Growing into Your Own
Take a look outside your window. In just a few weeks nothing will look the same. The lush vibrancy of green will replace the dull brown and grey of winter. You probably won’t even remember what the scene looks like today.
Change is imperceptible, otherwise, it would scare the shit out of us! A soft warm rain one day brings a flush of fresh green growth the next. It happens while we’re not looking, but we never really witness the change until after. The results just appear, as if by magic.
It happens the same way with our lives. Change transforms us slowly, incrementally, like a flower unfolding. However, when we’re personally in the midst of change, it doesn’t always feel that easy (or as cleverly disguised). Sometimes it feels like a sledgehammer coming down on our heads and that’s when we need to pay attention.
The truth is most of us crave change somewhere in our lives; we may want a better physique, better relationships, or a better job. We’re hard-wired toward growth. Even if we’re unaware of it, something inside of us constantly urges us to become a greater version of who we are.
It’s natural that we grow and change just like every other living thing on Earth.
The need for personal change often shows up with feelings of discomfort or discontent that literally push us to begin exploring new options. Feelings of personal frustration, resentment, even anger can signal us that change is needed. Developing an awareness of what’s happening when those feelings arise and a willingness to participate in the process makes it easier.
However, if we sit back and wallow in the negative feelings, resisting their powerful pull, change is slowed, but never stopped. When we resist, the situation is liable to become much worse as we fight against the feelings pushing us to change. This is why change can sometimes be painful. It makes us question who we are, what we know and what we now accept as right or true.
Answering those questions can be uncomfortable, sometimes embarrassing. But remember, the need for change doesn’t mean our lives are wrong or that we made a mistake; it just means we’re learning, growing and evolving into our truest selves. The need to change should never be a source of shame or embarrassment. Does a tree ever look embarrassed when it changes from brown to brilliant, from green to gold and so on?
A client recently asked me, “Why do I have to change? I like who I am. I’m tired of everyone saying I need to change. There’s nothing wrong with who I am.” At the same time, this person also had a bad habit of complaining about his life, and nearly everything and everyone around him. His focus on and frustration with the idea of change was a clear sign that something within in him was calling for it. The main person asking him to change was himself. He could feel the push of transformation. He just didn’t know what it was. He was too focused on resisting change to consider how his life might be improved if he explored what wanted to emerge from his being.
Real change begins with our awareness, with recognizing the need for it and an understanding that our discomfort is more than just a bad feeling. Discomfort always means growth is imminent. From that place, we have the power to choose – and in my opinion, knowing we’re at choice to change always makes things seem a little easier.
I think about the vegetable seeds I planted two weeks ago. By now most of them have cracked and split wide open. Only remnants of the shell that housed what will soon become a glorious fruit-bearing plant remain somewhere under the soil, soon to be forgotten. Change happens to us in that way. If we’re willing, like a seed, to expose ourselves to the darkness and the rain, the swelling and splitting of life inside of us, and the expansion of who we think we are, something beautiful is emerging. I pray you allow it.