Exploring & Getting out of your Comfort Zone

Hello and good afternoon! Today I want to explain the importance of exploring life outside of your comfort zone, tell you guys what happened to me once I did just that (good things, I promise), and fill everyone in on what my life has been like this past year.

First of all, this year has been the best year so far for me. Here’s a few things that happened to me: I finally decided on a career path; I want to be a florist. To work in a flower shop and eventually move my way over to weddings. So, I started school specifically for this. I’m going to trade schools and such, I’m trying to learn all I can before I get a job in this field. I finish school on my two year anniversary with my fiance in a couple of weeks. I’ll be looking for work next year in San Diego (if anyone knows of anything or any people hiring or accepting internships for florists, let me know please! Much appreciated).

Speaking of my finace… I’m engaged! It happened in September this year. I don’t remember a time where I’ve ever been this happy! It’s really quite amazing.

Now, as for my comfort zone… I’ve always had trouble trying new things, whether it be trying different foods or going to places for the first time or meeting new people. I have tons of anxiety so I’ve kind of cut myself off from anything that’s out of my comfort zone basically all my life.

I went to visit my brother on the other side of the state this past summer. He’s always challenging me to get out of my comfort zone because he knows it’s good for me and that I’ve basically never had to do most of my life. I love visiting him but there was always this part of me that dreaded going to see him because he’ll make me do new things outside of my comfort zone. So, of course when I wasn’t thinking clearly (at least that’s what I told myself) I told him I’d be willing to try most foods he makes me eat as long as it’s not spicy. I’m very picky, so after I told him, I was sure I had made a mistake. But, as it turns out I discovered that I actually like lettuce (just one kind though) and cashews and a few other things I can’t remember right this moment. It was amazing for me and my family to see me do this. During the moment it was terrifying but afterwards I was amazed and it felt awesome being so proud of myself. After that trip I’ve been way more open to new foods than I have ever been in my whole life.

Another thing I’ve been doing this past year is making my own decisions, and understanding that it’s ok to be wrong. I know that people make mistakes and that’s ok as long as you learn from them. But I have a habit of excluding myself from all of this. For example, other people deserve this and that, but not me. It’s ok to cry, but not me. I always give people advice but I need to take my own advice because I never include myself. I think it’s weird and I have no idea when or how this thought process started.

Currently I live with my future in-laws. My fiance’s parents. They’re the best. They’ve helped me grow in so many ways. I am often challenged to make my own decisions, but I’m not left without help. They reassure me that it’s my decision, I’m an adult I can make my own decisions but they’re going to give me advice and what they think I should do and it’s up to me if I want to do it or not. Before I moved in with them, I never knew this. Before, I’ve always looked to my mom or dad for an answer to a question I was asked. And they’d answer for me. It started as a child when I was too scared to speak because I didn’t want to say anything wrong or make someone mad, etc. I let my anxiety get in the way of my speech.

Now, I still have struggles with speaking my mind, and many other things, of course, but I’m doing way better and I’ve grown so incredibly much and it amazes me to think that I used to be completely silent and I wouldn’t speak a word because I couldn’t, and not just because I was scared, but because my fear was so strong my throat would close up and no words could escape me. My family has said that they’ve never seen me talk like I am now-animatedly and excitedly, happily, and now I talk a lot. Which is HUGE. I still don’t talk as much as the average person would but it’s a lot for me.

I still have a lot of things to learn. But I’m getting there; I’m learning and it’s great. And I never thought I’d say that, haha!

If you’ve gotten this far into my post, I applaud you! Now here’s the point, so keep reading:

Getting out of your comfort zone is incredibly difficult and scary. And it can be hard during the moment to understand that it’s ok, what is happening is good, you’re getting out of your comfort zone and that’s great! It takes a lot of strength and courage and willpower to do it. But you can do it. And afterwards? You’ll be amazed and so proud of yourself and others will be too.

Now go out and explore the world around you. You’ll grow way faster by doing so! Staying in your comfort zone your whole life will stop your growth. Seriously! It stopped mine. And now I’m growing so much and I never thought I’d ever be doing the things I’m doing now. I never ever thought I’d be who I am today.

Take small steps everyday. You’ll be surprised at what you discover you can do.

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x Stefani

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Don’t Let Others Take Control of Your Life

Hi! Happy June! It’s June right? Time just kind of flew by. How is everyone? I’ve been pretty absent on here lately.

Well, today I want to talk about this quote I rediscovered today. I first found it around this time last year, and it goes like this:

“This is your world. Shape it or someone else will.”

This quote can mean a lot of things. I feel like people can interpret it a bunch of different ways. But this is how I interpret it:

The first thing I think about is the abuse I suffered and how much my abuser controlled me, whether it be manipulation with her words or how my thinking patterns changed. Because she controlled so much of my life, my life basically revolved around her, i.e., anything and everything I did was to make her happy instead of angry. Granted, she got angry anyways because she always found something to be mad about.

But my point is this: I let her shape my world. She controlled my world with fear, manipulation, anger, etc. I was becoming “the backlash of somebody’s lack of love” (a quote from the song “Brave” by Sara Bareilles). I started to get angry, really angry. I don’t think I lashed out at anyone a lot, most of the time I’d take it out on myself.

I always put her first, and I’d try to the best of my ability to treat her with kindness and love, even though she didn’t treat me that way. And yet I was still called selfish. All the time. I can count four times where I’d snapped at her when I lost control of my anger towards her and my ability to think before I speak, but directly after I’d stay quiet until I knew I could only speak kindly to her to the best of my ability. Because as the saying goes, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

My thinking patterns changed a lot. I had always kind of been the person to put others first and had difficulty saying “no” most of the time. I said “sorry” a lot. All that stuff. But over those five long years of living with her I’d taken all this to the extreme. After being called “selfish” and “annoying” a lot (when I was just trying to be nice), I began to apologize even more, for everything, things I didn’t do because I didn’t want to be selfish so I figured if I could somehow be the one whose to blame, all the time, I won’t be selfish any of the time. If I never tell someone “no” then I’m never selfish because I’m not putting myself first ever and if I let them do whatever they want, then they won’t be mad or upset at me.

On January 1st, 2015 I had a breakdown. After using this “no selfish rule” for most of my lifeĀ I had finally reached my breaking point. It was super difficult but I managed to talk it out to a few people, and we all decided to work on it together. I would work on putting myself first, saying “no” and to only be sorry when it’s appropriate, and they would help me. I was scared. I still am. But it’s progress.

My boyfriend is constantly reminding me that she’s out of my life now and I don’t have to let her control me. That’s a reminder I think everyone should have.

The second thing I think about, which should probably be first, is God. If you focus on people, and letting them take control over your life, your thoughts, etc. then maybe you aren’t putting God first and letting him take the reins of your life. He has the best plan for you. You may not see it yet and you may go through obstacles. But those obstacles you’re going through? You can handle them with God by your side. God never gives you something you can’t handle.

Walk by faith, not by sight. Let your faith be bigger than your fears.

What does that quote make you think of? The first thing that comes to mind? I’d love to listen and discuss it with you!

Don’t forget to stay strong and courageous! Have the most wonderful June yet!

Until next time. x Stefani