My cousin is one of the bravest persons I know. Constantly engaged with her feelings. There are many people (especially in my family) who just go out there in the world, see places and people; someone might call them adventurous and brave. Leaving to Alaska without knowing anyone or anything to sail on a boat fishing the whole day, dropping everything and going to live in South Africa for a few months, selling all their belongings to live somewhere on the road in a caravan…adventurous yes, very adventurous, brave… I am not sure. For what I know, it did not cost them a lot of effort to leave behind what might be called ‘home’ because it did not entail leaving a comfort zone. However, for my cousin it does. Leaving her home means leaving her comfort zone. And still this does not withhold her from travelling, moving around, going see places and meeting people… she conquers her fear every time and more than that she keeps reflecting on her zone and herself. This is a text she wrote about ‘getting out of your comfort zone’ that she shared with me and that I would like to share with you:

Getting out of your comfort zone

“Getting out of your comfort zone is frightening but more than that it is enlightening. When I first heard about comfort zones I imagined a warm and cosy place – like my bed. But now I know rather what is actually meant are everyday situations and settings that you feel most comfortable in. And each person has their very own comfort zones.

When you are about to leave your comfort zone you experience an awkward feeling deep down in yourself, growing stronger and stronger. The first time I felt it I was about to move to Perugia, Italy, for half a year. The day before I left it felt as if my whole body was rebelling against me leaving my parents’ house.  My stomach ached and my head hurt. My legs were shaking and my heart was beating just by the thought of leaving. But then I was there – in Perugia. And I had one of the best times of my life.

Another time, I spent the whole summer in Australia. The feeling before leaving was the same, but this time I wasn’t as scared as last time because I knew I will do okay. And I did. As soon as I got over my fear of the unknown I was able to benefit from the differences between me and the people I met. I became acquainted with new perspectives on life and started questioning my own reality. I learned that there isn’t always the one correct answer and that there are many different elements influencing our way of thinking and feeling.

Last year I moved to Bremen for my studies and there too I met a lot of new people with new opinions. I wanted to feel as comfortable as possible having in mind that I am going to live here for the next years. So, I adopted the opinions of my new friends without comparing them to my own. During that time, I got very sad and unhappy. I pushed too hard to understand others’ perspectives and underestimated my own. I have realised that half a year later and have started working on it. Today I am happy to be in Bremen and to have two places that I call home.

If I had been scared to leave my comfort zone, I would have missed a lot of experiences that helped me in my personal development and formed my character. I learned that there is always a different perspective and if you are stuck, you only have to change it.”