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Life Is About Leaving The Comfort Zone And A Little More

Life Is About Leaving The Comfort Zone And A Little More

We all do it. We get comfortable, we settle in, we buckle up, we play it safe. In habitual, neurological fashion, our brain processes this comfort zone as the best way to experience life because it feels safe, and safe means we won’t die. But this comfort zone is merely a habit, passed down through generations of ancestors who actually needed to be safe from wild animals, severe weather, lack of food. In other words, this comfort zone does not serve us.

What does serve us is getting out into the world and experiencing life. Soaking in the world’s diversity, chaos, and wonder. Stepping into new experiences and pushing our own comfort zones beyond the borders of fight or flight. So here’s how to get a little more out of your life by leaving your comfort zone:

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Where you are right at this moment is not (necessarily) where you need to be for the rest of your life.

The thing we have to sort out in our brains from time to time is that nothing in this life is inevitable. Absolutely everything and everyone we surround ourselves with is a choice. Which means it is up to you to forge your path. If you’re living at home, or in a city you’re not crazy about, or working a job that is just sort of okay, this isn’t a life sentence. Expand what you think is possible. Write down an ideal life for yourself. Make it absurd, make it unconventional, make it connected to your gut feeling, not your skeptical brain. Then write down your daily life as it stands now. These two lists hold the same amount of non-inevitability, but you made a choice to live one of them. Make a new choice.

If you never leave your 100-mile radius, get out of town and see more of the world. 

There is more to life than just what is in front of our noses. We can reason away that we’re expanding our horizons by trying a new Thai restaurant, or seeing a new play, but that’s not the same as leaving the comfort of our familiar streets and heading out into the unknown. Changing up our geographical location shakes up our insides. Simply being in a new landscape where you are literally looking at new things can change your entire life perspective. With apps like Airbnb, Living Social, and Groupon, there is no reason you can’t switch things up on the fly. Do not think. Just go.

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Just say yes. 

There is one rule in improv comedy: “Yes, and…” You don’t say no to your scene partner because it stops the action. Saying no means everything screeches to a halt and the flow that was building gets immediately shut down. Saying “Yes, and…” to life means you are open to experiences and people, you don’t immediately shut down when someone offers an opportunity and you are able to move forward with both trust and enthusiasm. The next time someone asks you to do something that would take you out of your comfort zone, follow these three steps: Slow Down. Listen. Say yes.

Try all the things you know you want to do. 

You know those things you wanted to do as a kid? Be an astronaut, go horseback riding, write the best sci-fi novel ever written? Chances are there is still a little bit of that desire resonating in your bones. Sit down and make a long list of things that spark a mild interest in you. If you’re not sure where to begin, try a random search engine like StumbleUpon to get your creative juices flowing. Look at your list and assign one new thing to each month of the year. You’re not committing to much, just one new activity a month, but it will fill you up and break your comfort zone on the regular.

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Talk to strangers. 

We are so trained to think strangers will harm us, especially when we live in a big city. But strangers offer a perspective that our friends and family just aren’t giving us. Standing in line for coffee and talking to a stranger usually means there is no pretense. Neither of you care so much what the other thinks, so you’re just a meeting of the minds in that one moment in time. Talking to strangers can be disarming and freeing and let you see the world in all its magical diversity and expansiveness.

Do something you know you won’t be good at.

Maybe the best way to get out of your comfort zone is to do something that will not make you look good. Go ahead and fail. The best way to see that your comfort zone is holding you back from experiencing all the abundance life has to offer is to realize that when you fail, your heart keeps beating, your next breath comes, and it doesn’t hurt as much as you thought it would. When you do something you know you’ll stink at, you begin the learning process again. That learning process is uncomfortable at first, but think about how much you’ve already learned in life. If you hit a certain age and think there is nothing left to learn, you’ve just shut yourself off to the wide range of life’s experiences. Doing something you might fail at is the best initiator for innovation, creation and quantum leaps. Failing never felt so good.

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Courtney Romano

Courtney is an actress, NASM-certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and wellness coach.

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Published on May 4, 2021

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

They say we are the average of the five persons we spend the most time with. For a minute, consider the people around you. Are they truly who your “tribe” should be or who you aspire to become in the future? Are they really genuine people who want to see you succeed? Or are they fake people who don’t really want to see you happy?

In this article, I’ll review why it is important to surround yourself with genuine individuals—the ones who care, bring something to our table, and first and foremost, who leave all fakeness behind.

How to Spot Fake People?

When you’ve been working in the helping professions for a while, spotting fake people gets a bit easier. There are some very clear signs that the person you are looking at is hiding something, acting somehow, or simply wanting to get somewhere. Most often, there is a secondary gain—perhaps attention, sympathy, or even a promotion.

Whatever it is, you’re better off working their true agenda and staying the hell away. Here are some things you should look out for to help spot fake people.

1. Full of Themselves

Fake people like to show off. They love looking at themselves in the mirror. They collect photos and videos of every single achievement they had and every part of their body and claim to be the “best at what they do.”

Most of these people are actually not that good in real life. But they act like they are and ensure that they appear better than the next person. The issue for you is that you may find yourself always feeling “beneath” them and irritated at their constant need to be in the spotlight.

2. Murky in Expressing Their Emotions

Have you ever tried having a deep and meaningful conversation with a fake person? It’s almost impossible. It’s because they have limited emotional intelligence and don’t know how they truly feel deep down—and partly because they don’t want to have their true emotions exposed, no matter how normal these might be.

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It’s much harder to say “I’m the best at what I do” while simultaneously sharing “average” emotions with “equal” people.

3. Zero Self-Reflection

To grow, we must accept feedback from others. We must be open to our strengths and to our weaknesses. We must accept that we all come in different shapes and can always improve.

Self-reflection requires us to think, forgive, admit fault, and learn from our mistakes. But to do that, we have to be able to adopt a level of genuineness and depth that fake people don’t routinely have. A fake person generally never apologizes, but when they do, it is often followed with a “but” in the next breath.

4. Unrealistic Perceptions

Fake people most often have an unrealistic perception of the world—things that they want to portray to others (pseudo achievements, materialistic gains, or a made-up sense of happiness) or simply how they genuinely regard life outside themselves.

A lot of fake people hide pain, shame, and other underlying reasons in their behavior. This could explain why they can’t be authentic and/or have difficulties seeing their environment for the way it objectively is (both good and bad).

5. Love Attention

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest sign that something isn’t quite right with someone’s behavior can be established by how much they love attention. Are you being interrupted every time you speak by someone who wants to make sure that the spotlight gets reverted back to them? Is the focus always on them, no matter the topic? If yes, you’re probably dealing with a fake person.

6. People Pleaser

Appreciation feels nice but having everyone like you is even better. While it is completely unrealistic for most people to please everyone all the time, fake people seem to always say yes in pursuit of constant approval.

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Now, this is a problem for two reasons. Firstly, these people are simply saying yes to things for their own satisfaction. Secondly, they often end up changing their minds or retracting their offer for one reason or another (“I would have loved to, but my grandmother suddenly fell ill.”), leaving you in the lurch for the 100th time this year.

7. Sarcasm and Cynicism

Behind the chronic pasted smile, fake people are well known for brewing resentment, jealousy, or anger. This is because, behind the postcard life, they are often unhappy. Sarcasm and cynicism are well known to act as a defense mechanism, sometimes even a diversion—anything so they can remain feeling on top of the world, whether it is through boosting themselves or bringing people down.

8. Crappy friend

Fake people are bad friends. They don’t listen to you, your feelings, and whatever news you might have to share. In fact, you might find yourself migrating away from them when you have exciting or bad news to share, knowing that it will always end up one way—their way. In addition, you might find that they’re not available when you truly need them or worse, cancel plans at the last minute.

It’s not unusual to hear that a fake person talks constantly behind people’s backs. Let’s be honest, if they do it to others, they’re doing it to you too. If your “friend” makes you feel bad constantly, trust me, they’re not achieving their purpose, and they’re simply not a good person to have around.

The sooner you learn to spot these fake people, the sooner you can meet meaningful individuals again.

How to Cope With Fake People Moving Forward?

It is important to remind yourself that you deserve more than what you’re getting. You are worthy, valuable, precious, and just as important as the next person.

There are many ways to manage fake people. Here are some tips on how to deal with them.

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1. Boundaries

Keep your boundaries very clear. As explained in the book Unlock Your Resilience, boundaries are what keep you sane when the world tries to suffocate you. When fake people become emotional vampires, make sure to keep your distances, limit contact, and simply replace them with more valuable interactions.

2. Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally

Sadly, they most likely have behaved this way before they knew you and will continue much longer after you have moved on. It isn’t about you. It is about their inner need to meet a void that you are not responsible for. And in all honesty, unless you are a trained professional, you are unlikely to improve it anyway.

3. Be Upfront and Honest About How You Feel

If your “friend” has been hurtful or engaged in behaviors you struggle with, let them know—nicely, firmly, however you want, but let them know that they are affecting you. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, you’ll feel better and when you’re ready to move on, you’ll know you tried to reach out. Your conscience is clear.

4. Ask for Advice

If you’re unsure about what you’re seeing or feeling, ask for advice. Perhaps a relative, a good friend, or a colleague might have some input as to whether you are overreacting or seeing some genuine concerns.

Now, don’t confuse asking for advice with gossiping behind the fake person’s back because, in the end, you don’t want to stoop down to their level. However, a little reminder as to how to stay on your own wellness track can never hurt.

5. Dig Deeper

Now, this one, I offer with caution. If you are emotionally strong, up to it, guaranteed you won’t get sucked into it, and have the skills to manage, perhaps you could dig into the reasons a fake person is acting the way they do.

Have they suffered recent trauma? Have they been rejected all their lives? Is their self-esteem so low that they must resort to making themselves feel good in any way they can? Sometimes, having an understanding of a person’s behavior can help in processing it.

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6. Practice Self-Care!

Clearly, putting some distance between the fake person and yourself is probably the way to go. However, sometimes, it takes time to get there. In the meantime, make sure to practice self-care, be gentle with yourself, and compensate with lots of positives!

Self-care can be as simple as taking a hot shower after talking to them or declining an invitation when you’re not feeling up to the challenge.

Spotting fake people isn’t too hard. They generally glow with wanna-be vibes. However, most often, there are reasons as to why they are like this. Calling their behavior might be the first step. Providing them with support might be the second. But if these don’t work, it’s time to stay away and surround yourself with the positivity that you deserve.

Final Thoughts

Remember that life is a rollercoaster. It has good moments, tough moments, and moments you wouldn’t change for the world. So, look around and make sure that you take the time to choose the right people to share it all with.

We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so take a good look around and choose wisely!

More Tips on Dealing With Fake People

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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