Putting yourself “out there” — it’s not as bad as it seems

Sarah Rice, Reporter

With the start of yet another school year comes a blank slate- new classes, new teachers, new activities, new friends, new goals. It is the perfect opportunity to hit the reset button and make this year meaningful. A simple change in intentions can send shockwaves through varying aspects of your life, changing things for the better.

But change can be difficult, especially when you don’t know where to start or how to put yourself out there. For many people, it takes practice to develop confidence with regards to forming new relationships, participating in different activities, and stepping outside of comfort zones. These skills remain relevant long after high school, however, making it even more important to learn them now.

When starting something new, the fear of failure will exist. No one in their right mind wants to willingly put themselves in a situation that could go utterly, terribly wrong. So, naturally, you need to get out of your mind. You often act as your own biggest enemy, coming up with an infinite number of “what if” situations while picturing the worst possible incident occurring. When you get out of your head, whether through distractions, calming breaths, or the comfort of trusted individuals, you have the opportunity to regain control over your thoughts. As you put yourself in an uncomfortable or new position, work towards having perspective and realizing that sometimes, addressing your biggest fears can actually be beneficial.

The opportunities are endless once you gain control over your fears, so why waste time exploring activities or situations that you already know? Trying something new, while sage advice, is constantly repeated because it really works. Clubs, sports, arts, social events- take your pick, as long as it isn’t something you usually do. New experiences not only introduce you to activities that you actually enjoy or excel at, but they also put you in a position to interact with new groups of people. The members of an art club might not share many similarities with those who participate in the Model UN, but the differences between these groups allows you to experiment with your likes, dislikes, and comfort levels around these new individuals. And who knows, one or two of them might just become your new best friend.

As you go through the process of trying new things and meeting new people, the easiest- and possible most important- thing to do is promote kindness towards yourself and towards others. All acts of kindness, big or small, leave a lasting impact on those whom it affects. A kind person is a memorable person, even if the kind act itself isn’t memorable. Amid all of these new activities, fears, and people, returning to the concept of basic compassion can you refocus on the goals and principles that truly matter.

You also, however, deserve kindness. Be kind to yourself during this process, and accept that you are not perfect. Forgive your mistakes, celebrate your successes, and take pride in the decision to step outside of your comfort zone.