Confession: I am not very brave.
I have spent the majority of my life living comfortably in my comfort zone. There are so many things I’d love to do, but I don’t. I am scared to do things where I have to put myself out there and interact with new people. What if people think I’m stupid? Or boring? What if they judge me?
These are the thoughts that keep me from trying things, from living life. And it’s sad. It makes me sad. I don’t want to let these fears hold me back.
I have always believed that I am simply not the kind of person whose brave enough to try new things. I am too shy, awkward, and introverted to put myself out there. But that is just not true. I am perfectly capable of interacting with people – I do it everyday at work and out in the world. I am also perfectly capable of putting myself out there and showing some vulnerability. I can be that kind of person.
I just have to start believing it.
This old story I am telling myself isn’t doing me any favors. It’s getting in the way of living of more fulfilled and meaningful life. Human connection is important for all of us. We want to feel understood and seen and heard. However, for any of us to find such connections we have to be brave enough to actually go after them.
We have to rethink these stories we are telling ourselves that we’re not good enough or worthy enough for other people’s time and attention.
We need to start rewriting a few things, and to begin growing beyond our comfort zones.
I am guilty of spending too much time in my head thinking about the things I’d like to do, or the things I could do but never actually attempt to do.
I am ready to begin doing. I am ready to push myself to be brave enough to live the life I want to be living, and that includes connecting with more people.
So that is what I’ve started to do.
I’ve recently signed up for things that involve meeting new people. I am scared, but I’m also really excited. I’ve been in a rut that I’ve gotten far too comfortable with, and I need some change.
I have been telling myself for years that I need to do something that scares me, but I’ve never shown up for myself. I’ve repeatedly let myself down. I don’t want to keep doing that. I want to show up for this girl because you know what? She deserves it.
I’m doing a mixture of real-life and online meetup groups. I plan on hiking with strangers, sitting in a virtual knitting group, and chatting about books with a virtual book club. I don’t know how these things are going to go. I may feel terribly awkward, but I’m doing them anyway.
So bring on all the new scary adventures, I’m so ready for them.
And, if you are like me, believing you aren’t capable of change, I challenge you to do one simple scary thing. Just one. Commit yourself to something.
That could be a program at your local library, or a virtual book club, a class, or even simply starting a conversation with someone you work with that you’d like to get to know better (I know that one is scary for me).
This one challenge could be the thing that propels you forward into a much brighter future. But you have to commit yourself to it. Don’t allow yourself to back out at the last minute. Promise yourself that you’re going to follow through, and then actually follow through with it.
I am still at the beginning of this journey. I have to be honest, I have considered opting out of the knitting group meetup because that one seems to scare me more than the rest, but I am not going to let myself. I’ve already committed to it. I’ve already made the promise to myself, so no matter how uncomfortable I feel or how badly I don’t want to do it when the time comes, I am making myself join that chat.
There’s always something to learn from an interaction, even (and maybe even especially) if it goes badly. Don’t let the fear of an awkward interaction prevent you from trying.
Yes, I expect to have some interactions that will make me cringe five years from now when I’m awake in the middle of the night because I can’t sleep. That is part of being human. However, that is no reason to not even try.
Doing scary things takes a lot of bravery. Sometimes I feel silly for needing the courage just to talk to someone new, but it’s just the way I am. There is nothing wrong with me for being this way. Social interaction is difficult for me, and I need to remember to show myself grace.
I’d like anyone in my shoes to do the same thing: remember to show yourself grace. Be gentle and kind to yourself while venturing into this new territory.
It’s a big deal to do things that scare us, and we should recognize that and celebrate our courage and small victories.
We are worth it.
About the Author: Danielle Massett is a writer, reader, and aspiring knitter living in the Midwest. She loves exploring what it means to live a meaningful life.