Words by: Zoe Spiers. Follow more of her journey on her Instagram, @boporecoverywarrior.
Open your stationery drawer, and chances are that everyone has elastic bands lingering in there ready for use. There are so many different types of elastic bands, ranging from pink to black to multicolored – buying them in a box, a tin or even as part of an elastic band ball!
Why am I talking about elastic bands? Because I think they are such a good example of your own individual comfort zone. Elastic bands come in all different sizes, much like the size of everyone’s own comfort zone differs – some are bigger, some are smaller, but they all stretch. In order for us to grow, we need to step out of our comfort zone and allow for personal growth, healing and development to take place – no matter how small or big that first step may be. This could be challenging yourself to a fear food or going to a social event – big or small, growth and healing come from moving out of your comfort zone.
It’s most likely going to be uncomfortable, sometimes painful and often messy but this is where the elastic band theory comes back into the picture. When you stretch an elastic band past its natural state, it still bounces back – in other words, your comfort zone will always be there, ready and waiting after you’ve taken the plunge to step out of it.
Your comfort zone isn’t fixed – it can change, grow and expand over time. Stretch an elastic band enough times, it starts to get bigger; stepping out of your comfort zone often enough, challenging yourself regularly, means that your comfort zone will stretch with you as things you once perceived as scary become less scary. Just like the elastic band, you will grow – and that’s pretty magical.
Sometimes, stretching yourself can lead to the panic area – we want to avoid that as much as possible because your elastic band hasn’t stretched enough to reach this area comfortably. That’s okay! It’s not a race to expand your comfort zone – everyone is going at their own pace on this journey.
That being said, sometimes we do stretch ourselves into the panic zone, and that’s when our elastic band might snap. That can be terrifying, potentially sending us into a spiral of feeling like we’ve failed – but we haven’t.
Remember that rubber bands don’t come in packs of one. It may take a few tries to learn just how far you can stretch a rubber band without snapping it. We have to be patient; the band has to stretch out gradually, as do you.
I challenge you to stretch your elastic band, step out of your comfort zone – even the smallest step is progress. Remember, all the magic happens when you stretch yourself; let the healing and growth happen.