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Make A Lifetime Commitment To Personal Growth

What a wonderful gift we have been given in being alive and what secrets we can uncover about ourselves. Every new experience is a new opportunity to learn something about ourselves and our world. One of the most wonderful secrets each of us has to uncover is our greatness. You have a greatness within you, a light shining that wants to be as bright as the sun.

It is human nature to live life denying the full degree of our greatness. We act out learned, often limited self-defeating patterns of emotion, behavior, and thought, not stopping to reflect that we can choose to feel, act, and think differently. Without significant motive it is human nature to not stop to evaluate, probe, or reconsider ourselves. Often we simply accept our experience without question.

I have observed both in myself and in others that the springboard to personal growth and recognizing our greatness is often discomfort, sometimes significant discomfort. When faced with a problem that causes discomfort, pain, or suffering we immediately seek to find a way out. This is the moment when we make an important decision that will determine if we are to benefit from our discomfort or create the potential for more discomfort. We choose whether to face the problem causing the discomfort or turn from it. If we face it we will experience what I call “healthy suffering.” That is the suffering that comes from resolving a difficulty by facing it directly. “Unhealthy suffering” is the discomfort we experience when we seek to run from a problem, turning to false solutions that offer temporary comfort but are always followed by more discomfort. This, by the way, is the earmark of addiction.

Do you recall when you were a child thinking that so many things in life were not fair? It is true that life is not fair. Do you remember fighting the unfairness with all your might saying, “That’s not fair!” When you realized that your protestations didn’t help what did you do? Did you seek to find another solution? Did you get angry? Did you turn off? Did you continue to fight the unfairness with bitterness and complaints? Did you seek to change yourself? What did you do? The difference between childlike thinking and adultlike thinking is that the child does not accept that life is not fair and the adult does. Acceptance that life is not fair opens the door to resolving the mysteries of life. If we do not accept the reality of life’s unfairness, we continue to react to its unfairness like a rebellious child. Consequently we block our own growth.

Typically when the discomfort of a problem subsides we tend to return to our old familiar patterns. Most of us learn from experience rather than from wisdom and as a result experience unnecessary suffering. By altering a few thoughts you may have about life, you can avoid much suffering.

Make a commitment to a lifetime of growing. Realize that you do have a choice about your approach to all life situations. Choose to face your problems no matter how uncomfortable. Remember that any other “escape” route will only bring you added discomfort. Ask yourself to find the hidden teacher in all you experience. Know that your life holds lessons fashioned just for you. Much like a drawing that has within it hidden pictures, so life has hidden within each experience a mystery to be discovered about yourself. Seek the truth in the mystery. Stretch yourself within. Use your warrior spirit and advance toward life instead of retreating into the temporary and delusive safety of no-risk living. Confront your problems with a desire to learn. Humble yourself. Be willing to be wrong and grow rather than be right and stuck.

It is never too late to grow. I believe it is our purpose and destiny to evolve. We can learn from all experience – even from our own dying. We can learn in old age. It is never too late, even if you have lived a life you consider futile or meaningless. Each day is a new opportunity, a new chance, a new beginning. We can learn from failure. It is impossible to be successful without failure. Some people unconsciously wait for death thinking that they will be released from the responsibility of themselves. I have a feeling that even then we are not “off the hook.”

Do not be frightened by the discomfort that comes with growth. Any way we live it, life has its conflicts and pain. The discomfort that results from years of self-defeating patterns is far greater than the temporary pain of self-examination and the process of healing. Regard the pain that comes from growth as welcome pain for it heralds new freedom. Like the cleansing sting of a cold rain that cleans the earth and sky, allowing for new life, so your growth cleans your spirit making you a greater channel for the expression of the greatness within you. Your growth prepares you to live that greatness. Your greatness is meant to be lived. Only you can prepare yourself for that greatness.

When a condition or situation arrives that is an opportunity for growth, move toward it with eagerness. Do not wait for too much pain or discomfort to be your motivator. Choose the pain that comes with being fully and responsibly alive rather than waiting for the pain of neglecting your responsibilities to choose you. Know that playing it safe is one of the most dangerous things you can do. You cannot live life responsibly without making mistakes, offending others, and drawing attention to yourself. You also cannot live life responsibly without constantly evaluating yourself and your motivations. Do this in the most humble and loving way possible. It is a sort of tough love for yourself. Ultimately we cannot escape ourselves. We are not small inconsequential beings. We have been given the greatest responsibility of all – to realize and live our true greatness. Denial brings you terrors untold. Accept and embrace all that life is including its unfairness and you will be set free. None of it is easy but it is terribly wonderful!

 


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