Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Friday, June 12, 2009

Comfort Zones

I like comfort. I have my comfort foods: tuna fish, mac and cheese, (although I never eat that any more), chocolate, spaghetti and meatballs. These are foods I remember from childhood, a time when I used food to comfort the anxiety in my stomach. I also have my comfort spaces in my house (the recliner where I do my writing with my laptop, the right side of the couch in our living room, my bedroom). I like my clothes to be comfortable (hate wearing bras, but gravity makes it a necessity these days--sorry guys). Romantic comedies are comfortable, as are old classic movies and books.

My hubby is comfortable. He loves and accepts me no matter what I say or do (and believe me I've tested him, poor thing). My friendships are mostly comfortable. There are a few that require some discomfort sometimes, such as when I have to speak up to defend myself or someone else.

Mostly, my life is comfortable. My having published a memoir now requires me to step out of my comfort zone in order to promote it. This means speaking to strangers about myself and my life and my work. If I were giving a talk, this wouldn't be out of my comfort zone. But one on one, at a bookstore, for example, it would be.

I had to ask myself: what is the discomfort about? Here is what I came up with:
  • They will be rude to me and just walk away
  • Worse, they'll yell at me for accosting them
  • I'll be humiliated and embarrassed in front of others
  • They'll say, "Who are you to think I should buy your book?"

What if these things happened? Would I die? No. Would I survive the humiliation? You bet I would. Would I be able to stand up for myself if someone started yelling at me? That's questionable - it depends on the day and my mood that day.

As to the last question, my answer would be simple. My intention in writing my book was to help others dealing with similar issues to mine. I've overcome a lot of pain in my life and I've put it down on paper. That's who I am.

Role-playing worst-case fears helps me see that there really is nothing for me to be afraid of. Stepping out of my comfort zone just might place me further along the path of who I'm becoming.

Blessings,

Karen

11 comments:

alexisgrant said...

This is so true. We become better people by stepping out of our comfort zones. And those are the experiences that end up making life great!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I like to consider the worst-case scenarios, too. Sometimes, in my mind, it seems like it would be the end of the world if a particular thing happened. But, amazingly, it never is!

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Joanne said...

Just by considering all this, it seems a good way of moving out of that comfort zone, a way to grow. That sense of confidence stays with us in other areas of our lives as well.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Stepping out of our comfort zones is a good technique for self-discovery. That's how we learn new things, uncover hidden talents, and open ourselves to new teachers. I go ahead and commit to these experiences, even if I need to drink umpteen cups of Tension Tamer tea first. As much as I hate those signings, I've made at least twenty new friends as a result. It was worth it.

Helen Ginger said...

Keep in mind that, chances are, they are as scared as you. I so clearly remember going to my first booksigning as a reader. It was a group signing where the authors were mingling with the attendees. I picked up a book by Susan Wittig Albert and was too scared to ask her to sign it. I did eventually ask her and she was gracious and nice. Years later when I was moderating a panel she was on and I told the story of our meeting as part of her introduction, she replied by saying that that booksigning was the first booksigning for her. We're now friends.

Helen
Straight From Hel

Stephen Tremp said...

Role playing is a great way to work through things, especially ones motivated by fear or a sense of inadequacies or low self esteem. Sometimes I role play with my wife when it comes to speaking publicly.

This really helps to work out the kinks and prepare for the unexpected and the hecklers. This in turns build confidence. It also helps to have a couple quick one-liners to quickly through back at a heckler to throw them off their game if necessary.

- Stephen Tremp

Galen Kindley--Author said...

The above are on-spot comments. Not sure I have anything different to add. I'll just second them all and encourage you to keep doing the things that have made you successful. Comfort is a good thing. Yes, stepping out of it is necessary, but, it's always nice to develop a new comfort zone from which to repeat the process.

Best Regards, Galen
GalenKindley.com

Marvin D. Wilson said...

Good mental exercise to go through in order to prepare yourself for stepping outside the comfort zone. Glad to see you're really working at this - SO important!

The Old Silly From Free Spirit Blog

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

This post was so easy to identify with. I,too, am often out of my comfort zone these days but I know it's good for me. I also go through the worst that can happen scenerio and so far the worst hasn't happened.

JaneKennedySutton

N A Sharpe said...

I always enjoy your posts - I see I am in good company with these types of apprehensions - part of the whole shy scenario I suppose. I like the way you approach it. Great advice.

Nancy, from Just a Thought…

The Practical Preserver said...

Comfort is well...comfortable. But life is about stretching and enlarging that comfort zone. So much to learn and do in such a short time. Learning and living and loving make the stretching so much easier.