There are pivotal moments in life when we are given opportunities for inner growth. But sometimes the most powerful personal growth moments are missed because we don’t recognize them.
Here are some that are pivotal in creating positive change in our lives.
WHEN THE TRUTH HURTS
Have you ever had times when you’ve heard someone say something and you took it very personally?
There are many possible reasons why we might react this way.
For example, that person may have directly communicated their opinions about you by saying something like, “You always do x.”
Or, they may have indirectly communicated something that isn’t necessarily about you, specifically, but you take personally anyway.
It’s the second one that is trickier. And it’s happened to all of us.
When this happens, many of us push those feelings aside because they are painful at the moment, but we don’t come back to them later to explore what they might mean.
We may even blame the other person for our negative feelings because it’s easier than exploring possible reasons for the reactions within ourselves.
A lot of the time, we negatively react to what others say when we feel that it reveals an aspect of ourselves that we struggle with.
This is because we know deep inside that it’s a part of ourselves that we are not fully in touch with, and may even be scary to us.
What we don’t realize is that, if we decide to come back to these moments and explore them more, they provide us with significant personal growth opportunities that can help us to become even better than we are.
WHEN IT SEEMS EVERYTHING’S GOING TO S&%T
If you are alive, you have had times when it felt like everything around you is going to the toilet.
When many aspects of life seem to be tumbling down around you.
We’ve all been there. Some of us more than others.
What we need to realize is that these are the key times in life when we are building our personal strength and resilience because our mind, body, and soul are simultaneously involved in dealing with the difficulties we are facing. They are all working together to get us through and we get stronger and stronger as we get through it.
I’m not going to lie though…it’s really difficult to view these times as growth opportunities. But we can focus on three things that might help us:
- We do still have control over some things in our lives, even if they are small. We can remind ourselves of all the things we do have control over during difficult times focus on those things.
- This too shall pass. Although it may not seem like it in the moment, our difficult times will pass. Change is inevitable, so this too will
- We are getting more resilient with each passing day. Remember that saying: Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? It’s true.
So if you survive whatever you’re going through, you will be a stronger, more resilient you than you were before.
WHEN WE ARE PRESENTED WITH A MIND-BLOWING IDEA
So it’s no secret that I love sci-fi.
It’s always fun to imagine the possibilities for the future, and I think we often forget that our present is a result of the limitless imaginations of those in the past.
To create spectacular visions for our lives, it is necessary for us to expand our sphere of possibilities.
We can’t do this if we are in the habit of rejecting any idea that we view as strange, “unrealistic”, or unfamiliar.
When we reject any idea that does not coincide with our current view of the world, what we are really doing is considerably limiting our imagination.
The less we consider to be real or “possible”, the smaller our realm of possibilities will be for ourselves and the world.
When you think about it, how else have humans created amazing lives despite massive obstacles? Or developed amazing technological advances? Through the possibilities we allowed into our minds, yet were unable to see at the moment.
Therefore, our personal growth (and the future of our lives) depends on how open we are to ideas and concepts that impact our view of ourselves and the world.
WHEN LIFE MAKES US TO SLOW DOWN
Maybe it sounds weird, but I really, really appreciate my shoulder right now.
I’m at the tail end of recovering from a three year stretch of frozen shoulder, and I’m back to being able to do my usual workouts and sleeping through the night with no pain every time I roll over!
Right before I got frozen shoulder, I was working, in two graduate programs at the same time, trying to complete four courses in a span of two months, working out everyday, and in the middle of a teacher’s strike that made our already precarious financial situation waaaay more stressful,
Needless to say, I’m pretty sure my frozen shoulder was a result of all that stress.
BUT, it forced me to slow my life down both literally and figuratively.
I had to stop working out because I had pain every time I moved my shoulder beyond a couple of inches.
I had to slow down all my daily tasks because of that same pain.
My body was literally forcing me to slow my life down.
As a result, I had a lot more time to think, reflect on my life, and see that I was really going at a crazy pace.
Since then, I’ve made sleep, regular healthy meals, and stress reduction my first priority.
However, I used to think they were always priorities , but my actions say otherwise. Everything else came first.
When life slows us down, or even stops some parts of our lives, we have an amazing opportunity to take advantage of that time to reflect on our life decisions.
In the long run, our lives become more fulfilling because of that time we had to just be, rather than do.
WHEN WE ARE JUST DISSATISFIED WITH LIFE EVEN THOUGHT NOTHING HAS CHANGED
This one is a bit harder to recognize because we don’t have a particular life event to spot it.
Sometimes we are just going through our busy daily routines when, suddenly, in the rare quiet moments, we realize that we are very dissatisfied.
Have you ever felt this way?
In society, we are getting busier and busier because we are packing more and more activity into our days.
For many of us though, the majority of those activities are not growing us, but we don’t always realize it because we are so busy.
That’s why when we do have “down time” or a few silent moments, we realize that we yearn for something more out of life.
Mark writes about this in-depth in his new book.
In his book, Mark states that it isn’t just “quiet” or “silence” that causes these feelings to emerge, but the emotion of “boredom”.
This is because when we experience quiet or silence, our minds are not necessarily disengaged. We could be thinking about something like a book, or the events of the day.
However, when we’re bored, we don’t know what to do with ourselves and our minds, and a deep existential anxiety creeps up.
According to Mark, if we don’t distract ourselves from our boredom, we can use boredom as a powerful personal growth opportunity. We can learn healthy ways to deal with our boredom.
Have a great rest of the week!