It being January, I'm getting lots of questions about my goals for 2015, which has inspired some self-reflection. There have been dramatic shifts in my life in the last ten years, each acting as a catalyst for change and growth. While reflecting this week, I remembered a huge personal goal I set for myself a little over two years ago, that has become one of the most powerful tools I use to expand on and increase my wellness and happiness. This is that story. When I first began to really explore my wellbeing and dive into this journey of self-discovery and change, it was an intense roller coaster ride. My body went through drastic shifts and I began to dive into my mind and deal with emotional struggles. It was kind of a mess, but an extremely rewarding one. I committed to my journey 110 percent and completely surrendered to the process. This meant that I didn't leave any stone unturned.
One thing at a time, I processed through my inhibiting emotional patterns and studied each symptom that limited my body. If I was given a solution, I chased after it, no matter how much of a struggle it was. And it was a struggle. The only things keeping me going were the amazing results I was seeing. Everything was improving: my sense of self-love, my energy, my overall health, my thought patterns, my inspiration, my connection to others, my sleep, my motivation and drive, my emotional state, my confidence, etc. Bit by bit, I was letting go of the things that were dragging me down and creating a life that I had always wanted for myself.
There were a few years that just felt insane. I had stirred up everything in my life and was waiting for the dust to settle. And, finally, it did. A couple years ago everything began to feel more stable. Let me be clear here, life didn't necessarily get easier, but my internal self felt more confident, secure, and prepared to deal with any bumps in the road. I once described it by saying, "the shaky ground I've been standing on has left me feeling more solid than ever." My happiness and wellbeing became more consistent and, oddly enough, this worried me.
After experiencing years of ups and downs associated with self-growth, I was terrified that all the growing would stop once I was happy. I had become a self-growth junkie. Once afraid of change, I now reveled in it, chased it, loved it, because I usually walked away having let go of even more baggage, feeling lighter than ever, and with a deeper sense of self. I opened up about my concerns with a friend who told me that I could continue to reach new heights by choosing to do things outside my comfort zone. Embracing experiences that scared me could be a way to get my self-growth fix, while being less intense than my previous roller coaster ride. It was a way to reframe the world I lived in and made it more adventurous and exciting and less scary.
Around this same time, I had lost my cousin to suicide. His family was extremely open about the loss and used it as an opportunity to shed light on mental illness, raise awareness, and help others who struggled. This inspired me greatly. Riding the waves of this inspiration coupled with my new willingness to embrace challenges, I started a blog called Life Outside Comfort. The purpose of the blog was to tackle any test that came my way and to do it openly. I wanted to honestly convey my inner struggles in hopes of inspiring others to be more open about emotional hardships and to help people realize that we all have challenges and fears that inhibit us and that we are capable of freeing ourselves from them.
I had no idea that this blog would stop being just a blog and would become a way of life for me. It had such profound effects on my anxiety, my confidence, my fears, and my ability to be vulnerable, that it's been ingrained in me forever. In the year and a half that I kept the blog I tried online dating, took hula hoop classes, went to Zumba, began pole dancing, went white water rafting, repelling, rock climbing, I ran my first, second, and third 5k, I embraced aspects of my character that I was embarrassed or ashamed of, I was open about a terrible break up, I was honest about my emotional struggles with anxiety and depression, I even gave a public talk on Raw Aphrodisiacs. Some of the things were small and some were huge, but they all, in some way, challenged me and taught me something.
Some of the fears I challenged:
My favorite part of the whole thing is that I pushed myself to do things I've always wanted to do, but was too scared of. Slowly but surely, fear stopped ruling my life and no longer kept me down. I was now free to embrace all that the world has to offer. This doesn't mean that I no longer feel fear, or anxiety, or doubts, but that I no longer let them define or control me.
After awhile, I stopped blogging my experiences because challenging myself became such a part of my life that I couldn't keep up with it. It's something I enjoy doing and I'm excited to continue to push past my barriers and create an uninhibited life. This year and for every year, it will be a goal I set for myself.
To learn more about my commitment to discomfort check out my blog.