Growth is not linear.
It’s not point A to point B. ⠀
It’s a spiral! ⠀
Last month, I felt like I had regressed; while stuck in depression, I wasn’t creating and couldn’t figure out why. (This is a common “stuck” sort of feeling that people might face during a depressive episode.)
I’m realizing, though, that I’m further along than I was before. I know more now about myself, my patterns, and my needs that I ever have.
Yes, I hit a rough patch, AND I’ve grown. I’m growing. I’m always spiraling in an upwards direction.
The same is true for you. ⠀
See, you’ll hit bumps and potholes and swerve off the path from time to time, and this is just a part of the process. As you complete each revolution of the spiral, there will be challenges and struggles.
And through it all, you’ll keep growing. Furthermore, you are stronger, wiser, more resilient, more ready, and more YOU than ever before.
A Deeper Look at Growth
For the remainder of this article, I am going to share responses folks have shared on this topic. I decided to crowd-source this topic, as I wanted to share diverse voices and perspectives on this topic. The responses to this question and each of the following questions or prompts were submitted by friends, colleagues, and acquaintances.
What does growth mean to you?
“Getting stronger and more secure, knowing who I am, having healthy relationships and good mental health.”
“Having more awareness and perspective.”
“Unlocking limitless potential.”
“Growth means developing insight about self, others, and the world, and then intentionally using this insight to influence thoughts, behavior, and decision-making.”
“Being at a higher starting point at every turn.”
“Sustainable change. Being uncomfortable in your once comfortable state/situation.”
“Being flexible and open to change.”
“New realizations and reflections after a difficult time.”
“Going through an event that changes you into someone new.”
“Looking the hard stuff in the face. Not complaining, and taking consistent action.”
Do you consider struggle or challenges part of growth? Explain.
“1000% the duality of light and shadows of our lives give it true meaning and connection.”
“Wish I didn’t, but, yes, it does seem to be connected. There are definitely times that I have growth through my own efforts rather than through an external challenges (sort of like responding versus reacting, I guess, and while those are generally more positive growth experiences, the more challenges or “dramatic” events that have lead to growth for me have been the most substantial and impactful.”
“Yes. Comfort is the antithesis of growth. A diamond is not formed without stress.”
“Yes. Pain helps us grow.”
“Yes. Struggle is part of growth because growth requires disrupting equilibrium in relationships to ourselves and others. By definition, maintaining already-established equilibrium is the path of least resistance, and changing how an internal or external system functions will be more difficult, at least temporarily.”
“OH yes. You can’t have growth without pain.”
“Growth almost always comes after a struggle for me.”
“Absolutely! See my YouTube video “the purpose of pain.”
Share a story of a challenge that helped you grow.
“Shifting my life towards working with 80% intuition, animal instincts, creative forces, and only 20% masculine energy– action, productivity, etc. Choosing intuition over the programming that tends towards being busy changed everything for me.”
“Health issues; not letting my body take over my mind.”
“Being sick and having surgery for sure. Maybe that combined with turning 40 actually. I had to learn to really listen to myself – about even small things I’d been ignoring, like having to pee and not going to the bathroom right away, or ignoring my hunger to finish up whatever I was working on, etc. I had to truly re-learn to care for myself, because it sort of felt like life and death. I’ve come out on the other side with a complete inability to ignore my own needs, a strong desire to always speak up for them, and a generally better, more compassionate relationship with myself overall.”
“I lost my entire website after rebuilding it. It showed me how dedicated I am to MissHeard.”
“Graduate school squished me like a pancake, but it was an experience of proving to myself that I could cope with/accomplish more than I had previously thought possible, several times in a row over a few years. Now, some things that literally felt impossible don’t even phase me.”
“Getting my heart broken helped me realize 1. My value and 2. My strength.”
“Coming to a complete surrender in CA. Realizing I needed help and receiving it.”
How do you know that you’re “better off” than the last struggle?
“I change my behavior to help me meet my goals. I’m more secure, too, in knowing this is my path.”
“This one is tough because I think we often raise our expectations along with our abilities. It’s easy to grow from a struggle and then feel like the next step on the road will be just as difficult as the last one. I think intentionally acknowledging past efforts, successes, and progress can help us to avoid the pitfall of always feeling behind.”
“Because I don’t feel sick with jealousy when I hear about that person’s new life, like I once did.”
“Instead of laying around, crying, and binge eating, I made a plan to volunteer at my church.”
“My responses are different now. The time that I dwell on the struggle is shorter.”
Reflecting on Growth
I invite you to notice how the idea of the growth spiral lands with you, and if you’re up for it, take a few moments to journal and reflect on the questions, prompts, and personal responses from this article. BONUS: Explore these questions with your family! Feel free to share your responses in the comments below or send me an email! Finally, as you and your family dig into the topic of growth, you may enjoy documenting your go-to supports to lean on in times of struggle and growth using this support system map.
P.S. Ever notice how many spirals there are in nature?!