Vaxtarverkir mínir á árinu 2021 - þægindaramminn og allt það

My Growing Pains in 2021 - Comfort Zone and All


Pushing myself to step outside my comfort zone is always on my mind. I believe that’s how I grow the most and test my wings. I often encourage others to do the same, so in 2021, I decided to keep challenging myself and be a role model for what I teach.

Some new steps we take to grow and be visible might lie outside our comfort zone. To take those steps can cause internal tremors and shake us to our core, awakening our inner critic. That’s why we often give up on our dreams, fearing the unpleasant tasks that might come with them. The inner critic can be relentless. But the more we practice facing these challenges, the more we realize it's just growing pains.

Our comfort zones vary. For some, posting on Facebook or talking to strangers is a big step. For others, it might be starting a business, holding an art show, performing on stage, or releasing a song.

Starting my business Sálarlist(Kristín´s Soulful Art) and starting to sell my paintings required many steps outside my comfort zone. Releasing courses, advertising my work, and creating a website all involve saying, "Hey, here I am, and I'm doing this." It always shakes me, awakens my inner critic, and brings fear. "What if no one comes, buys, likes...?" But I've learned that fear is always there. So, I perform with fear in the back seat while I stay in the driver’s seat.

I no longer find it difficult to give lectures or teach at the university, though I did at first. But in the past year, I’ve stepped out as "Kristín Berta the artist," not just "Kristín Berta the professional or teacher."

Who doesn't know the feeling of doing something new, expressing themselves, meeting new people, and then second-guessing everything? After an interview on the national radio in Iceland, my inner critic went wild. "You forgot to say this, why did you say that?" But I knew how he worked, so I sought support from friends and didn't let my critic stop me. I sent him to his "garden" while these growing pains passed.

The uncomfortable feeling quickly passed. After all, I have worked hard on silencing my inner art critic and teach others to do the same.

For a long time, I wanted to interview my dad about his creativity and his children´s book which I illustrated this year and he republished in May 2021. My inner critic tried to stop me. "Where will you interview him? You don’t have a podcast." "This is a stupid idea, no one will watch." "What if you look foolish?" "What if no one cares?"

These thoughts always come! The mind tries to protect us from embarrassment by keeping us in our comfort zone. But if we listen to this voice, we will never do anything new. My counterarguments were: "This is something I want to do." "This will be valuable for my children to watch later." "Even if no one else watches, our friends and family will, and they are what matter most."

When fear kicks in, I think about the feeling of not trying. If it's not important, it's okay. But if it is important, the fear of not trying is stronger than the fear of failing. I use that as my driving force. I can always say:


"At least I tried"

-Kristín Berta Guðnadóttir-



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