The Benefit of Growing Pains

 In America

Life has a way of presenting inner and outer challenges for us to face on a regular basis. And these challenges rarely show up in our lives at time that meets our personal preferences. We can experience immense frustration and resentment when we are forced to deal with problems that come at us either unexpectedly or predictably. However, these “growing pains” serve an immense purpose in our lives when taken on with willingness instead of resistance. We mature, we develop resilience, we become examples of what’s possible.

But, growth is uncomfortable, so we try and avoid it. Growth asks us to feel our doubt, overwhelm, and fear. We don’t want to feel these feelings so we might turn to food, alcohol, Netflix, or shopping as a way to avoid them. Then we’re forced to deal with the negative aftereffects of these avoidance techniques: weight gain, hangovers, debt. These consequences don’t get us anywhere, whereas the discomfort of growing DOES get us somewhere: a new state of mind, a decision made, a course of action taken.
We can decide to be warriors and head right into the work of growth. We can decide to move past confusion and self-pity, and take the process on as a challenge. 

Think about the people in your life that you admire. Think about individuals in the public eye that you respect. How have they had to persevere through challenges? What self-defeating attitudes have they had to drop to attain their success? Don’t assume it’s all just came easy for them. Most likely they have had to use grit, determination and motivation to keep working until they attain the goal they seek. They have had to grow and evolve into new levels of their life. You can do the same.

A mantra that I use when facing challenging times is : I can handle any feeling. I can allow the discomfort–no matter how strong–to pass through my mind, heart and body without taking action to avoid it. I can sit with it, observe it and allow it. Feelings will not kill us, even though our brain would like to tell us this. Without fail, after a period of time, the feeling begins to shift and ultimately dissolve. As I result I am stronger, wiser and more resilient. Writing about thoughts and feelings is a wonderful tool also. Instead of feeling crappy because I avoided this work I can look back with pride about how much I’ve overcome and how FAR I’ve come. It’s the most satisfying work we can do in our lives.

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