Growth is necessary, not optional. It seems like my whole life has been a series of resets partly because of others, but mostly because of the choices I have made. Wisdom did not come easy to me. I was one of those children who needed to touch the hot stove to believe that it was hot. I usually leaned towards taking the difficult road rather than the easy one, regardless of anything my parents tried to instill in me. I also dealt, over the years, with a lot of trauma. Many events and people throughout my life were abusive. I grew up with parents who loved me immensely, but everything around the periphery was not always so positive.
I would later learn that this shaped who I was and the decisions I would make more than I could ever imagine. It made me see myself as less than I was and not worthy of good things, or hope. Studies have shown that “even in the absence of symptoms, trauma may have an enduring effect on brain function” which sometimes leads to PTSD as we’ve heard before, but not always. Trauma had, no doubt, had a significant change on my mental health.
Personally, I always liked my comfort zones and spots. This is where I felt most secure, even if it was dysfunctional. I knew what to expect, how to deal with what came my way and, frankly, how to survive in this particular environment. Anytime change came, it was traumatic for me because I would have to learn these coping skills over again.
Because I was experiencing this change trauma, I would project an image of myself that was weak, vulnerable and scared. We all know that when you are weak, vulnerable and scared that is when the vultures come for you. The more this happened, the more I made negative choices for myself and the more I attracted those who would use and abuse me, and, take advantage of me. I let this happen, because, as I said earlier, when I looked in the mirror, I saw myself as less than I truly was. I was consistently seeking validation from others.
Change IS Hard and I Still Struggle
This brings us back to why change is hard. Change at its core is about bringing something different in or can be life altering – in a positive or negative way. It could be moving, changing schools, changing jobs, entering into friendships or relationships, leaving those friendships or relationships and even having children (that one was the most challenging for me!). You are substituting what you know for the unknown and that can be scary, especially for someone who is already standing on quicksand.
Over the years, I have slowly established my firm ground and change does not impact me as much, but I still have challenges, especially with bigger life altering changes (like having kids!). I have learned, however, to embrace change as something positive and learn from my challenges. This did take speaking to a therapist and healing from my wounds, it took time to create that solid ground, but I am in a much better place than I previously was and I am so grateful for it. I want to be a positive example for my kids, so I am always striving to do better and be better, for them but also for me.
How to overcome the struggle that comes with change
Overcoming the struggle that comes with change is not easy, but it is certainly possible for those who really want it. I want to share what has helped me on my journey where I have (mostly) advanced, but I still fall sometimes, however, I have learned to get up, dust myself off and keep on walking because life is hard but we can still make it great.
Comfort Zones: I learned long ago that great things do not come from comfort zones, it was only when I realized I was living in my comfortable cage that I made a commitment to myself to change. I was tired of letting others have my power and missing out on good experiences because I was scared. This has helped me grow to who I am now. I learned to embrace the unexpected and the uncontrolled rather than run from it. True it got me into a lot of trouble sometimes but I have experienced life and I learned and I’m now sharing my own wisdom with others. While it may be scary at first, if you take small steps and make small goals, it will make it much much easier.
Journaling: Journaling is about becoming self-aware. In a previous post on starting feel good journal, I wrote “journaling has been studied extensively as a way to help combat mental health issues. It has proven to be an effective way of managing symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as stress. This is because writing in a journal daily helps you to direct your focus to your accomplishments and makes you more grateful. It also helps with setting and keeping your goals, making it a good daily habit.” This was one of the tools in my own change management and mental health toolbox that made a significant impact on my growth journey. This is because when you write things down (not type them) it makes them real. You also start understanding yourself and your motivations much more clearly.
Therapy: This is one of the most valuable tools in my toolbox. My therapist has helped me gain more clarity about who I am and why I am. Some traumas I thought I dealt with, it seems I had only dealt with on the surface. When I truly dealt with my traumas and named them, accepted them and let go of the “what ifs” that I learned to embrace my life as a whole. It really is about finding a therapist that “gets you”, challenges you and does not enable you. I am lucky to have found such a person. If you are looking for a therapist, you can go to “find a therapist” on Psychology Today and put in all the different criteria you are looking for. This is how I found mine.
Change is a part of life. Period. We cannot hide under a rock. Change can be good, especially if you are not happy where you are, you can alter your reality and your life for the better. Embracing change will bring you inner peace and power. Stop looking back, you do not live there anymore, instead look ahead to a life filled with experiences that will shape you and bring your growth, even if it takes you out of your comfort zone. Even though I still struggle, I push forward anyway because my own best practices – getting out of my comfort zones, writing in a journal and seeing a therapist – have helped me in a big way, hopefully they will help you as well. Try it, what do you have to lose?
I will be sharing more of my journey in the coming weeks, I will also be sharing some key growth tips as well as a new eBook to help in the process. Please subscribe to my site to not miss a single thing!
READERS: What are your thoughts on this? Please share in the comments!