I watched my brave six-year-old scale higher and higher. Every few steps she’d look back and say “I can’t!” but we’d have none of that. We cajoled, we encouraged, we applauded and we pretended the word “can’t” hurt our ears. Higher and higher she climbed and soon she was at the top. She was so proud. Twice more she scaled to the top before the class was over. Now that the path had been traveled, it was no longer scary. Today I watched her confidence grow and that makes a parent proud!
Then I thought, when was the last time I said “I can’t” to myself? How many paths have I avoided that could be familiar by now? Who is going to cheer me on when the path looks scary? Who says that children are the only ones who need to build confidence? Why don’t we adults have to leave our comfort zones? Why is learning reserved for the young?
I don’t like it when I think these thoughts. I like being comfortable. Yet, I know I am a hypocrite if I don’t lead by example. I’ve never wanted to be the parent that says “Do as I say.” instead of “Do as I do.” If I want my children to be strong, healthy, confident adults, shouldn’t I want the same for myself?
So today I started yoga again. I had forgotten how much I love yoga. I went online and ordered books from the library in subjects I don’t normally read. I’m going to work on art projects again without care for how they end up. It won’t be easy and I know many things will be abandoned along the way, but I’m determined to start looking at myself with the same gentleness I do my children. If I don’t, I may just start treating them the way I’ve treated myself. Being overly critical and harsh has made me overly cautious and fearful. I would rather we all learn to climb than be stuck comfortably on the ground.
So, how do you step out of your comfort zone? When was the last time you did something new?