[This is Part 2 or a 3 Part series.]
If any of the 11 signs of personal growth described in my first post resonated with you, or if you agree that we’re undergoing something major and world-shifting and if you’re feeling ready to take one step forward, I’d invite you to start by bringing your awareness to and absorbing these five principles.
I can almost guarantee you that without understanding and fully embracing these principles, your own journey will be slower, punctuated by more pain and self-doubt and peppered with more challenges.
Trust me, I would know.
But embracing these principles of life and personal growth can lift the heaviness of where we are from our shoulders and create an environment of peace and even excitement in our lives. It can shift us from overwhelm or apathy to clarity, acceptance and motivation.
Here they are, pretty much in the order of importance.
1. You are not wrong, broken, bad, or crazy.
It’s so tempting to use those words to describe ourselves. After all, conventional wisdom tells us if we’re feeling happy one moment and sad the next, if we can’t stop crying, or if we suddenly desire something more than what we’re accustomed to that we’re either bi-polar, depressed or experiencing a mid-life crisis.
I say screw them.
You are not wrong, broken, bad or crazy. You are human. You are diverse, sometimes messy and constantly evolving. You experience life deeply and it moves you in sometimes uncomfortable, but always opportunistic, ways.
All of this is good! And don’t for one minute think it’s not, for all of this is exactly what has been experienced by the great movers and shakers of the world, the creatives, the philosopher’s, the leaders and the world changers. They just didn’t had the burden of judgment or expectation like we do today.
2. Everyone does the best they can with the tools they have.
If you or someone else is not doing their personal best or the best you think is possible, it means you/they either lack the necessary tools or something else is getting in your/their way.
Understanding this gives us the ability to view ourselves and others with compassion and patience. It also begs to ask what we can do to help.
Life isn’t a sprint for everyone. We’re all going to move at our own pace. Treating yourself and others with gentle compassion and trust is the only way to ensure we’ll all keep growing. Judgment, guilt, fear, impatience…they are surefire ways to shut growth down.
Along with this principle is the fact that we are all looking and moving toward a greater good when we are fully authentic and feeling whole. We all ultimately and truly want what is best for everyone, even if we don’t know or are confused on how to get it.
If you’re struggling with personal growth, keep this one in mind and seek out new tools or self-awareness to get yourself unstuck.
3. There is no such thing as a lost opportunity.
Life is cyclical. Things always come back around.
If you feel as though you (or someone else) missed an opportunity, or maybe you just don’t feel ready for it, you can rest assured it will make its way back to you.
Be careful pushing things aside for later though; sometimes it’s harder to accomplish the second time than if you embrace the opportunity the first time around.
Instead, I’d recommend trusting that there are no mistakes and that the timing is perfect, even if not from our limited perspective.
4. The bigger your game, the bigger the obstacles.
Who here has ever been onto something really, really juicy and suddenly been blindsided by a string of bad luck, innumerable challenges or some serious self-sabotaging? (*raising hand*)
It can feel like everything is going wrong. It can feel like the cards are stacked against you. And you can begin to question what you’re doing – is it the right thing to do or am I the right person for the job?
Often times this looks like chaos, until we can be still and clearly see what it is: It’s not life or fate conspiring against us. It’s not bad luck. It’s just our own junk finally demanding face time.
Every time you’re about to experience a serious breakthrough, everything that does not serve you or will not serve you in the future, every old story you’ve told yourself, every fear that has held you back, every personal challenge you’ve ever had and never dealt with will suddenly surface.
Because they have no place in what you’re trying to create and in order to move forward into your future, you’ll have to spend some time with each of the things that has been holding you back.
Without giving them their face time, you won’t be able to leave them behind and without leaving them behind, you won’t move forward.
You can think of it a little like life testing your resolve. Or you can think of it as a spring cleaning of your soul to prepare you for the summer of your life.
Whatever image resonates with you, get ready to bring you’re A-game. Cuz it’s on.
5. This Too Shall Pass – If You Allow It
I don’t only mean if you allow it to pass, although not holding onto discord, drama or pain out of comfort or fear of change is important too.
What I really mean, though, is that you must allow yourself to be in this uncomfortable place for it to finally and fully come to pass. Resisting where you are or what you feel just postpones the process, and since life is cyclical (as described above), it will come back around.
This is the paradox of personal growth: Only by embracing What Is (the reality, the emotions, the everything) exactly as it is – with radical acceptance and without expectations of change – can it finally let us go.
You’ve got to be with it to be without it.
Sit with the sadness, the anger, the memories, the questions. Call them out and acknowledge them fully. Spend some time swimming in it. Without pointing fingers (at yourself or anyone else), just dwell in your experience. Allow it all to bubble out until there is finally nothing left to bubble and it detaches itself from you and you can experience the weightlessness left in its place.
By allowing it, it detaches itself from you and you from it. Then it becomes something that simply is, that has no power over you, and you can look at it with gratitude or compassion but no longer with pain or discomfort.
Included in this principle is a message of patience. As much as we’d like to, we simply cannot rush the process.
Deep breath. You’ll soon be glad you couldn’t.
Join the conversation:
Which of these principles is hardest for you to absorb?
Part Three: 8 Ways to Make Personal Growth Happen