that subtly nudged me into the limelight.
But that, in actuality, made me feel even smaller.
I made plans for extraneous trips and life-changing improvements that would take me away from a regular job and into some hippy tour of the world with a "backpack and a dream."
But for who?
I am a chick in my 20s, with bills and confusion (and sometimes, a pack of cigs for that really bad night).
My mom always begs me to find a boyfriend. I am no more privy to life's secrets than anyone else.
But there is something profound I've learned.
When you find out what you're scared of, everything that you believed kept you back now guides you forward.
Every fake smile and pretentious moment, when you wished you were someone else, disappears.
Why? Because f*ck a life in which you can't be who you are: raw and unapologetic.
1. Your journey is your own.
Life is not better for that skydiver or yoga teacher who travels the world. Their lives are filled with the same fears, obstacles and questions as yours.
But we only look at the surface, so we assume their life is better. So, we dedicate our time and attention to "living a life outside of our comfort zones."
We push aside our own characteristics -- shy, introverted, simple, relaxed, careful, logical -- and pull in traits that make us feel like someone we're not. But we feel we should be this person.
Your journey is your own. It's not worth more or less because of where you live, what you do or how you do it. It's worth anything and nothing, because of how you see it and live it.
So live it proudly. Live it the way you truly, genuinely want.
2. Know everyone fights their own battles, even when you can't see them.
On the surface, we have everything. We have money, power, time, adventure and love. But life is not about the surface.
If anything, the surface is a transparent shield.
If you learn to look a bit closer at what's underneath, you'll see we all have our struggles that we fight each and every day. There is nothing any comfort zone can do to remove those fights.
What we can bypass is the fear of not having that money, power, time, adventure and love. When the surface is cleared, we stand in comparison to no one but ourselves.
Side by side, we see the goodness in everyone and the equality in every journey. The journey is your own, but the intention is the same: love and be loved.
3. Nothing can hurt you if you don't give it the power to.
Not a damn thing. We fail, but we fail because we're scared, not because we're not good enough.
Every day is a start to something better and bigger than yourself. You don't have to step outside any comfort zone to find it. It is where you are.
The answers to your life are with you.
To reach out and remove that shield is a noble and ultimate task,yet, it's as simple as it gets. Nothing can hurt you when you can't fear it.
I've spent many years of my life hoping, one day, I'll be the person I was meant to be. I waited and hoped, and I circled my comfort zone like a lone puppy.
In that waiting, hoping and circling, I turned my back on the many blessings that were right there, waiting and hoping for me.
Don't wait. Don't hope. Most of all, don't let fear be the reason you can't see the goodness in your life.
You are worth the work.