When I first began to understand that—if I wanted to experience true growth in my life—I needed to change the concept I had of myself, it seemed so far away and so difficult. I also thought that once I got there, I would never have to worry about being afraid or have self doubt ever again. It was THEN that my life would then be easy and always amazing.
Since then, I have “grown” a lot—and I actually decided that I don’t love the word “growth” as a way to describe the process. To me, a better description would be ”Emerging” or maybe even ”Metamorphosis.” I say that because I feel like I am still the same me that I have always been me. I—it the spirit it essence of me—was just trapped inside this shell of a body that I didn’t know how to partner with or even get along with. So in many ways, my process had been one of teaching my body and my spirit to get a long. It’s been a process of getting rid of the idea that my body is a shell that was keeping me trapped and replacing it with the understanding that my body is actually a tool to facilitate me being able to BE ME!
So now my concept of growth is different, because I know that I am emerging from the mindset that has kept me feeling trapped, and that is allowing ME to spread my wings and let my true spirit soar!
And to be honest, I don’t think there is ever going to be an end, at least not in this earthly life—AND That excites me!
When I look back at my life even from just a few years ago, it puts me in awe. Back then, there were so many things I do so naturally now that I would have never done. My identity truly believed that there were certain things I would never be able to do—just because “I knew myself and that’s not who I am.” I felt so trapped and stuck, but I thought it was normal and safe. I was afraid to be me, afraid to let people know who I was or what was going on inside of me. I wasn’t even able to let anyone know the things that would excite me or make me happy or the things that I was good at! It sounds crazy, but it was very real!
Now that I know it’s been a few years, and I feel completely different than I did back them, I feel more like me than I ever have in my entire life.
It’s interesting to me that it’s possible to feel more like me when who I am being feels so different than I who I have been for most of my life. It confront confirms to me that I have actually been here all along. And so have you!! THIS -this allowing, this emerging is what “growth” is.
Growth is a never ending ending process. I certainly still have challenges. I still have days when I am triggered by the same things that used to trigger me in the past, I still have days when I can be ornery, bratty, or sad, Some days I’d rather just stay in bed all day. And that’s because life happens and sometimes life is hard. That doesn’t change. Life hasn’t changed as far as what goes on around me. I am still human.
On hard days, it helps me to remember the process. The symbolism of the butterfly helps me. I compare where I was then to being in my cocoon. It took time, effort, and tears, but I eventually was able to climb out of my cocoon. It felt really different than being a cozy caterpillar 🐛 and it was definitely awkward to open my wings and learn how to use them, but the idea of actually flying kept me trying. I had to strengthen my wings before I could actually experience how it felt to fly, and now that I have done it, I am ok with this new version of who I am. It no longer feels awkward. In fact, I love who I am—most of the time, when I listen to the human nature part of me. I’m no longer afraid to show up as ME! I’m ok with making mistakes and failing at things. Of course, I still experience the emotions of feeling mad, sad, or embarrassed, but I now know that it is normal to feel that way. I have learned how to feel those emotions and then, when I’m ready, I move on without dwelling on them. Let me tell you how I got there…
- I hired a therapist/coach: Having someone who understands the process and can support your growth without judgment is, in my opinion, ESSENTIAL to true personal development.
- I set an alarm on my phone to ring at random times— probably 4 times a day—to remind me to stop and notice:
- “How am I feeling right now?” When it rings, I stop and pay attention to how I am feeling, and not just how I THINK I am feeling. I also notice my body. Is it tight? Is it stressed? Are my shoulders raised? Am I relaxed and happy? Once I have acknowledged my feelings (with no judgment, by the way),
- I ask, “What am I thinking?” and I pay attention to what I am REALLY thinking, not just what I think I am thinking—not what I have on my to do list or anything else spinning around in my brain. What am I thinking below the surface?
- Finally, I ask myself “Why?” What happened to make me think that?
- I write it all down. This helps me to notice the pattern, and I become very aware of how my thoughts and feelings coincide. My thoughts create my feelings, my feelings create my actions- the way I act in life, the way I show up in life , the way I feel about my life.
This process has been a huge game changer for me. It seems too simple, and yet it is SO POWERFUL
It’s interesting, but as I share this process with people who ask me how I have experienced so much “growth,” very few will actually do it. I also realize the this, too, is human nature. I would encourage to do it—and commit to it for 30 days. If you are willing, I promise you—it will change your life.
I know because it has really been the catalyst for my own emerging. Among other things, it brings awareness, and Awareness is the first key to change.