F*ck Your Comfort Zone: 5 Times To Really Embrace A Little Discomfort

by Olivia O'Sullivan

No one likes feeling uncomfortable; sometimes, it seems as though we are actually afraid of the feeling.

While avoiding the uncomfortable middle seat during long flights, or deciding to wear sensible shoes for a night on the town is one thing, avoiding discomfort because we are unsure or afraid is another.

This fear translates negatively into our lives, and we end up missing out on genuine relationships and exciting experiences. Why? We are too afraid of trying, too afraid of failure and too afraid to just see what happens.

For most, we live a life of comfort in which technology allows us instant gratification and a sense of consistency.

Computers and cell phones allow us to remain in our stagnant spheres as much as we like. We go out to dinner and check our phones, disregard chit-chat with strangers by listening to music and zone out by scrolling through Instagram instead of talking with relatives. We’re afraid of stepping into new territory to try new things.

This aversion to discomfort often leads to avoiding any person or situation that makes us feel uncomfortable. Although many things may bring initial discomfort, they often end in reward. By trying new things, we are able to expand our horizons and learn more not only about ourselves, but also about others.

With the new year just beginning, it’s time to stop running away from the discomfort and realize there are times we need to embrace it.

When On Public Transportation

Sure, you can glance at your phone occasionally on the bus or the train ride, but take a second to absorb everything around you. Look at the window and watch what’s happening outside. Take the time to have a conversation with someone.

Compliment someone; share a smile; exchange greetings. You don’t have to strike up some deep conversation with every person you encounter, but make the extra effort to pull yourself out of your phone, embrace the discomfort and talk to someone.

You never know who you may end up meeting.

When Going Abroad

If you’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to go abroad and travel, take advantage of it. Although there may be brief periods of homesickness and nerves that leave you moping in bed, remember all the adventures that await.

Try new foods, take a hike, visit a museum, bask at the beach and meet new friends. You’re better off getting a little lost, or trying something you end up not liking than avoiding any risks and not finding anything new you end up loving.

When Applying for a Job or Internship

Sometimes, the fear of failing can cause a lot of discomfort. We like succeeding, and a lot of times, we decide not to put ourselves “out there” in situations where we might fail.

This is definitely true when it comes to applying for jobs and internships. Instead of playing safe, reach big. Find your dream job or internship, even if attaining it seems impossible, and apply. Put yourself out there. You may surprise yourself with how it works out.

When Moving to a New City

Change is always a source of anxiety. We live in a society that revolves around routine. Usually, the biggest jump and routine shift of our early adult lives occurs when we head off to college.

Moving to a new city, with new surroundings and people can be nerve-wracking, but ultimately rewarding. For some, this jump occurs at different times, whether it be moving out of your parents' house or moving in with someone for the first time.

Although we like holding on to the people, things and places that make us feel comfortable, sometimes, change is necessary. Don’t feel restricted by location. Find a city, a town, a place you can truly call home; make the jump and move.

Don’t worry; there will be new friends waiting to be made wherever you go.

When Going Out on a Date

Just do it. Go, even if you think you have nothing to wear or nothing to talk about. Take the chance and go. What’s the worst that could happen? If you have a less-than-ideal night, just move on. Who knows, maybe you’ll strike up a great conversation and really hit it off. Stop finding excuses to spare the awkward, uncomfortable small talk and go on a date.

This year, take a crazy salsa dancing class, try yoga, give the cutie at the bar your number. Embrace the discomfort and expand your horizons. As cheesy as it may sound, embrace the never-ending mantra of “new year, new you.”

Keep all the aspects you enjoy, step out of your established comfort and explore everything waiting to be discovered. You’re sure to find something great.