why you should run away

I’m a true believer that the universe rewards good efforts and bravery. The necessary changes may be big or small, but results don’t happen without them. When you are stuck in a comfort zone, it is important to realize that if you don’t make the best decisions for yourself and instead stay dormant in your bubble, the universe may kick you out unexpectedly.

All my life there were things “I just could not,” and many had the most unjustified reasons. I just could not bartend because I might see someone I don’t like. I just could not move out of state because I didn’t know anyone. I just could not take salsa lessons because I would embarrass myself. I just could not dye my hair because what if I wasn’t pretty enough. I just could not leave a bad relationship because I may not find anyone else. The best times of my life were when things changed beyond my control or wishes, when I was physically kicked out of my comfort zone by the universe. It was the scariest feeling at first, like looking down from the top of a roller coaster before the drop, but like the drop, it was freeing.

It started with my first big break up, which rocked me. We were engaged for a year and living together. Those years with him I lived a life that seems to be a shadow of me now, very unsure, insecure, and anxious every day. My fears and insecurities were enough to drive myself crazy, so the day I came home from work and my fiancé announced he didn’t love me anymore and was leaving, I was pissed. Pissed that I got a Brazilian that day, pissed that I had to deal with the embarrassment of failed wedding plans, pissed he was leaving, but mostly I was pissed I had to deal with myself alone now. Ughh hang out with myself by myself? Nooooo.

I knew I couldn’t keep living that way so I set out to become a better version of myself, even if I had to pretend in the beginning, by slowly doing things that scared me. I figured the scariest thing had already happened, so why not. I decided to stay in the apartment instead of moving back home. I said “no” when he demanded the ring back. I went to a pet store for some cheering up and left with my first dog. I dyed my hair the shade of red I always dreamed of but never dared. I bought that plane ticket to France. Finally. I even almost went alone, but was lucky to have a friend join last minute. I was kick ass that year and it was awesome. I was happy with myself. I eventually quit my job, moved out of state, tried bartending, and took salsa lessons.

What are our comfort zones? Are they healthy to stay in? How do we leave our comfort zones? Try making a list of all the things you really want to experience or accomplish, but have hesitated because it will require you stepping out of your bubble. Is the list rational? Are there things you could try now? Mark each item on your list 1,2, or 3 based on how scary it would be for you to complete it. Start with the easy ones and make goals for the harder ones. Acknowledge which things on your list aren’t harming you if you don’t ever do it, like dying you hair, and which ones are, like staying in an unhealthy relationship. If you’re not going after certain things for irrational reasons, consider that you’re cheating yourself out of a full and happy life. Decide if you can start making some changes of your own accord instead of waiting for something to happen.

Fear is the only thing holding you back. If there’s something you really want, you have to make those moves to get it and then trust that all the details will fall into place. It’s good to relinquish control and realize that the bubble you’ve created can be popped by anyone at anytime, so it might as well be you.

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More about Erika Lauren

Erika Lauren is a Boston born twenty something French girl spending her days as an esthetician, makeup artist, and dog mom, and her nights as a writer. She's a content creator for The Haute Mess, XOJane, and Narrative.ly. Reader discretion advised: She suffers from lalochezia. Email: ErikaLauren9@yahoo.com

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