The Stories We Tell Ourselves

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I can always tell when I’m about to do something completely out of my comfort zone—I complain that I’m too tired, I whine that I’m being taken unfair advantage of, and I creatively think of a thousand different ways I can get out of whatever it is that’s got me stirred up. I wish I wouldn’t travel down those ridiculous roads of anguish, but I do. And I wouldn’t be surprised if you did too. What’s so goofy about this situation is that I actually enjoy working outside my comfort zone once I get moving. But, boy oh boy, until I do, I’m a case and a half.

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Recently I was offered a new position at the theatre where I have worked off and on for the last fourteen years. It’s a dream promotion, and one which on a certain level I truly want. Yet it’s a BIG change from what I normally do, and one which does stir up some less than wonderful memories when in the past I’ve peripherally worked in this new arena. Oh, what to do!

Change gives us opportunity to experience our vulnerabilities. And without that challenge, we, quite frankly, do not grow. But change also drags up questions which most of us would prefer not to deal with. Wonder if I fail? Wonder if I can’t do it? Wonder if everyone will see I’m the loser I have so carefully hidden all these years? Wonder if I’ll merely create even more less than wonderful memories as a result of taking on this new adventure?

            My goodness! Just writing these questions out has made me wonder if I’ll get a good night’s sleep tonight.

            My internal Friend usually pops up about now and says such things as: Now, Gwen, when have you ever been disappointed by moving outside your comfort zone? Are you really all that uncomfortable with this new opportunity, or are you merely afraid? And, what exactly are you afraid of? I always thought of you as an Adventurer, not a Wallflower! You know, therapy talk!

            But you know what? It works. I’ve rarely been disappointed by moving in unfamiliar waters. And when I have, it really wasn’t all that bad. In fact, I’ve taken pride for sticking to the grind stone and getting the job done and done well. And I’m truly not all that fearful, either. I’ve jumped out of the tree more times than I can count, and it’s made my life all the richer for doing so. I am an Adventurer. It’s just that I have a habit of saying yes to too many adventures and ending up with too full of a plate.

            The learning here is to find the balance between being active and being too busy, to not be afraid to say no for the right reasons and yes for the ones which are, and to look for the joy in the unknown—even if it makes you temporarily miserable!

Gwen Overland