Ramadan Reflection Day 15: Being Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

Photo by Kelly Finnamore
Bismillah.

When I am outside of my comfort zone, I usually feel nervous.

I think that's normal.

When we venture into a new territory, we don't know what to expect. As a protective mechanism, we feel nervous. The nervousness turns our alarm system on so that we are alert and careful. So, in a way, it's a good thing to feel nervous, maybe even a little bit scared.

But at the same time, we have to manage this feeling so that it doesn't become a hindrance for us to explore our world. We need to explore our world. We can't stay in our bubble forever. Well, technically we can, but we shouldn't.

Nervousness typically arises from situations where I am on my own or where I am being evaluated for how I'm doing.

A good example of such a situation in public speaking. When you are in front of people, you feel like you're alone and you feel like you're being evaluated for your performance. Those are true; in a way you are alone and you are being evaluated. But then, there is a tendency to go overboard with regards to how intense you should feel nervous about it. The situations aren't as bad as you think they are. Some people say that they would rather die than do public speaking. Surely if I point a gun at you and say, "Do public speaking or I'll shoot you!", you're not going to refuse right?

We should be aware of this tendency to stretch the imagination to an unrealistic and extreme end, and find mechanisms to control it and tone it down.

Trust me. It's not that bad.

When I find myself in an unfamiliar situation where I feel uncomfortable, I usually practice self-talk where I tell myself that I can do this. I basically become my own motivator. I tell myself that I should care less about what people think and more about giving it my very best. In essence, my best effort is the most that I can offer and that is what I (or anyone else) should expect of myself.

Nothing more, nothing less.

I don't go for perfection because I know it's impossible. I know that I will make mistakes, so I allow myself to make mistakes. I don't mean that I deliberately make mistakes, but I allow for that option to exist. I don't tell myself that I can't make mistake at all because that's not humanly possible. Even if I give my 100%, chances are I'm going to make mistakes, and that's okay.

I don't see mistakes as failures, rather I see mistakes as lessons. That's how we all learn when we were babies. It seems so natural.

Past experiences do help in facing new situations and venture into unknown territories. I think the reason why that’s the case is because I know what to expect of myself when I'm in a new situation. Based on past experiences, I know that I am capable of trying new things.

One of the benefits of challenging myself in trying something new and of getting out of my comfort zone is that I gain confidence in myself. The more you explore the world, not only do you understand the world better but you understand yourself better too. I think that contributes a lot to your self-confidence. Being tucked in comfortably in your comfort zone will not take you very far in life.

Venturing outside of my comfort zone is also good for discovering my hidden potentials. You might think that you can't do something, but then when you try it you might surprise yourself. You might think that you don't have that potential, but you'll never know for sure unless you try.

That potential might be in you all along, you just have to look for it and fork it out.

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Aiman Azlan is a motivational speaker, a vlogger, and an author. With an aptitute for psychology, he likes to address topics related to emotional, mental, and spiritual well being. He has traveled all over Malaysia and beyond to speak to predominantly youth audience, speaking about various youth-related topics such as identity, love, family relationship, productivity, community, and self-worth. He now resides in Perlis with his wife and son.