Growth is an inevitable part of life. What we experience changes us. We may not realise we’ve changed until we look back, or the change may feel instantaneous. Suddenly, we don’t feel comfortable where we were before. It’s like forcing a plant that’s flourished back into the same old pot. That pot is no longer conducive to its growth. Being forced back into the same old situation can feel like claustrophobic pressure. Uncomfortable, exhausting and frustrating.
Seeing as growth is natural, it’s inevitable that we will often feel we outgrow things, our jobs, friendships and relationships, as well as many other aspects of our lives. Think of the growing pains of adolescence, growth can be very painful, particularly when it encourages us to make changes in our lives. We may feel guilty for doing so, or we may fear having to upset the status quo, especially if others in our lives are not growing with us or are growing in different directions.
So, what can you do when you’ve outgrown a situation?
Think about what you want to let go of
Letting go is essential, even if it’s awkward. When we grow, there are usually certain practices that no longer serve us. We do them because they are habitual and routine, but they no longer serve a purpose.
You may choose to let go of smoking, poor nutrition, a bad or unsatisfying relationship, a tendency to play the victim, negative thought cycles, binge drinking, a bad job, stress, a selfish friend or any other number of things.
You’ll know that you want to let go of these things because you don’t necessarily feel good whilst you do them, or you feel guilty immediately afterwards. Your life may be suffering in some way, or stuck in some way, because of these practices. Even if you do not cut a friendship or relationship from your life, what you may let go of, is the expectations attached to the person or the reaction to the person.
Think about what you want to add
You don’t need to replace something you’ve let go of with something new, sometimes it’s important to appreciate the newfound space. Other times, you’ll want to let go of a bad job to find a new dream career or cut out bad eating habits to replace them with mindful, nutritious eating.
Write a list of all the new things you’d like to add to your life; a great relationship, a job you love, better spending habits, supportive friends, regular exercise, meditation or volunteering, and think about how you begin making space, time and effort for these things. This can be exciting as your mind can run wild with possibilities. It’s important not to limit yourself. Be truthful about the things you want.
Push yourself out of your comfort zone
Growth almost always occurs out of your comfort zone, whether psychically, emotionally or mentally. Doing a new exercise regime at the gym, having difficult conversations we usually avoid or studying a new subject all stretch us. It’s good to have a comfort zone to return to, but much of our quest for growth involves us leaving it often and learning to tolerate discomfort and a certain level of fear.
Embrace the emotions that emerge
Whether you feel restless and impatient, guilty, angry or resentful or even slightly sad, embrace what you’re feeling. You will eventually accept your emotions, and then you can make moves.
All my love