Who amongst us hasn’t suffered from self-criticism, perceived defeat, or general set backs in life? Basically, if you haven’t suffered from these horrible feelings, you’re probably very young or stuck in an adolescent mind-set. The fact is, growth kicks your ass! Success is a series of failures, set-backs and solutions.

The real measure of success in life is getting up one more time than life has knocked you down. It’s certainly not fun, not easy, or not wanted, but if you haven’t had the chance to fail, you are probably living a safe life with no recent growth spurts. I’ve always learned that “behavior changes when the costs outweigh the benefits.” We don’t usually change our habits or patterns until we absolutely have to change. And some of us continue to demonstrate those same old behaviors regardless of the outcome and lack of progress.

Life is hard! Change is difficult. I’m someone who loves change. I get bored quickly and have always needed to be involved in numerous activities at once. I love multi-tasking. But, I’ve learned that whether you like change or you hate it (which many people do), change is a necessity of life and we can’t stop it! So, the sooner you can change your perspective from beating yourself up to realizing that “this is just a growth spurt” and that you’ve outgrown your current stage of development, the sooner you can accept yourself, validate your feelings, and “get up” and face the challenge.

An odd occurrence at this particular time is my life a few of my dear best friends are also experiencing an “ass kicking” at the same time as I am. I must wonder if we are joined in some metaphysical force of synergy triggering each other’s growth spurts? All of us are experiencing some different life altering changes in a variety of categories but experiencing the same self-questioning thoughts. Hmmm! Interesting. I’d be interested in receiving feedback if anyone else has experienced a similar phenomenon.
One of my favorite theories is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I always refer back to Maslow’s Theory when life throws me lemons. Maslow supports that growth into sequential stage of development is always triggered by an outgrowth of the current stage. And in the lower, ego stages, people tend to be more comparative and competitive progressing through the Esteem Stage, where life becomes the most publicly successful. After that comes the black hole of Questioning and Need Know. This is where all the rules that previously governed one’s life are wiped out/no longer fit, and in order to progress, the individual needs to explore the self, gain accountability and self-awareness, and learn to look at others through a sense of service replacing the ego’s comparisons, judgments, and competition. The resulting new self is much more satisfied with life and focuses on the joy of being present – Mindfulness.

I believe that I’ve experienced the black hole and achieved my transformation some years ago. I know the pain of building a new me quite well. However, once I’ve learned to look in for answers and be self-aware, it certainly does not mean that life will stop challenging and demanding changes for further growth. Don’t be fooled into thinking that once you’ve learned to be ego-less, the defeats will stop! Oh no, no, no! All it means is that you will now have the foundational skills to call upon during the next set back.
So, on to the foundational skills that we can’t forget to use when the next stage of growth comes pounding down your door…

1. Stay connected to your family and friends. Try not to isolate Force yourself to visit with dear friends and family at least once or twice weekly. Make a connecting phone call at least every other day so that you are able to share feelings or at least change your focus for a while. If you are connected to little children, spend time playing with them. They are great distractors. I have three amazing grandsons that make me smile to just think about them.

2. Self-reflect on old patterns and choices you may be using. Just because a certain solution worked before; if you are truly in a growth spurt, you have likely outgrown those solutions and that pattern of thinking. For me, I was using old solutions that had worked in similar situations in the past that I thought were tried and true. I think the current lesson is to grow my repertoire and update solutions inline with the growth of technology.

3. Get creative. Force yourself to explore something new. It doesn’t matter what it is. You can join a club, visit a new site, write some articles, redecorate your house, etc. Whatever you are interested in can be a new focus. Add something new to your life. Expand your interests.

4. Move your body. Don’t stay sitting or lying down. I’m not saying you have to join the gym if that’s not your thing, but you can do some other exercise that you enjoy. For example: rake your leaves, plant a garden, paint your room, walk your dogs, make a vision board, etc.

5. And finally, do something to improve your self-concept. Make some outward change to reflect the change inside. Changing the outside is much easier than changing the inside, but it’s a step in the right direction to signify that change is happening. When the caterpillar builds the cocoon, he is telling the world that something amazing is about to happen in that space. Make your cocoon attractive. You will be making this outward change reflecting your decision to flow with the changes that are happening on the inside with enlightened anticipation of the beauty that is preparing to emerge. Suggestions: get a new clothing style, wear new colors, dye your hair, get a new hair style, change your make up, men can grow facial hair or shave if they already have some, etc.

Plan your change and then go with the flow. You can’t force it, so don’t even try to – you will just be more frustrated and defeated. The change is growth – something we can never force. Stay focused on your plan and follow through with the above steps consistently. Read some articles or daily inspirations to help you stay focused and positive. Focus on the things you have control over and stop worrying. By the Law of Attraction, you will continue to attract that which you think about and feel. Don’t allow yourself to compare, feel sorry for yourself, drown in dread of some dumb mistake, or hide. Stay focused on being present in whatever you’re doing. Force yourself to stay positive and think about a positive future. Be fluid, and remember change happens all the time. This too shall pass. I like to recall a wonderful principal I learned from a Buddhist monk. My personal interpretation is: “Life is like a wheel - sometimes we’re on the top and somethings we’re on the bottom, but it never stops turning.

May your higher power bless you and guide you through your transformation!

Please write me if you have noticed that people you are close to have been experiencing similar changes at the same time.

Author's Bio: 

Cherie's goal is to help readers through the rough spots in life to make living easier and less stressful.