Personal Growth: Everyone Says We Should, but Why?


Life is busy, let’s face it. Pre-covid, we were stacked with everything under the moon to keep us going, we were so busy some of us did not even know the intimacies of our families anymore. It allowed us to see the facets of our life that were not glaring at us prior. It allowed for time and space for many of us to evaluate and make changes. I believe that this catastrophic event will not only leave a lasting mark on our timeline here on earth but will also leave a mark on the rapid growth that we undertook for ourselves as a human race/collective. We are in an unprecedented time of healing in our world.

How Do We Know When We Are Stuck

Sometimes people come into my office as the result of their partner, spouse, or parent telling them that they need to go to therapy. Sometimes it takes an outside force to motivate us to leap into healing. We may know that there is something inside of us that needs to change, but we may not even know the how or the what, and that can be intimidating. 

Feeling stuck can feel debilitating, numb, and frustrating. It can feel as if the world is happening around you and not feeling part of it. Isolation and loneliness can result when we don’t know what to do and everything feels helpless. When we are stuck we don’t know where to make our next move and may get lost in our heads in doubt and confusion. The myriad of thoughts in our heads may prevent us from moving forward because we may not be able to trust our decision-making. 

From the outside being stuck can look like being in a job that we aren’t aligned with. If you are struggling with your purpose it may result in an existential crisis. We may be in a relationship that is unhealthy or causing emotional pain. Just having an unsettled feeling within ourselves can lead to countless amounts of internal conflicts that result in perfectionism, low mood, fear, and uncertainty within the self. Despite these low emotional states, feeling stuck allows the window to see what isn’t working to see what needs to change, and where I need to grow. 

To heal, we need to grow.   

Take a moment and close your eyes for a deep dive inward. Permit yourself and visualize a snapshot of your current life. What do you see? 

  • Are you content with the person you are at this moment? 
  • When you see yourself, see what you have accomplished this far and what kind of relationships you have.
  • When you see yourself are you feeling a mixture of emotions? 
  • What are those emotions that you are sensing inside?
  • Do you sense fear in anything? 
  • What are those emotions telling you? 
  • Are they emotions that you want to carry with you? Or that you wish would feel different?
  • What is going on in your mind as you look at yourself, and what is going on with your innermost chatter? 
  • What kinds of ideas are floating in your head about yourself? 
  • What is the image of yourself in the mirror?

To get a copy of these questions with spaces to journal click here

As you explore yourself in awareness, you start to notice what does not feel right in your body/mind. Awareness allows you to see yourself in a way where you can observe/feel your emotions. You must give yourself the time and space to sit and listen. When you sit in reflection, the opportunity comes to realize what you are resisting and may need to surrender to. 

Resistance versus Surrender 

Surrendering to what is unfolding in front of you and learning how to detach is a skill. Here is an example of surrender. Yesterday, I left the office in an attempt to go home and write this blog and realized that I left my computer at the office, so I was unable to write. With my time, I decided to lie down as the last couple of weeks have been very busy, and fatigue was getting to me. At this moment, I was thankful for time to rest versus being upset that I did not have my laptop.

As I rested, a flood of feelings came into my body/mind. Instead of questioning why I was feeling (resisting), I allowed myself to feel these feelings without labeling or judging them. I asked myself where these feelings were coming from. A realization came that I had been so busy the last few weeks that I was not allowing myself to feel because I did not give myself the time and space to sit with them. At that moment, I understood some buried triggers and began to see where they came from, and allowed my heart to feel it all. I made connections between my past feelings and current feelings. In twenty minutes, I created space to look at my past, present, and future and understand and heal. 

Growth Comes from Processing

Processing comes from understanding why you may have reacted in a certain way, felt a certain way, or believed a certain way in any given situation. It helps us bring insight into the reasons behind doing what you do. Most of your reactions and much of who you are is the result of what has happened to you. We process because it allows understanding that you are not your past experiences. Processing helps to see how your reactions, beliefs, emotions, triggers, and behavior can be connected to your past and lie dormant in your subconscious until something triggers them. It allows you to see who you were then, who you are now, and how your past has influenced the future. This seeing is what we call growth. In processing, we learn to grow without resistance, see everything for what it is without attachment and trust that everything is happening for a reason. Life through this lens helps us to understand that life happens for us, not to us.

Growing in Awareness 

Processing leads to an awareness of oneself, so you can take charge of your life. With the growth, we see that life is happening around us, but we get to have a choice. We begin to own our lives and reclaim ourselves as the experts of our own experience which leads us to become more in control of our ability to manage stress. We grow in understanding, patience, love, and detachment. Awareness cultivates inner peace and strength and brings the realization that we are not alone on our journey.  

The Results of Growing Lead Us to Peace

Growth takes courage and desire. Only you know if you are feeling stuck, and only you know what you desire to feel more of. Take a minute and remember the times of joy, love, peace, contentment, and connectedness that you may have felt before. Ultimately the goal of growing is to feel into those moments more so that you have more access to them. Remember, we are here to feel, and experience all that life has to offer. We are here to move our bodies, explore, and expand.  

Written by: Jamie Kruse, LCSW