Over the past few years there are moments in my life that stick out in my memory. My husband likes to call these type of moments “TSN Turning Points” (I’m not a sportsy type at all, but living with one I’ve apparently absorbed some of the lingo). Anyway. These have been defining points in time when things in my life have come to a head and I recognize (sometimes finally recognizing) that something needs to change. Sometimes they are big moments and sometimes they are minute. Sometimes I’ve recognized them for what they were in the moment and sometimes I can only see them when I’m looking back.
The thing I’ve noticed about myself and I know many other humans are the same, is that we really really love our comfort zones. Even when they’re pretty fucking uncomfortable. Our comfort zones are usually nothing more than the devil we know. But at the end of the day I don’t believe that we’re put here to be comfortable. We’re here to grow and change and evolve and create. Comfort does not promote any of these things. And that’s where moments like these are important. Even when they can be extremely challenging to navigate. I think they are a gift from the universe, the nudge that gets us out of the nest and forces us to make a choice to fall or fly.
Five years ago was one such moment for me. I can’t tell you the day of week, time of day or even the season. But I clearly remember the sensation of holding my infant daughter in my arms, my love for her filling me completely. I remember marveling at her beauty and perfection, and feeling how she embodied the miraculous nature of existence. And I remember my heart sinking as I recognized in that moment that as much love and awe I felt for her, I felt the opposite towards myself. My heart broke at the thought of her ever feeling the same way about herself as I felt about me. I knew then that something needed to change. That I needed to change. Even as a new parent I knew that my daughter would follow my example and not my words. So it wouldn’t be enough to just tell my daughter that she needed to love herself, I needed to show her how. And the only way I knew I could do that was by learning to love myself and be a role model for her of self-love and acceptance.
Another turning point happened for me just over two years ago, at a literal crossroads in my life. As I was preparing to return to work after my second maternity leave, I was facing the decision of whether or not I was really going to actually return. I had been unhappy in my job for a long time, but at the same time it was my comfort zone and I couldn’t fathom what other possibilities there were out there for me. There was nothing wrong with my job and nothing wrong with me, it just wasn’t a fit. And trying to force myself into that incompatible space on a daily basis had begun to feel like I was dying inside every time I went to work. While I was trying to talk myself back into that uncomfortable comfort zone, I reached out for support to my workplace, looking for reassurance that I was doing the best thing by returning. And I didn’t receive what I was seeking. At the time it was a painful experience, but in hindsight it was one of the biggest gifts I could have received. It opened my eyes to the fact that I was never going to get the experience I was seeking in that job. That I was only ever going to be a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. That realization was so profound that over the course of twelve hours I shifted from preparing to return to work to tendering my resignation. And the feeling of weight being lifted from my whole being as a result of that decision is something that I will never forget.
As I reflect on these two big moments in my life I see that the second instance is very much related to the first. Taking myself out of a situation that was no longer serving me is clearly from this vantage point an act of self-love. It was a great act of trust in myself, where instead of doubting myself I listened to my inner voice, and I knew that I would be okay even if at that point I didn’t have a plan.
I have come to a space of feeling incredibly grateful for every time the universe has kicked my ass out of whatever comfort zone I’ve been hiding in. My life and my relationship with myself since these two points in my life have completely shifted. As I have shared previously I have finally come to a place, after almost 37 years of life, of owning my own worthiness. I feel a level of self-love and self-acceptance that would have been incomprehensible to me even one year ago. And it seems like every day I’m getting a kick in the ass to move forward. To stretch and learn and grow. And slowly but surely I’m starting to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Elizabeth Holt Handlovsky
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Great article Elizabeth! Love it.
“Our comfort zones are usually nothing more than the devil we know.” Wow, Elizabeth Holt Handlovsky! http://t.co/a192beTqgf