Literally every time I would complain to my mom about not having met the bae of my dreams, she would let out an exasperated sigh and insist that the solution to my problems was simply to "put myself out there." And I would roll my eyes and wonder, "WTF does that actually even mean? " Seriously, what does it mean to “put yourself out there”? I'm sorry, but for a phrase that is thrown around so often, it's not quite as self-explanatory as it may seem.
With all of the modern comforts of home — like Netflix, internet shopping, delivery, and wine — finding a reason to leave your sacred inner sanctum to be "out there" can definitely present a challenge, especially if you live in a big city where leaving your apartment to run the smallest of errands feels like it will deplete what little is left of your life force. But, my low-key laziness aside, I soon came to realize that "putting yourself out there" is just a nice way of reminding you to not get caught in your comfort zone. Life is much too short to constantly prioritize staying in that comfort zone over your own personal growth. I spoke with Dr. Martha Tara Lee, a clinical sexologist (DHS, MA, BA), dating expert, and founder of Eros Coaching, to get her take on what it means to "put yourself out there," once and for all.
"To me, [putting yourself out there] means doing things you are afraid of, coming out of your shell and reaching out to others," Dr. Lee tells Elite Daily, adding, "It's easy to get caught up in the same thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes by doing and being the same-old." But it's important to realize that breaking up these periods of auto-pilot by stepping out of your comfort zone is all part of what it means to open up to life's possibilities.
According to Dr. Lee, there are lots of productive ways to go about being more open and engaged with the world.
"Attending a networking event if you don't usually socialize, signing up for a speed-dating event if you haven't dated for a while, or setting up a tea or lunch with a long-lost friend," are a few of the things she recommends.
While putting yourself out there is about so much more than just dating, the phrase itself is often presented as a solution for a seemingly unsatisfying romantic life. If your main goal is meeting someone, putting yourself out there may require you to step out break out of your current dating routine. This might mean trying a new dating app, swiping right to more people who might not be your usual "type," talking to cute strangers when you're out and about, or finally asking your crush to grab a coffee. It's all about trying something new.
Life is made up of a long chain of cause-and-effect. Who knows what interesting and meaningful experiences could result from deciding to do something that you wouldn't normally do? Maybe you'll meet the person of your dreams where you least expected it, maybe you'll discover a new passion you never knew you had — but you'll never know if you don't put in the effort to seize the day.
"When we open up ourselves to life, we get new (amid slight shifts of consciousnesses) experiences, insights, and paradigm shifts. Our lives can be richer and fuller for it, so be brave and put yourself out there," urges Dr. Lee.
And while being out of your comfort zone can range from slightly uncomfortable to down-right terrifying depending on the situation, every opportunity is a chance to grow into the best version of yourself. Everyone deserves to be able to live their best life and find contentment. By challenging yourself to be "out there" whenever you can, you are that much closer to achieving your goals, and the dreams you might not even knew you had.