Stretch Into Your Learning Zone
Where do you find comfort when things get tough?
When you’re scared, bored, angry or lonely? Or in uncertain times like these filled with change and the unknown? Do you search for the nearest and easiest comfort? Maybe now perhaps it’s so habitual you may not even notice that it’s your “go-to” anymore. Maybe you find comfort in food, shopping, exercise, or even a full day of Netflix binge-watching.
For me, it’s ice cream.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to avoid dealing with some of what life throws our way but when we do, it really doesn’t cause us to stretch ourselves out of our comfort zone. It might be the easiest and most habitual of ways to find comfort but if we end up spending too much time there, we might end up being a problem. I know for me when I’d rather curl up and avoid what’s in front of me, not much, if any, growth is really going to happen.
In a model describing the process of growth developed in the 1930s by psychologist Lev Vygotsky, he describes “zones” of growth. One, of course, being the Comfort Zone.
I think for most of us when we stay in our comfort zone, it can feel almost as though our life begins to shrink. I see this in my teenage son. Inside of the lockdown, his life, like so many of ours, has gotten very small over these months. He missed his Senior Prom, he graduated from high school and he started college online from his bedroom desk (and sometimes even his bed!). His friends have scattered all over the country and he has an underlying health condition that makes him understandably fearful of leaving the house. Even so, it’s important that we step out of our comfort zone to grow.
What would it take to stretch yourself out of your comfort zone? Out of your familiar way of being? What if, for example, you simply tried to brush your teeth with the opposite hand or parked your car on the other side of the garage? What if you simply drove a different route to a familiar place? Sure, it would likely feel odd or even a bit uncomfortable at first but ultimately, that discomfort gets replaced with a new perspective.
As an example, what if you are someone who has trouble giving things away. Maybe try giving something away that you really would rather not. It doesn’t have to be anything of great value, maybe it’s just a sweater or piece of costume jewelry that you never wear. Maybe it’s just half of your sandwich.
For someone who is not comfortable giving things away, just that very act of giving something away may be enough to stir up old conversations that have been lying dormant for some time about never having enough. Or an old wound from long ago where someone took something that was important to you.
This is what I mean by stretching out of your comfort zone. It’s important that we feel into that sort of discomfort and just name it for what it is. I’m certainly not going to suggest that this is comfortable because oftentimes, it’s just plain not. It can provoke all sorts of emotions and feelings and be quite confronting. But, this is where the learning and the growth take place; this then becomes our “learning zone.”
Once we start to understand this and can begin to let ourselves go into the discomfort while confronting ourselves in this learning zone, we’ll end up feeling inspired to pursue the path toward awakening. It’s then that we start to become drawn to the places where learning and deepening happen.
At the end of each day, ask yourself, how did I spend my day? Did I spend it strengthening and indulging in my comfort zone? How and in what way?
Did I push myself to stretch out of my comfort zone into my learning zone? How did it feel? What did I learn about myself? Did it make me feel empowered to do it again? Why or why not?
I am here to support you on your journey. Schedule a Complimentary Business or Life Coaching session or Spiritual Mentoring Session via Zoom or phone. I look forward to connecting with you. Namaste, Maggie