The process of socialization starts the minute we enter this world. Children are raised to eat the food their parents give them, share the knowledge their peers impart to them, walk, sing and talk the way their neighbors show them. We progressively fall into a bubble, a safe space, that we don’t want to leave. Why? Because that is where we are comfortable.
Comfort sounds like bliss, but there is no room for growth if we don’t step outside of our created socialization.
Discomfort enables personal development that is equally beneficial to the world around you. It’s easy to fall into the trap of your immediate world when you are around the people that made you. Only you can strive to further your understanding. College fosters cultural and personal development. A college campus is the best place to step outside of your normal social circles, make yourself uncomfortable, and grow from it.
Synonyms for “comfortable” are cozy, pleasant, and restful, so it makes sense why people have no desire to leave their comfort zone. When experiencing discomfort, our instinct is to strive to find peace again. But it is imperative to learn to deal with uncomfort in a constructive manner. It’s the only way to grow.
Here are 4 ways to manage and grow from your discomfort.
1. Identifying Discomfort
The first step towards growth is identifying your discomfort. Stepping outside your comfort zone is not always as blatant as an impromptu trip to El Salvador. It could be as simple as speaking up in class or voicing your opinion to your peers.
Dig deep and ask yourself why you are unwilling to be discomforted. Is it fear of rejection and failure? Or is there social pressure to keep your ideologies and practices mirrored to your friends and family? In order to legitimize fear and insecurities, you need to identify the source. From there you can work towards growth. Soledad O’Brien, a journalist and broadcaster, has addressed the concept of fear. “I’ve learned that fear limits you and your vision,” O’Brien said. “It serves as blinders to what may be just a few steps down the road for you. The journey is valuable, but believing in your talents, your abilities, and your self-worth can empower you to walk down an even brighter path. Transforming fear into freedom – how great is that?”
2. Don’t Make Excuses
Excuses only keep people stagnant. There is no room for improvement if you are slowed down by your own excuses. Choose the harder path and take risks. You will learn from it, and it will make you a better, well-rounded person.
This applies personally, in the classroom, and in the professional world. If you want to attend a friend’s church, but your mother wouldn’t approve of it, act independently. If you have aspirations to be a pre-med major, but your older brother told you it was too hard, do it anyway. Apply to a job on the opposite side of the country, and go through with it. The worst thing that could happen is failure, and failure breeds growth.
3. Choose Discomfort
Whether it means calling someone to rekindle a broken friendship, leaving everyday life behind to study abroad in Asia, or merely talking to a professor after class, the aspects of life that this rule applies to are countless. Don’t let discomfort shy you away, instead look at it as a personal goal that you can work towards achieving. With repeated practice of facing discomfort, fewer things will make you uneasy. You will look towards previously frightening tasks with an open mind.
If you experience failure, which you will, don’t let it kill your self esteem. Use it as ammunition to motivate yourself for the future. Low self-esteem only fuels tendencies to avoid discomfort. People become afraid of failure and stick to what they know. When failure isn’t dwelled upon, but resolved, it can catapult you into a future of success.
4. Tackle your Discomfort/Fear
Find it within yourself to eliminate fear and worry, because they prohibit growth. Look at a tough decision as an opportunity. If a professor or boss asks you to do something outside of your comfort zone, reach and take it as an opportunity to impress yourself. Strike up conversations with people you wouldn’t normally address. Take opportunities to travel and study in foreign regions. If you treat discomfort and fear as tool to motivate growth, you will find yourself successfully stepping outside of your socialization.
Don’t be afraid of being uncomfortable. Embrace it to help you grow and make you stronger.
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