There’s truth to what they say when you’re young and you have physical aches and unexplained discomfort, “oh, it’s just growing pains, they’ll go away” most people say, and they do. But what about when you’re an adult, and those pains while physical they may manifest, are rooted in emotional turmoil, can we grow out of those too?
Last weekend I was on a plane heading to L.A. for my yoga teacher training and as I looked out the window over the California coast and vast ocean I remembered how terrified I used to be of flying. The first time I flew, I was 7 and it was over the Atlantic moving to an entirely different country, and for years I did that flight with my sister to visit my Dad back in the states. Landing petrified me. I’d squeeze my sisters hand and hold my breath. I’m quite surprised over all these years I didn’t pass out.
I spent years flying all over the world and each time coaching myself through the experience, whispering that I was safe, that things were okay, that we wouldn’t crash into the ocean and get eaten by sharks (real life fear), I tried everything to get over this. Calming my nerves during landing was basically as rough as pulling my teeth. Don’t even ask “would you rather”. This lasted for what seemed like forever, and let me remind you I have flown a LOT in my short life. Yet, as I looked out the window this time I realized I had no fear. There was a peaceful acceptance over me that I knew I was safe in knowing I had no control over the landing of the plane.
I don’t know at what point I suddenly stopped having this fear, or maybe I just know how to trust more than I did then, but at some point in the past few years or perhaps that exact moment, I outgrew this fear. With a deeper awareness this fear no longer inflicted me.
If you have done any work investing in your own personal development you’ll understand how it feels to reach this point where things begin to shift for your life. You’ll also be completely aware of feeling depleted by the growing pains in takes to do any work on bettering yourself. It can feel like you’re stuck in the middle of a tornado storm without shelter anywhere near, fear consumes you, doubts cloud your mind and the only reasonable action you feel can be taken is to curl up into a ball and no longer move. The dedication it takes to work on yourself is by far more powerful than most things on this Earth, it comes from this greater desire to do, think, be, aspire to a better version of the person you already are (which by the way, is a great one!)
When we work on ourselves we face the ultimate trial, up against our own jury inside our head that lashes out with conviction and judgements. It can be ugly when we face our own demons and try to continue to search for some light beyond the storm. There’s no guarantee of it ever ending either, with one storm passing, there is sure to be another. It’s said there are no guarantee’s in life, but this, I am sure, is one.
All of us have the power already within us to make things happen in our life, and we decide to change that is the first part of utilizing this energy. If you feel like you’re currently stuck in this storm of personal growth and wanting to give up I want to challenge you to continue finding the light in every day that you continue on your journey. You are already amazing for embarking on this, in fact all of us are connected to this limitless power and most of us aren’t tapping into even a fraction of it. You are, and that’s huge.
One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. -Andre Gide
When we experience these growing pains in personal improvement it means we are actually doing the work that needs to be done. You are already stronger because of facing these hurts that are deeply embedded within you.
One of the instigators of these pains are our thoughts. It’s becoming a more popular practice and understanding that changing our thoughts will change our lives. And I wholeheartedly believe this, having first hand experience with this exact practice. But I also know that we can’t ALWAYS control our thoughts, they are thoughts, they happen like a car accident.
One minute you’re driving fine and happily dancing to great music in the car and the next minute someone has swapped paint with your right side bumper and you didn’t see it coming. When we’re healing or working through things in our life we have thoughts that try to prevent us from moving forward. The ego says, “Wait, but you were perfectly comfortable and safe before you started all of this and look at how much pain you’re putting us through now.” So all of these thoughts develop that counteract all the progress you made, and maybe even put you down for not being out of the storm, yet! It’s like, “You’ve been stuck in the cold rain for hours, how much longer before you just come back inside where it’s warm and safe?”
If you are trying to free yourself from being how you once were, and trying to tap into your more authentic being you need to free yourself from the idea that your current version of yourself is the truth. Mindfulness, in fact is realizing that a thought, is just a thought. Once you realize it’s a thought and not the actual truth, you can devalue and separate your(self) from it. Through this process you can actually get back to doing the work you want and need to, to actually help yourself get through the pains of working through whatever suckery is currently creating a barrier to your personal growth.
It is through these growing pains that we’re actually able to gain greater insight into our true selves. The light, in this work that you are doing is finding all of this new information about yourself, how to actually work with what you have and take care of making sure you do feel safe and taken care of during this time. It is invaluable work that is ever evolving and continual. I have done a lot of working in understanding myself, and every time I am thrown something new I almost laugh, “Really Universe, I thought I’d moved through this?” But perhaps not, so I go deep into understanding what is actually going on through the pain. I know, these growing pains are more than about me. Working on myself, is to be of better service to the world. So that my experiences are in fact positive contributions to the world rather than damaging burdens that manifest into fear.
We all will continue to move through growing pains more than once in our lives, but understanding that they are okay to feel and will in fact go away is the way I find the light in carrying them during the stormy times.
Do you feel the growing pains of personal growth too? I’d love to hear in the comments!