As a kid I was typically down to Earth and “low energy” when I socialized with other people. That’s not to say I was relaxed (as I certainly suffered from moderate to major social anxiety). Rather what I’m saying is that I took myself very seriously and I often had difficultly expressing myself. I was the kid who was too scared to ever let loose and allow himself to be craaaaazy.
Fast forward to the last couple years, however, and being off the wall has become my default state. It’s gotten to the point where sometimes others are overwhelmed by the intensity of my energy. I’ll dance around screaming YEAHHH WHOOOO WHOOO PARTAAAAAY, and other people will be confused or weirded out at how crazy I’m being.
Until recently I’d had a number of rationalizations for the continuation of my behavior.
“They can’t take my positive energy? Hmmm... I guess they’re beat down by life and only resonate with negativity.”
“Maybe they’re weirded out because they have success barriers around hanging out with a person at my level.”
“I guess the reason this isn’t working is that I need to be even more expressive. Maybe I’m not being intense enough.”
However, recently I’ve had a shift in the way I view things. I realized that perhaps it’s not other people that are the problem. Perhaps it’s not even the intensity of my energy that’s the problem.
Maybe the problem is the place my off the wall behavior is coming from and the inability of other people to relate to it. Maybe the problem isn’t my level of energy, but that I’ve identified with being the crazy guy and forgotten how to have a relaxed, socially calibrated conversation.
Being off the wall was outside of my comfort zone 5-6 years ago. For that reason I always tried to push myself in that direction. However, over the last couple years being crazy in social situations had actually become my comfort zone and I’d grown uncomfortable doing anything outside of it.
When your comfort zone changes the way you approach self-improvement must as well. My failure to realize this has led to the regression of some of the social progress I’d made over the last few years.
Once I’d gotten comfortable with being crazy in social situations I should have immediately taken another step outside of my comfort zone by learning to intertwine the occasional bit of craziness with socially calibrated conversations and empathizing with other people.
I’ve recently begun working on that and as my comfort zone has begun to expand again I’m beginning to see my social skills hit a new level as well. It would’ve been nice to have learned this idea earlier, but at least I can offer it to you now.
When your comfort zone changes the way you approach self-improvement must as well. Positive change can’t occur within your comfort zone because the definition of personal growth is literally the expansion of your comfort zone.
As you become a stronger person you must expand your responsibilities or take on new ones that’ll continue to challenge you. If you fail to do so you’ll grow accustomed to what you’re currently doing and your comfort zone will shrink and your self-respect will diminish.