I have this habit of putting myself in those situations that make me extremely uncomfortable—don’t make a snarky comment about how it’s because I’m awkward, which may be true.
Situations like throwing myself into new social situations (okay, you got me, this happens less often), occasionally doing stupid things, and trying new things.
With new social situations, I know that I shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to make new friends or experience a good night. Confession: I’m actually semi-terrified of being in an environment in which I don’t have at least 2 of my closest friends—they really do make me more confident. However, when I don’t have these friends with me, I still try to go and these nights turn out to be some of the best nights I’ve experienced.
The key in these situations is to remember that you don’t have to come off immediately as the coolest person ever. This took me a long time to remember because I’ve always thought that I had to get my best impression out there within the first few minutes of meeting someone, which puts even more pressure on you. I’ve discovered that as long as you don’t seem completely incompetent and can exchange a few words of small talk, you’re golden.
If they don’t seem interested, move on. There are plenty of other people you can connect with; do you really want to force a connection to the one person that doesn’t seem to find you interesting?
Other times that make me uncomfortable are those slight risks that I take sometime. By risks, I mean risking my feelings, safety, etc. Some of these risks include sneaking into a closed park at night with a friend for midnight swimming in the lake, taking a solo walk around the neighborhoods of Paris while my parents were sleeping, and going to a bar alone.
However, remember in those situations that include safety risk that you’re being extremely careful and are carrying some form of weapon. Like the new social situations, though, you may discover something about the world and yourself while doing it—like a renewed faith in humanity, or discovering that all those stories your parents told to scare you from doing something were wrong, as long as you’re being smart.
We all need to learn how to be by ourselves at some point in our lives.
Same with trying new things. Many times, I’m upset when people don’t make efforts to try new things like food, workouts, or experiences. These things are life defining and if you never give them a try, how much do you really know about yourself?
By putting myself out there more and doing things that make me slightly uncomfortable—yes, only slightly. Baby steps, yo—I have experienced things I never thought I would enjoy and have discovered things about myself that I didn’t know I was capable of.
By doing things that make you uncomfortable, you will grow. And, as you grow, these uncomfortable things will slowly become more comfortable. For example, I used to be uncomfortable talking to strangers, but after pushing myself to continue trying, I am now very capable of talking and having random conversations with strangers.
But don’t stop there. Once the uncomfortable becomes comfortable, push yourself again—keep pushing and you will discover that there is no end to learning about yourself and about life.