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Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone: How Often Do You Do It?

posted Nov 24, 2015, 6:30 AM by Kanika G   [ updated Nov 24, 2015, 8:43 PM ]

The subject came up recently when there was a deadly monstrous venomous creepy crawly in the house. Okay so it was only a caterpillar or some worm like that. But that is not how I saw it. I am terrified of worms and insects. It is an irrational fear that I have not successfully conquered. I wanted to scream and run as far away as I could but ....

The thing is I am no longer just another individual, free to yell and scream when I am frightened by something. I am a mother. So my behaviour has consequences that go beyond the depletion of my dignity.

I run the risk of passing on my irrational fears. I see my daughter observing me and taking her cues on how to react to things she hasn't seen before. I don't want my daughter to terrified of insects and I don’t want to be responsible for passing on those fears. So what do I do? Make a greater effort at conquering my fears? I have tried. In some cases I succeeded like I can pet a dog now and in other cases I failed like when it comes to the creepy crawlies.

I do my best and explain to my daughter that I am human and have my flaws and being terrified of harmless insects is one of them. I tell her that I love that she looks up to me and imitates me in so many ways but there are matters in which she should not take after me. My husband helps out by introducing her to insects and showing her that there is nothing to be frightened about.

The issues I have mentioned are obvious and easier to recognise. But there are so many subtle ways in which we influence our kids. For example I am very uncomfortable with controversy. Those of you who read my blog will notice I avoid controversial subjects as far as I can. I have rationalized that you can't really change people's beliefs unless they want to change, so why waste time trying and deal with a lot of unpleasantness in the process. But it is really the unpleasantness I want to avoid. It is not that I don't have strong opinions. It is just that I am extremely reluctant to air them.

So now I am working on an article on a controversial subject, just to step out of my comfort zone. I am still going to try to make it a balanced article, but I will try to express my opinion. I wonder if I will find the courage to publish it. But even articulating my thoughts on the matter has been a harrowing experience. Baby steps, right?

By extension I am pretty bad at handling confrontation. I tend to get defensive and upset making it difficult to make a compelling argument.

These are not qualities I am keen on passing on to my kids. At the same time these issues are not black and white. Avoiding controversy or confrontation is not bad per se. In fact very often it is the smart choice. What is wrong, is being afraid of it to the point of being paralysed by the fear.

Conquering fear is easier said than done. But ever since I have become a parent I have felt that it is important to step outside my comfort zone and make an effort. It may be a life long battle that I will never win. But I feel the need to try. Because that is how I want my kids to be. I want them to be introspective, explore their weaknesses and battle them. Succeed or not, I want them to try. After all isn't that what to we live for? To make ourselves just a little bit better everyday?