Your Comfort Zone and Building Self-Esteem
To build your self-esteem, you need to step outside your comfort zone. Change requires effort and a different course of action to what you’re used to. It may seem easier to do nothing, however a lack of action can keep you stuck in your present situation. To create change you must be willing to challenge yourself.
About Your Comfort Zone
Your comfort zone is your default space. It’s a familiar place where you feel comfortable and you know what to expect. Even when you’re bored or unhappy, you may settle for that zone because it’s what you know best. For example, you may be used to having low self-esteem; or being shy, anxious or depressed. Your comfort zone gives you a false sense of security and it can trap you.
Reasons Why Your Comfort Zone Can Trap You
- It’s comfortable.
- It’s easier to do nothing. Stepping outside requires effort and it may be unsettling.
- Habit. You automatically repeat familiar behaviours.
- Aversion to change. You may not want to, or fear change.
- Self-doubt. You may feel powerless or believe you can’t create change.
- Uncomfortable feelings. Stepping into unknown territory may cause you to feel worried, afraid or anxious. You may feel insecure or vulnerable and underestimate your ability to cope.
- Expecting perfection. You fear making mistakes or wait for the perfect moment to take action.
- Believing you don’t deserve change.
- Being overwhelmed. Stepping outside may seem daunting and you don’t know where to begin.
How to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
To step outside your comfort zone you need to challenge yourself and push past the barriers.
- Believe change is possible and that you can create change. Your low self-esteem does not define you and it can be improved.
- Accept you need to step outside your comfort zone to grow. If you repeat what you’re already doing, you’ll remain stuck in the same place.
- Act regardless of negative thoughts and feelings. They are temporary and a normal part of growing yourself. Remember that being stuck in your comfort zone also causes unpleasant feelings. These can last longer and they get worse over time.
- Set yourself small, manageable goals. Small steps make a big difference; they’re easier to manage and allow you to monitor progress. Goals that are too big can lead to being overwhelmed and prevent you from taking action.
- Recognise your progress. That includes recognising the small steps. Write down your progress or share it with others. Celebrate your achievements.
- Embrace uncertainty. Accept that it’s a part of life. No matter what happens you will cope.
- Allow yourself to make mistakes. Personal growth is a learning process and perfection is unrealistic.
- Act now. Don’t wait for the perfect moment as it will never happen.
- Visualise a confident you. Imagine how good a confident you will feel. Picture what you’ll be doing and what others will be saying.
- Use positive affirmations (E.g. “I can do this.” or “I am growing my confidence.)"
- Believe you deserve to change.
- Get mental health help. Stepping outside of your comfort zone can be a challenge and it’s helpful to have support. I highly recommend getting professional help, particularly if you’re experiencing anxiety, depression or if you're persistently stuck. You’re never alone and there’s help available if you need it.
It’s important to persevere as change takes time and effort. Every action is a step forward and every step is a lesson. They're all part of your journey. It’s not going to be perfect and that’s okay. If you do stumble, pick yourself up and keep on going.
As you step outside your comfort zone, you'll start to feel empowered. You will gradually become comfortable with things that were once uncomfortable. Both your comfort zone and your self-esteem will grow. It is well worth the effort. Believe in yourself; you can do it.
Agathangelou, F. (2014, November 18). Your Comfort Zone and Building Self-Esteem, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 26 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/buildingselfesteem/2014/11/your-comfort-zone-and-building-self-esteem
Author: Fay Agathangelou
Thanks very much for your comment. I'm glad you can use it to help your clients, that's wonderful. I'm happy for you to print it off, please keep the references so that people can refer to the site.
Thank you for your feedback and for raising that issue. Bullying is not okay. Bullies are extremely insensitive and it does make it hard for sensitive people. Usually they do it because of their own insecurities.
I agree with protecting yourself from them. If you do experience bullying, there is help available. It does not need to be tolerated.
The following article may be of interest.
Good recommendation. I enjoyed this post too. Great list of ways for stepping out of your comfort zone. Following that can certainly make huge changes in your life for sure.
I think it is extremely important to make all your large goals broken up into smaller ones. So many people tend to shoot for the stars, when they need to start somewhere smaller... like trying to get to the moon first! ;) lol...
Thanks for your comment, I'm glad you enjoyed the article.
I agree about breaking down larger goals into smaller ones. While there may be a bigger goal, breaking it into smaller (journey) goals will help you get there. Smaller goals are more manageable, they allow you to monitor progress and they add motivation. Small steps make a huge difference. Rather than shoot directly for the stars as you say, the small steps will eventually take you there. :)