How did you feel just reading the title of this piece?

Moving outside your comfort zone can be a frightening prospect, and it certainly takes practice. However, it can be done, at your own pace and on your terms. But how do you even know you need to move outside of where you are right now? Maybe you don’t. Let’s explore the goal anyway.

It was so difficult for me to go from shockingly low self-esteem, barely being able to keep a roof over mine and my children’s heads and being so depressed I could barely wash myself most days, to where I am now….

….living fully.

But what does that even mean?

Is it just another guruesk phrase to bamboozle our brains?

Or is there something to this that none of us can afford to ignore?

In my experience, the latter is true. I could not and cannot afford to ignore this concept. By doing so I am, in essence, ignoring everything that I authentically am. I have searched and searched for the answer to happiness and fulfillment and I’ve now discovered I’ve had the answer all along.

If this sounds too love and light for you, here is the layman’s way of saying the same thing.

Living fully, in my estimation, is when bravery becomes a way of life.

You don’t even realize you are being brave anymore. You become a person of action instead of a person who overthinks and talks themselves out of everything! You do this by stepping outside your comfort zone, out of that strategically placed box that has been created for you, and living life with you at the helm.

And I know you know what I mean. I know that as you read this, you recognize the discomfort rising in you because you have that internal voice too. You’re clean and sober. You’ve quit overeating, you’ve got your sex addiction, smoking, spending all under control….

….but that gnawing, gut churning, irritating feeling won’t go away. It can be hellish at times. Repetitive thoughts, that seemingly come from nowhere and give you a burn in your soul, haunt you.

What the hell is it?

Well, that would be your calling, my dear. Your life purpose; the reason you were put on the planet, begging and demanding to be heard after years of being drowned out with whatever substance or behaviour you’ve been obsessed with. Now at last, there’s room for it to make itself known to you.

And it’s impatient and loud and pissed off with being tossed aside. Now your fearful, limiting thoughts and your deep inner knowing that you have important life’s work to do, are in hand to hand combat. It feels as if you have two versions of yourself living inside you.

Can’t we all relate to that?

The mental push and pull we deal with every day between what we feel obligated to and what our true life’s purpose is.

The question is, which version of yourself will you pick?

Well let’s look at the options here.

Your first option is, a life lived in mediocrity. You will be somewhat happy. You may have a great job, a great family, and life looks good on the outside. But there’s that something missing. A burning, a creativity, a dormant part of yourself that you know is there but you haven’t met yet. It bubbles up from time to time but you push it back down because you just don’t have time to address this right now.

Your other option is to live fully. To choose a path that isn’t always easy. Where you decide to take action, and scare the crap out of yourself on a daily or weekly basis, until that fear becomes joy. On deeper investigation, I discovered that fear and joy are one and the same thing. It just depends on your perspective.

Living fully takes sacrifice at first.

You may need to survive on less money and work less hours so you can dedicate time to your passion. It may mean working long hours at your job and then staying up later to pursue that dream. It may simply be buying that material to make that dress, or sing that song, or paint that picture. It could be to write a novel.

Or it just may be being brave enough to say hi to that girl you’ve always wanted to talk to, or sit in a café by yourself despite feeling socially awkward.

Bravery is living fully. To ignite your heart and soul with, as Susan Jeffers describes it, feeling the fear and doing it anyway, becomes a lifestyle. It will take you to places inside yourself that you never knew existed. To practice bravery on a small scale will open you up like nothing else can. It will then snowball until you have no choice but to have a new and brilliant experience of life.

Is your inner dialogue going to continue to be “I’ve always wanted to do that but” and you then list a million reasons why you can’t do that thing?

Or are you finally going to allow yourself to live the life you’ve always dreamed of?

It’s your choice. It’s your life. I hope you live it fully!


Nicola is our Blog and Article Editor at Her work has been published internationally in many recovery publications and poetry books. She is a qualified Reflexologist, Masseuse and Life Coach. She has created content for for 7 years. She was Editor at She is also an author at The Girl God books. She has lived with type 1 diabetes since she was 7 years old.


  1. Hi, I just read Nicola O’Hanlon’s article about comfort zones. I’ve been fleeing vs. fighting since my teens and am now labeled as someone with Avoidant Personality Disorder. Booze and drugs help me escape mentally but I know my fears are not real and there’s only one way to prove that.

    I’m having some trouble finding a CBT program in my area as I am on disability.
    Comfort zone training sounds exactly like CBT
    Still, it’s hard to teach old dogs.

  2. Paula Carey Reply

    Hi Nicola, I just want to commend you on your essays, I just came across your work today. Your writing is so beautiful, raw and uplifting and I enjoyed reading your stories of how we continue to punish ourselves and the importance of making peace with ourselves.

    I can relate, it’s a daily practice to become aware of the mean/sad/cruel thoughts that are an indicator of the parts of us that remain unhealed. The parts of us that are still programmed to inflict pain on ourselves, that tell us we are not good enough, smart enough, well enough etc.. The old beliefs that someone else taught us were true but were not true.

    If we were half as kind to ourselves as we are to others, we would be healed long ago. But, bit by bit as we show compassion to ourselves, we nudge ourselves along the unfamiliar road of loving ourselves and those bull crap beliefs will fade away because there is no energy feeding them.

    For as much of the day as possible, stay connected to our heart which is where we find truth. We can still hide under the duvet but might find that we need to dive under there a bit less often when through compassion for ourselves, we realise we are safe to stand upright and take our rightful place in this world.

    Thanks so much Nicola, I hope you know how inspiring you are.

    Much love

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