I’m fascinated by how deeply I’m in my comfort zone. I convinced myself that by moving to another country and making some other decisions only few can, I was living outside of my comfort zone. Yes, they were pretty scary at the time, but I can’t hold on to that one period of my life and use it to justify months of staying comfy and conforming to society’s ways.
I’ve been trying to build a career in photography for months, I might dare to say years. I plan everything out, do the first few relatively simple steps, but whenever I’m about to do something that will let others know I’m serious about this, I just freeze. I get too afraid of owning my creative skills and visions. I feel as if I’m lying to people by saying I’m a photographer because I have this limiting belief that you can call yourself a certain title only if you have a degree or years and years of experience in that particular field.
I am expecting people to know about my skills without informing anyone about them. I want them to be lined up waiting for my work without going out there and saying: ‘Hey, this is me, and here’s what I can do for you.’ Talk about the hard expectations we put on others.
I often blame it on the system how unappreciated creatives are, and that may be true by some degree, but I can’t stay hidden in four walls hoping people will be in front of my door trying to get a chance to work with me.
And here I am, writing all of this, completely aware of the fears and insecurities that block me from reaching my potential, and chances are, I’ll just leave it at this. It happened many times before – I get to the revelation of what it is that I’ve been doing wrong and what’s the antidote, yet I don’t make any real change. It’s like I feed myself with the knowledge of what’s the path to success but ignore the most important part – taking action.
Here’s the thing I find the most interesting: I don’t have a problem being vulnerable by writing about insecurities and pains I have, but I can’t build up the courage to say: ‘I’m a photographer, what about collaborating with me?’ Doesn’t it make more sense for things to be the other way around – having the confidence to say what you can do, instead of what you can’t?
What is behind all of this? How can the fear of possible rejection and ridicule be stronger than all the pain that an unfulfilled life brings? What is the root of all of this?
Is it the society that praises only those that conform to a limiting lifestyle they designed and ridicules the ones that try to walk a different path?
Or am I choosing to play the victim because it’s so much easier to blame the world than to admit to myself I have the strength and power to change my life, and then do the necessary?
Was I hurt so badly as a child when expressing myself creatively that I still can’t see past that pain?
Probably all the above.
If I know all these things, why do I still lack the strength and determination to live authentically?
Maybe that’s the thing I should change – to stop focusing on all those negative thoughts, to stop waiting for them to disappear. Maybe they’ll never be fully gone. Maybe all that living creatively and authentically is, is choosing to ignore the thoughts in your head, day by day, and following that quiet but ever-present voice that comes from way deeper than your fearful thoughts.
I wish other creatives would speak about this also. I wish we would all stop acting so confident and sure in everything we do. I wish we’d all be more open about how lost we are in this big world we live in. Aren’t we all just the little kids in grown-up bodies – with a bit more life experience but still with the same needs and wishes as our five-year-old selves?
Why is it that discomfort has to be the thing that brings the most benefit and growth to our lives? Wouldn’t it make more sense for the most pleasurable things to be the key to thriving instead?
How I see it, you can’t learn new things by staying in the same environment. Your body can’t build strength and flexibility by being in the same comfortable position on the couch. Only when being exposed to new and challenging positions can the level of strength arise. Your muscles become more flexible when you continuously stretch them in ways you’ve never done before. Your mind grows when you read or hear something you’ve never thought of before. The more challenging the thought is, the more you’ll have to ‘stretch’ your mind, thus helping it grow.
So why do we expect new things to happen in our lives by doing the same things day after day? This is all common sense, yet we fail to see it. Or should I say, we choose not to look at it. I certainly ignored it for a major part of my life. I still do. I spend my life imagining how great it could be, instead of living the greatness.
We were built to grow. Everything babies and children do is growing. Every part of their lives is oriented towards learning and changing their current state into a more developed one. So why do we, so-called grown-ups, stop seeking that growth at a certain age?
What is it with this culture of stagnation we’re so proud of that we’d rather risk our own happiness and potential, than face a little bit of discomfort?
We are the beings of evolution.
We can only meet ourselves in the unknown.
Let’s encourage ourselves, and each other, to do what we’re afraid to do.
What do your body and your inner voice tell you – what is your truth? What should you do next for yourself in order to reach your potential?
What is it you’ve been wanting for ages, even when you tried to suppress it and find reasons why you shouldn’t go for it?
I would love if you’d share it so we can see we’re all in this together, and how nothing is as bad and hard as it might look. 😊
P.s. I can’t just talk about the importance of getting out of my comfort zone and do nothing about it. I never could have imagined stepping into this part of myself and sharing publicly photographs of this kind.
For one part of me, posting them equals a nightmare. For another one, it’s the most liberating thing.
My intuition chooses the latter.