Since my last post, Muted, the soul searching continues as I try to learn how to show up as my authentic self. One thing I’ve decided to try is getting out of my comfort zone in different ways, which ironically enough is something I started doing about a month ago (minus the whole conscious decision part).
It was suggested to me a while back that I start volunteering in order to meet new people. This is completely out of my comfort zone as I avoid virtually every opportunity to meet new people, so I put it off for a while until I finally thought about volunteering with animals. (Note the obvious choice that would involve more cuddly animals and less scary people because…anxiety.) So last month I went to an orientation at a local organization and I’ve been volunteering a few hours each week since then.
I’ll be honest, I think this was the best decision I could have made. So far I’ve interacted with a grand total of zero animals, but have met some of the nicest people I could’ve hoped to meet.
My first time volunteering I signed up to be something called an “Information Ambassador”, which is essentially the same as a Wal-mart door greeter. This was over my other two choices of working around Lorikeets (animals) or in the barn area (more animals).
I just knew I would hate the Information Ambassador assignment so I truthfully signed up to say I had and get it out of the way. That day I originally offered to work one hour and ended up staying three. It wasn’t half as torturous as I expected and it turns out I am actually an information rockstar, if I do say so myself!
I never would have thought at the end of my shift I would say I honestly enjoyed talking to the patrons and interacting with people. I am so thankful this first little venture turned out to be a positive one!
I don’t remember where I got this fact from, but I’ve heard somewhere along the line that doing things outside of your comfort zone will rewire your brain by inspiring different thought processes. I’m about 90% sure this isn’t some “fact” I made up in my head, but you know….stranger things have happened. However, this is the motivation behind the idea of doing more things outside of my regularly scheduled programming.
My idea includes a variety of different hobbies, meaning not everything is going to include social interaction. Aside from volunteering I’ve been thinking of other things I’d like to try doing that I’ve never taken the initiative on.
For example, I’ve always wanted to bake bread but I’ve been super intimidated by yeast’s existence and the art of kneading and measuring and precision and ohmygosh how to human people do this magic???
Or even something like crocheting. It seems so calming and therapeutic, I’d like to try it out and see if I like it. Something simple, square, and box-y like a throw.
Maybe start working on that journal I spent $100 buying washi tape and cute pens for but haven’t started yet.
Along the same thread, make some metal-free jewelry!
Outside of creative and social endeavours, I’m also trying to branch out mentally through learning and changing my mindset. For example, I’ve been listening to tons of positive affirmations and self-love videos on Youtube. On the flip side, I also make a conscious effort to avoid watching, listening to, or participating in things that might put me in a negative or fearful frame of mind like certain types of TV shows/movies, gossip, and even some songs. These things may seem insignificant, but over the weekend I was watching a show I would normally avoid (thinking surely I’d be ok this once) and it ended up getting into my head and causing this whole fearful spiral in my mind. I’m telling you….this stuff makes a difference!
I have found the negative things have an equal effect on me as the positive, if not a stronger effect. Truthfully, I do feel like I’m already beginning to see some positive results from this change.
I’ve also reached out to a friend who I know has a strong faith in God. This is a relationship I’ve struggled with for years and in all honesty have even gotten so far removed that I was an unbeliever. However, that just didn’t feel right to me so recently I had the idea to ask my friend if she would be interested in getting together weekly to talk and work on this with me. I’ve never sought the help or guidance of anyone in this area, so this will be a new experience for me. Fortunately she was completely into the idea! I’m super excited too!
The possibilities are endless and I’m sure more ideas will pour in once I get started. Some of these things I may hate or be a complete failure at, but I may also find some things I really enjoy and pursue in the future. The point is to start focusing on myself and turning my life into something I enjoy instead of something I survive day-to-day.