As humans, we are naturally and inevitably bound by fear; we attempt to stray from it because we are taught to avoid bad things. Therefore we form a habit of avoiding our horrors, but with habits come routines and before long, we are tightly bound within an adequate enclosure encompassed by strong walls of fear and routine, which we build ourselves to maintain comfort. This is known as a comfort zone. Life lived strictly inside the boundaries of a comfort zone is not life, only existence. How long can we sit in our cages before our bodies begin to cry for activity, begin to wonder about the outside? Luckily, our toolboxes of brains include axes…I believe in pick, pick, picking at the walls of my comfort zone.
An arachnophobic friend of mine was once late to school due to a spider impeding her pathway into the kitchen and she could not muster the courage to walk past it. She is also afraid of roller coasters, skiing, insects, failure (whether she knows it or not), plus more. Upon going to the amusement park with her friends, she waits alone at the ride entrance; when the family goes skiing, her parents take turns sitting at the bottom with her. She is too riddled by her fears and seduced by her comfort zone to participate in her comrades’ fun, but she still feels the sting of being left out: the claustrophobia of her comfort zone. My friend may never know the exhilaration of a roller coaster; she is too worried about how slow she is to enjoy the intoxication of a flat-out sprint and the sensation of defeating a fear could always be foreign to her. These possibilities sadden me for I have enjoyed them myself. It is sadder that there are more like her - those with dull axes.
I consider snakes, roller coasters, spiders, and clowns to be petty fears (I am not saying I am a super-human who holds none) but they are small things we begin with in the process of overcoming fear. Starting a new school or standing up to or for a friend can often be slightly more frightening. I believe that standing up for myself or someone else requires courage. I also believe it is necessary. It’s much like the Checks and Balances system - a certain branch of government has some say in the others’ actions and they get to call them out if something is wrong. Since this has been used in the US government for over a hundred years, it has probably been working; ergo, this should be used in our day-to-day society as well. Not by nosing around in people’s business but by having the guts to call someone out on her actions towards others.
“We believe in ordinary acts of bravery. In the courage that drives one person to stand up for another,” Veronica Roth wrote in Divergent.
I believe my comfort zone is real and a real problem. Cars powered by fossil fuels are convenient but gradually kill the planet; likewise, comfort zones seem cozy but keep us from experiencing so much life. I find it important to remember some external source does not inflict comfort zones upon us; they are products of thoughts we create. And if we can create them, we can destroy them. Fears like loss or death are more onerous or maybe impossible to eliminate, but if you can’t destroy them, level them out and use them as solid ground to build your life upon. Not around. Fearless is impossible, but the objective is to live in spite of fear and thrive from it. So, I believe in comfort zones and the fear building them, but I believe even more in the power we hold within ourselves to pick our axes through the enclosures and overcome fear.
I believe in bravery.