Growth and moving forward are probably the main reasons why most of us seek out books and podcasts to help us make meaningful changes in our lives. Evolving as people is, to some extent, the meaning of life. It is interesting reflecting back on past decisions and behaviors, and understanding that today we'd make different decisions. I have also learned that it is equally important to practice observation of past decisions versus self-criticism. The fact is, we make decisions based on a number of factors, and many decisions don't at all relate to who we actually are as a person. We forget the circumstances around our decisions pretty easily. So just like we use empathy to support friends who feel they've made poor decisions, we must do the same for ourselves.
I address this because my belief is that the first step in our personal evolution and growth is accepting that we are able to evolve. That we are able to shift from what we once believed to a new belief system. And sometimes major personal growth transformations come from really difficult situations. I was recently in a conversation with a friend that I found to be ironic. I knew he had spent considerable time working on managing some of his ways of handling situations. For the most part, he made some pretty major changes as a result of this commitment. But, I also observed that when he was recently faced with a really important moment, when all of his new learnings were given opportunity to be applied, things reverted to old habits. The point of this is, that this isn't failure. It's actually an opportunity to see that we have shifted and grown, but need to commit fully, even when really backed against a wall into that next stage of growth.
For me, a lot of personal evolution came when I fully committed to my personal values. This took a lot of time. I had established values and mostly lived by them. But there were times when I made excuses about why it was okay to compromise them. I learned that values are actually the most important when we have to make decisions based fully and completely on them. When we step outside of our impulses and reactions and turn to observation and reflection.
So while we are all on our own journeys of growth, remind yourself that growth is a process. With the one step forward, two steps back reality that comes with it. And that when we do something out of alignment with the growth we want to see in ourselves, then recognize it, and adjust it. It's never too late.
Spring, to me is metaphorical. Spring represents blooming and transformation. But the effort and transformation happen under the earth, in the darkest of seasons, until the real opportunity to grow presents itself. And while the flower is the result, the tremendous work done under the ground is exactly how the flower blooms.
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