No Pain, No Gain
To hear the way some self-help experts tell it, there’s a simple formula to positive growth: say the right affirmations, think positive thoughts, visualize the outcome, or adopt some other easy formula, and voila! change happens.
Then, when you start to struggle, or hit a wall, you become convinced that something has gone awry. Change shouldn’t feel this hard, right?
Imagine, for instance, that you’ve decided to begin an exercise program. You buy new sneakers, dig up that gym membership, maybe even tape a picture of the “new you” on your bathroom mirror. But pretty soon, you lose some steam; your muscles get sore, that snooze button in the morning is awfully tempting, and you’re not seeing results. Before you know it, the best laid plans have been cast aside.
Now, what most people fail to recognize is that the resistance, in this case, the physical discomfort and the negative self talk, is what growth feels like. The discomfort is the growth, your choice point, so to speak. You get to look squarely at what’s blocked you in the past and decide whether to move beyond it.
The same holds true in any situation where your goal is to grow past where you are now. Marketing your business may translate into overcoming your dread of public speaking. Having a healthier relationship with your partner can push you to confront your fears of vulnerability, or talk about some long-buried issues.
You can start by being curious about your own experience in the face of an obstacle or challenge. How do you react? Does your breathing get shallow? Does your chest get heavy? Do you have a queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach? That discomfort is your body’s unique way of communicating that you are at a choice point.
The question is: do you interpret this feedback as a signal to retreat, or do you take a deep breath and see this for what it can be…. an invitation to grow?
Confusion, uncertainty, a sense that the ground is shaky underneath you (or maybe there’s no ground at all!)…this is what growth feels like. Time and again, life teaches you that the satisfaction of lasting change comes only to those who have the courage of realize that “the only way out is through.”
The good news? The discomfort of growth doesn’t last. Sooner than you think, what you once thought was an insurmountable mountain becomes a new place to live.
And the rewards? Well, just ask anyone who’s made the effort:)
Until next time…