This week has been a weird one but a good kind of weird. I taught myself to sew, I made amends with an old friend, and I started a blog, ha! So it only seems fitting that I talk about comfort zones and getting out of them.
I used to think I was a person who liked changed. Someone who even embraced it! But I’ve since learned I’m the exact opposite. I only like change that I can plan ahead for. I get comfortable with however I’ve been doing things most recently and any unexpected event ruins my entire day or sometimes week.
I’m embarrassed even admitting that but it’s true! Even good unexpected things will have me wallowing in pity and frustration. Part of it has to do with being autistic and truly struggling with the unexpected. And part of it is because I’ve allowed myself to build a habit of reacting this way.
So lately I’ve been trying to get out of my comfort zone. To push past the discomfort of new things and learn to be flexible in life. I don’t know about you… but.. um …being flexible is kind of painful. Have you every tried to do the splits or some other move and your body told you “NO!” Well that’s what my emotions say when things don’t go to plan… which is most of the time, haha!!
And I’m guessing some of you can relate too. Like when the night before you laid out everyone’s clothes, packed lunches, and have backpacks by the door… just to wake up and realize you slept through the alarm and are already an hour late!
Or maybe you had an interview and you prepared a nice resume, practiced answering questions, and bought a new outfit. Only for the bus to hit a bump in the road causing you to spill coffee all over yourself minutes before the meeting.
Things like this throw us out of our safety bubbles. Our zones where we’re able to calmly handle daily tasks. So it’s wise to make a habit of pushing the boundaries of our safety bubble to the point it starts expanding. And we do this by stepping out of our comfort zone. By trying knew things and ways of thinking. By acting against our negative emotions. By learning to not jump to conclusions.
Lately I’ve been trying to practice gratitude in the middle of sadness or frustration. I’m learning to give others the benefit of the doubt and put myself in their shoes. By practicing every day on these littles things I’ve noticed such an improvement in my outlook and response to unexpected situations.
A recent situation that normally would’ve had me flustered was few days ago while walking Marbles. We took a new path that’s slightly longer than our normal walk. And with our house nearly in sight she started getting too hot. I didn’t prepare or bring water because I’m not used to the summer heat yet and thought it was a relatively short block.
Apparently I was wrong… and Marbles let me know that by searching for water. So of course I let her slowly walk through the ditches in hopes of finding fresh running water but unfortunately most of it was stagnant or barely moving. We crossed the street to search the other side… at which point Marbles finally realized the water wasn’t good to drink. Luckily for me my dog is smart and she had an idea!
Before I even knew what was happening Marbles was fully submerged and rolling around in the mud… At first I was flustered and wasn’t sure what to do because she hates baths so cleanup wasn’t going to be easy. But for whatever reason, this time I let that thought go and just laughed out loud at how ridiculously funny my dog looked.
Covered in mud and drenched, Marbles was finally cooling off but now she was having fun and thought “what’s a few more rolls in the mud after the first one.” Just as I decided to allow my dog to enjoy this rare occasion I looked up. And out on her front porch shaking her head and staring at us was the owner of the home who’s yard we were in…
Shame, regret, frustration, blame, and embarrassment all started to rise up within me as I realized I looked like a little girl who was unable to control her giant pit bull dog. I wanted to blame marbles for rolling in the mud and myself for letting her walk through the water… and as those two thoughts crossed my mind I realized how misguided my blame was.
My dog was overheated and yes that was my fault for poorly preparing but I did the right thing once I realized the situation. And Marbles did too! So instead of letting all those negative emotions take over I released them. And instead I continued to laugh with my dog. And if some random person decides to have a bad attitude that’s on them and none of my business.
When we finally made it home I spent the next couple hours trying to bathe my dog. Travis and I are still finding mud caked in her fur three days later so I guess come Monday Marbles is going to the doggy spa! But until then I’ll be having a nap and a snack.