Are you comfortable with feeling uncomfortable?

Not something they teach you in school.

If your answer is no, you will find it hard to try new things and maintain an open mind about your forever changing self.

Your body pretty much unfurled and formed by itself as you grew from a baby into a toddler into a teenager and beyond. At the same time, your sense-of-self needed experience, knowledge and memory as building blocks.

Driven by your innate curiosity, you initially played with all colours, shapes and sizes. But you soon intuited your significant elders interpretations of your exploration, showering you with love and affection when you met the criteria of the tribe, and withdrawing from you with frowned looks and cold energy if you didn’t.

You’re a boy.
Pink socks? No!
Blue socks? Yes!

Disapproval rattles the part of you that wants to belong (it’s the lizard brain, stupid!). Approval unsettles the part of you that wants to feel full of life through adventure, risk, innovation and excitement.

The rules of the tribe become firmly embedded and your mind takes over the tribal arbitration as by osmosis. ‘I like this’, ‘I don’t like that’, ‘I am like this, not like that’. ‘I’ve never been able to eat peanut butter’, ‘I’ve always loved dogs’. ‘I’m shy’, ‘I like to be the centre of attention’, ‘I…’ You can’t try new things because you’re already fully formed. Set in concrete. Or so you think — and even feel.

Now try and change that.

Circumvent the internalised arbiter and the fearful people pleaser and you’re away. Short-circuit that fearful reptile part of the brain through the smallest acts of exploration, defiance, humour and creativity. Suspend the call for efficiency, be happy to bust your own myth of who you think you are. Don’t go it alone, but find or create a tribe that supports and encourages it.

Cliché or not, all boundary-pushing, eternally curious, interesting, eccentric, innovative travelers, cooks, thieves, inventors, entrepreneurs, knitters, entertainers, scientists, artists, lovers, happy sages and other brave humans have one thing in common: they feel uncomfortable but try it anyway.

Sitara Morgenster

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