PERSONAL GROWTH ISN’T ALL SUNSHINE AND RAINBOWS

Balance has never been my strong suit. Typically, when I do something or make a change, I’m ALL IN.  RIGHT NOW. I also like to feel some satisfaction right away, or my commitment to that action or change begins to wane. In the past, if I strayed off course or made a mistake, I would high-tail it back to old patterns, unable to find balance in the moment and pick myself back up. This was not an effective or healthy way to approach change and growth in my life. 

The personal growth I have experienced with EGCM and Gestalt work has helped me work through this unhealthy pattern and find some natural balance. Recently, I celebrated my 40th birthday. While I’m not one to get hung up on my age, this year, the milestone kept creeping closer, and I was unsettled and unhappy in one key area. I felt very disconnected from my physical body. It didn’t feel like mine, and I certainly didn’t like how it was showing up. The stress of work, school, business, farm, and the kids’ schedules had taken its toll over the past few years, and I was a mess. A lot of that was being stored in my physical body, and I had shut it down. This spring, I made a personal commitment to move my body more, which began with short, daily walks during my lunch period. Then, I attended an event that had a fitness component that was way outside my comfort zone. In public. Not only did I survive it, I found that it rekindled something for me that I hadn’t realized I had been ignoring. Since, I have committed to a regular yoga practice with a lot of available support, so I may continue to rebuild my connection to and honor my physical body. The kickass workout is a perk. You know what? Some days, IT’S REALLY HARD. Mentally, I don’t always want to do it, and it is tough to get on the mat. Some days, it is physically hard, and I don’t feel like I can do it, so I honor where I’m at, and I adjust.  It isn’t something that I have to do. It is something that I get to do.  Perspective is powerful.

All of this has me reflecting on how we approach personal growth. Our society demands the all-in, right-now approach.  All or nothing. But this is dishonest and unhealthy. It isn’t how a personal journey goes. There isn’t anything wrong with us when we stumble or adjust. We shouldn’t feel ashamed or guilty when we do.   Balance and self-compassion are key. We won’t magically feel better when we reach the end of whatever road we are on. Instead, we have to embrace and celebrate our journey — the difficult messy parts as well as the milestones. 

Personal growth isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It requires grit and perseverance. Whether mental, emotional or physical in nature, the growth and change we seek (and even that which we don’t), lies within a few essential steps we can take as many times as we need to until we get to where we want to be…and beyond.

  1. move through fear + apprehension.  
    Our comfort zones are, well, snuggly and comfortable places to hang out. However, they do not encourage expansion and growth, certainly not through something that feels a bit difficult or even a little scary. Moving forward requires stepping through fear and apprehension of what lies outside of what we know. Take the first step, then the second, then the third. Is one full step too big to take on? Break it down into smaller pieces. Each step builds movement, and movement builds confidence. Begin where you are, honor yourself, and keep moving forward.

  2. allow for slip-ups, mistakes, + a return to old patterns.
    As humans, we are much more comfortable with what is familiar, even if it isn’t what is best for us, and, given the opportunity, our minds and bodies may take the first possible exit back to what it knows, back in the comfort zone. It takes time for our bodies and minds to make new pathways, connections, and habits. Awareness of this return to an old pattern is key to lasting change. Remember: 👇

  3. be gentle. self-acceptance and kindness are essential.
    Personal growth has no place for perfectionism or demeaning self-talk. As humans, we make mistakes. They are essential to our learning. How we respond to them is where our power lies. Be gentle with yourself. Receiving a slip-up, mistake, or return to a familiar old pattern as a learning opportunity to build self-awareness and allowing yourself a bit of grace is the first step into forward momentum.

  4. stick with it.
    Personal growth progress is not a linear process. There are ups and downs, twists and turns. Perhaps Chumbawamba said it best:
    🎵..Sing with me.. 🎵

    I get knocked down, but I get up again.
    You are never gonna keep me down.

    When you get knocked down, start back at #1, repeat.

  5. find the positive + celebrate your successes. 🌈☀️
    This is my favorite part. This is the sunshine and rainbows of personal growth, and it is something we can find in every moment. In fact, it helps us remain in the present and is essential to our long-term success. Celebrate even the smallest of successes. Did you get knocked down? Celebrate your willingness to get back up and work some more. Your focus can help determine your trajectory forward in whatever area in which you seek growth.  A positive focus creates a positive momentum forward, come what may.

→ The horses and I can help supercharge your personal growth and vision.  Want to learn more? Contact me to schedule a free 30-minute exploratory phone session.

→ Want to join me in my yoga practice? Check out Yoga with Adriene. Her monthly yoga calendar and YouTube videos are amazing.

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