Acceptance, Comfort Zones and German Verbs

Me smiling in a cafe alleyway
This photo is me yesterday sat outside at a little coffee house in York. It got me thinking (not that it takes much :P) about acceptance, comfort zones, and, strangely, German verbs. (It’ll all make sense soon!)

This was the first time I have been to a coffee shop in months! I was a little bit apprehensive because I’m still not comfortable being around more than a couple of people, and am still definitely not ready for indoor meet-ups! This felt manageable though because I was outside, felt reassured that the owners had put the correct measures in place, and the place itself was quite quiet! That then meant that I was able to actually appreciate why I was there: to see my friends, catch up and have a good time!

I think one thing that has helped me recently is trying to accept (without judgement) where I’m at at any given point. Even little sayings like ‘this is where I am right now and that’s ok’ can be really helpful. The more I’ve been saying that, the more I’ve started to believe it.

Once I’ve accepted where I’m at, I can then consider whether that’s where I want to be. If yes, great! If not, I try to think of where I am now, where I want to be, and what steps I can take to get there. The likelihood is I will still have to push myself outside of my comfort zone, but having smaller, more attainable goals feels more manageable than having one huge goal that seems so out of reach. Having these smaller goals also helps me to feel like I’m making progress!

Take learning to ride a 2-wheeled bike as an example! If my dad would have taken me off my trike and put me straight on a bicycle with no stabilisers, I would probably have fallen off and given up. Riding a 2-wheeled bike was too out of reach at that moment. But moving me from a trike to a bike with stabilisers, to one stabiliser, to 10 seconds without stabilisers and so on enabled me to eventually reach my goal of being able to ride a bike! It took acceptance, perseverance, patience and a few grazed knees, but I got there in the end!

So back to current times. Maybe, like me, you’re a little (or very) apprehensive about coming out of lockdown. It can feel very overwhelming, like everything is happening at once and you just want things to slow down. Maybe others around you seem to be adapting more quickly, but that’s ok. It’s not a race! There’s often this sense that now we are allowed to do certain things, we have to rush to do them straight away, but that’s not the case! I never thought my German degree would come in handy for a blog post but I think it might!

In German (as in English), there are a group of verbs called modal verbs. Here are a few:

  • müssen – ‘must’ or ‘have to’
  • sollen – ‘should’ or ‘ought to’
  • dürfen – ‘allowed to’
  • können’ – ‘can’ or ‘able to’

Currently, we MUST follow certain rules. We are ALLOWED TO do certain things such as have a socially-distanced picnic in the park. Just because we are ALLOWED TO do something, it doesn’t mean we MUST, or even OUGHT TO. But what we are, or at least feel, ABLE TO do is a very personal thing, and can change over time.

Sorry if I lost you getting carried away with German verbs, but my point is this….

Maybe you are comfortable having a socially-distanced picnic in the park, or maybe you’re not quite there yet. Either way, that’s ok! Equally, there are some things that we’re not allowed to do right now, but that won’t be the case forever. Just like learning to ride a bike, it helps to try to accept where we are right now, and to be patient with ourselves and with the current situation. Step by step, we will be able to move forward, to reach those little goals and at some point, we will look back and realise that we have moved forward and have reached the bigger goal that once seemed out of reach!

So my questions to you… Where are you at right now? Where would you like to be? And what steps can you take to make that possible?

Onwards and upwards,

Rosie x





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