Home / The Journey / Journal / A few thoughts on choosing courage

This post is for day 3 of Bloganuary, a month-long blogging challenge that includes a prompt every day. Today’s prompt: Write about the last time you left your comfort zone.

Rather than trying to pinpoint the last moment I was in, and subsequently left, my comfort zone; I’d rather reflect on this quote from Brené Brown :

“You can choose courage, or you can choose comfort, but you cannot choose both.”

Brené Brown AMERICAN SCHOLAR, AUTHOR, AND PUBLIC SPEAKER

I like to think I spend each day reflecting on what my comfort zone has grown into, and pushing beyond that. Somedays I do well, others I cower a little and reach back into what feels safe, easy, and comfortable. On average, I would say I learn much more towards choosing courage.

Sometimes the comfort zone is necessary, a space to have some quiet, to recharge and renew. I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all to dip in and out of whatever you’d decided is your comfort zone. When I look back upon my life so far, I believe I’ve lived very little of it from inside my comfort zone. I’ve challenged my perceptions of safety, I’ve explored the world, I’ve made difficult choices and It’s thanks to this way of living that I’ve grown quite so much.

Rather than focusing on when I last left my comfort zone, I think it’s more valuable to me to think about the last time I hovered inside my comfort zone for too long. Why did I stay there? What was the motivating force? Where was the fear, or resistance, or need for comfort coming from?

I’ve experienced a number of years worth of PTSD. It’s a complex subject to explain, and the causes aren’t clean cut either. In part, because I lived through a city-destroying earthquake; because I worked on an ambulance from the age of 18 where I held people as they died; because I spent 3 months living in refugee camps collecting secondary trauma from witnessing some of the worst humanity has to offer; because I cared for my father in the final months of his life with cancer; and in part, like everyone else, because I have spent the past two years living through a global pandemic.

Through processing those experiences, I’ve learned that the more I retract into comfort, the less I truly experience all of the wonders & joy that is life.

That if I find myself too often dwelling in my comfort zone, it’s a warning sign – a little red flashing light telling me to get back out into the world, to feel it, experience it, and live it. To choose courage over comfort, to be in the present moment and not pulled away into the past nor the future.

Because growth is hard. Courage is hard. But ultimately, the rewards are well worth it and I try my best to live mostly outside of my comfort zone as much as possible – so much so that I’m not entirely sure when the last time I was in it enough to have stepped out of it was.

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