I’ve often alluded to the difficulties we may encounter when we start moving out of our comfort zone. We might lack confidence in what we’re about to do, our skills are likely to be under-developed or we could be facing opposition from others who are uncomfortable with the direction we’re planning to move in. All of these are very real feelings and present as obstacles that can, and will derail us if we allow them to.
But when it comes to the potential loss of support from friends, this can feel far worse than just not having the skills or a general lack of confidence.
Without the support of our friends, we may feel lonely and sometimes even that we are being reckless! After all, if others don’t support us and can’t see the merit in what we’re trying to achieve, we may wonder if it’s sensible to keep going.
Is this your experience? Do you sometimes question your intentions because of the negative or unsupportive stance of your friends?
Like others I have experienced this situation and felt these feelings too. Indeed, there have been times when my commitment to keep going has not been strong enough to overcome the seeds of doubt which have been sown, and so, I’ve floundered and turned back, at least for a while.
But with this in mind, what might be out there, beyond our comfort zone that we can hold out for to help keep us going?
Well, aside from the personal growth and success that awaits us, there is something which will help to alleviate those feelings of isolation and that something is ‘other people’, or to put it in even better words ‘new friends’!
In the words of C S Lewis:
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another:
“What!” You Too? I thought I was the only one.”
Sometimes this experience of stumbling across others who understand our perspective is borne out of adversity, when a difficult set of circumstances have come our way. But it can also be the outcome of seeking and pursuing the changes we want in our life and is therefore a reflection of a positive achievement.
Consequently, this new found comrade offers us untold relief because we can now be assured that we weren’t rash after all; that this hitherto ‘lonely’ place is now inhabited and relief that we now have a new friend who not only understands our motivations and plans but (s)he will probably be a supporter of our new activities too!
In fact, our new friend will probably welcome us with open arms, because, if our direction of travel is the ‘road less travelled’ then they’ve probably experienced the same feelings of loneliness and have also questioned whether it was wise to keep going.
I think this is something we forget about when we embark on a new venture. We incorrectly assume that we will be going the distance alone, and whilst in the early days it can feel this way as we try to find the ‘correct’ path, in the longer term, we will find our new tribe and consequently that ‘uncomfortable’ zone will once again begin to feel more comfortable.
But often, we don’t need to wait to discover our new clan, instead we need only muster the courage to join a group who are already doing the things we want to do. In some cases this is as easy as joining an exercise class, a reading group or a golf club.
But what of the more unusual activities?
Indeed, this can pose a challenge, although of course, having 24/7 internet access these days helps to track down like-minded people down.
So if your passion is carving egg-shells or playing the ukulele, there will be a group somewhere that shares your passion. Making contact with this group could mean that you feel less lonely than you ever have done as you’re now able to discuss your passion to its fullest extent without fear of embarrassment or concerns about boring your ‘old’ friends to sleep!
As we can see then, the extent to which we are willing to put ourselves ‘out there’ is important because in order to grow we need to be surrounded by the people who will not only allow that to happen but will also encourage us to step even further outside our comfort zone whilst remaining supportive should things go a little awry. Ultimately, having like-minded friends can therefore help us reach our full potential.
Before I conclude though, let me just offer up a salute to our true ‘old’ friends, because the luckiest of us will have friends who, despite not really understanding what all the fuss is about, will remain wonderful cheerleaders to our cause! They are the supportive friends who stifle yawns while listening to us ramble on about our latest conquests and catch us when we fall…again!
Over the years my circle of friends has evolved to include those who share my developing interests and those who have been with me through thick and thin. I’ve also lost a few friends along the way as our paths have diverged and I believe this is a healthy development for many reasons.
In the end, nothing stays the same and this includes our friendships. The important thing is to know when to hold tight, when to release and when to accept and allow the new to touch us. I hope this little friendship exploration has given you a little food for thought and that you continue to develop your friendships for the best for all! What have your experiences taught you? Please leave a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts!