Isn’t it interesting how we don’t realize we’re in a season of growth until we get to the other side?
In life we’re often thrown these challenges or sometimes seemingly impassable road blocks. Some of them, we attack head on and realize they were nothing more than a necessary bump in the road and we’re able to continue on our way practically inconsequentially.
Other times, we’re able to conquer a painful and trying hurdle, only to round the corner to find a new one. Worse yet, when the next hurdle is actually the same GD hurdle we thought we’d just successfully jumped! Man, that’s the worst.
There’s a spiritual concept that boils down to: if you have yet to learn a necessary life lesson, the universe will continually put you in similar positions over and over again until the lesson is gleaned. …AKA, you feel like a certain area of your life is a broken record, stuck in the same problematic cycle.
I think we’ve all experienced this at least once. For me, sometimes I see external issues manifest in my physical world and I spend so much time trying to throw every tool in my belt at them. Ultimately, putting a band-aid on an external symptom, caused by a problem rooted internally.
This breeds the broken record experience. The hurdle I just “jumped” is bound to meet me again somewhere further down the road.
Sometimes figuring out the ultimate lesson takes time, trial and error, and a little faith.
Seasons of growth can be bright, fun, and enjoyable times where we are exposed to new things/people/places and our eyes are opened to amazing concepts we hadn’t known before.
They can also be somewhat miserable. Time periods where you’re just exhausted, overwhelmed, and at a loss.
The latter tends to be where, at least for me, I need a little help keeping the ball rolling.
You feel like you’ve tried everything. You find yourself operating on low energy and low vibration. You rarely have the desire to do things you typically enjoy. It feels more like you’re coasting rather than driving your life.
What’s interesting is how DURING these experiences, we can’t tell what’s going on. We can’t see the trees through the damn forest. And then once we get closer to the end, or we finally have an “aha” moment, only then can we look back and say “OH!” “THIS is what I was meant to understand all along!”.
The thing I’ve found that helps me get through those seasons is a little bit of self-awareness and a whole lot of grace.
Are you keeping tabs on your emotions and general observations of your life experience? If not, I suggest you start. If you aren’t AWARE of something, how can you address it? How can you tell a season of growth from perhaps a battle with depression or from a general issue in the current state of your life? Because on the surface, to someone not paying attention, those three things can all look pretty darn similar.
Self-Awareness looks something like: being present, taking mental notes, and accepting your reality for what it is, not what you want it to be or not be.
Are you so busy that every time you look up, you’re back in bed ready to sleep thinking, “where did my day go?” Or so distracted that you see 5:00pm on the clock and wonder what the heck you did all day? It’s easy to do both and wind up on auto-pilot.
Some tips for staying present:
This is quite simple. This is being what’s called “the silent observer”. Where you’re always taking note of your internal experience. Ie., repeatedly feeling anxious when your mom calls, leaving a work meeting feeling fired up and ready to get to work, feeling drained after hanging out with a specific friend, feeling like shit after certain types of meals, etc. It’s simply paying enough attention that you NOTICE how things make you feel: good, bad, or indifferent.
This is the legs of the “silent observer”. As, the silent observer is just that–silent. It’s not trying to change anything, but instead see it for what it is. It’s hard to be an impartial observer if you’re simultaneously trying to convince yourself or others that your reality is something different than it presents as.
For instance, you have a friend who’s boyfriend is constantly mean to her and verbally attacks her in public. Your friend has managed to convince herself, through internal self-talk or external gas-lighting on her boyfriend’s behalf, that he is just “holding her to higher standards” or “giving her tough love because he cares that much”. YOU, in this scenario are the very literal “silent observer”. You can see the facts with a clear head and no judgement: boyfriend is verbally abusive and using gaslighting and manipulation to excuse his behavior. You’re not seeing anything that your friend isn’t seeing–intead, you have the clear mind and perspective to be able to observe the situation without judgement or internal confusion.
Now take that example and combine YOURSELF and the GIRLFRIEND. Being the gentle observer is to be both simultaneously. YOU are in this relationship that has some poor boundaries and abuse issues, you have witnessed your significant other deploy these behaviors repeatedly and also witnessed yourself respond by allowing the behavior to continue. Now that you’ve observed these facts with gentle grace, you have the power to take action. You know the truth of your reality and can see it for face value, which allows you to take back control of yourself and your situation.
Sometimes it’s just not that easy. You get stuck in the closeness and tiny nuances of your situation and can’t manage to see things objectively and take action. That’s okay. Eventually you or someone else will illuminate what needs to be seen.
But often times, if you’re paying attention (being present), giving yourself grace (silent observer), and accepting things as they are (good or bad), then you always have the power to continue or stop the circumstances of your life. You keep the keys to your life in YOUR hand, not others’, and definitely not lost in the distractions.
That brings us to the second part of seasons of growth: giving yourself grace.
Grace is what you give to your best friend when they screw up.
Grace is the thing you give the elderly person holding up the entry into the grocery store.
Grace is what you give to the child who is learning to talk.
Grace is what you give to the silly stinker who accidentally cut you off in traffic.
Grace is what you need to give to yourself when you don’t meet your own expectations.
The author of “The Millionaire Fastlane”, MJ DeMarco, said “Success is the sweat of failure”. Meaning success is the BYPRODUCT of repeated failure. That in the pursuit of success, failure is inevitable.
How you choose to VIEW failure is a whole other conversation for another day and massively impacts your experience of the pursuit of success. However, that aside, if we understand that failure/pivoting/adaptation is NECESSARY along the path of success, then we must also accept that GRACE is innately required also.
Without grace, failure is dark and miserable. It’s humiliating and painful. Add a bit of grace to the mix? Suddenly the same experience is now an opportunity for growth, learning, and a catapult towards the next step in the direction of your success.
Another thing to remember when it becomes difficult to show yourself grace is to think about how you’d talk to your best friend. Or your little sister. Or your dad. If they stumbled, would you shame them or attack them? Or hold those missteps against them indefinitely? Of course not! You’d say “It’s okay, pick yourself back up, and flippin’ try again!”
So whether you’re in a bright or dark season of growth, remember that with some self-awareness and grace, you can be certain you’ll take away whatever lessons the universe intends for you to learn!
Go get ’em tiger.
PS: looking for a song to brighten your season of growth? Check out SUPERBLOOM by Misterwives on Spotify.