Self-esteem is a person’s overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth. People who have lower self-esteem tend to gravitate toward their comfort zones. A comfort zone is any place, situation, relationship, or experience where they do not feel any threat.
It is where a person feels safe and is usually a place or situation where the person feels some control, or at least he or she usually knows what happens in this place or setting.
What is a comfort zone?
Examples of comfort zones include:
- A person’s home
- A person’s job
- Things he or she routinely does every day
- People he or she spends time with such as friends or family members
- Places where he or she frequently goes to eat and the types of food that person eats
- Places he or she goes to exercise
- Type of car he or she drives and directions that person commonly travels to get to various destinations
Moving Out of a Comfort Zone
Humans prefer being in places, being around people, doing things that are more comfortable for them. Each time someone moves out of his or her comfort zones they expand and grow. This allows a person to move toward unlimited potential. There is a catch to this expansion process. It does not automatically happen without any effort on the individual’s part. It is the person’s effort that produces the expansion. Included in this effort is usually overcoming or dealing with some type of fear. Frequently, it is a scary shift from comfort to discomfort.
However, if someone is willing to expand and grow, that is where he or she must put himself. This means facing fears with some frequency. Moving out of comfort zones implies facing fears. When someone ventures out of his or her comfort zones, they sense the emotion of fear because he or she feels that there might be pain or discomfort of some kind.
However, the reality is that when a person goes into the discomfort zone, he or she is rarely, if ever, hurt, in the true sense where the physical pain is involved.
Until a person actually steps toward that border of his or her comfort zone, looks at the fear and steps toward it, he or she will never rid himself of fears.
As Shakespeare once said, “A coward dies a thousand deaths, a hero only one.” Why would this be? It is because the coward lives the potential outcomes repeatedly in his mind, continually bringing up the pain that will certainly accompany the event being considered.
However, the hero takes a chance and goes for it anyway. He or she does not think about it much. He or she simply moves in the direction of the feared thing and nearly always finds that things are rarely as uncomfortable as they were perceived to be in the first place.
It is important that as a person goes through these fears, he or she celebrates the victories for doing so. The more pleasure and positive feelings become associated with taking risks, the more someone will be inclined to try new things.
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): www.nimh.nih.gov
- National Association for Self Esteem: www.self-esteem-nase.org