Life presents us with challenge after challenge. Some days I feel strong and resilient in the face of these challenges. Other days knock me down. I’m guessing you have experienced the same. The draw is to give up, stay in a negative mindset and play the victim. I am working on a shift in my language. I recognise that growth opportunities are embedded in every challenge in life. Problem or opportunity for growth. Which holds more hope?
This concept has grated on me before. I felt that pointing out the growth opportunity in a situation trivialised the pain or hardship and left no space for grief or acknowledging reality. That may be how some people have chosen to apply this idea. Recent experiences and wrestling through these thoughts with others has given me a new perspective. It doesn’t trivialise the pain but helps to give it purpose. At times it widens the space for grief and acknowledging reality because growth requires working through it, not avoiding it.
Big or small
It can be easy to see how big life events can have a profound impact on our development as people. What about the small day to day moments? The challenge of feeling tired and not wanting to sit and write. The mundane tasks at work that you are tempted to put little effort into. The tough conversation with a partner that you would rather avoid. These moments offer the choice between comfort and avoidance or growth.
I wish I could say that I immediately choose growth every time. That would be a lie to try to look good. I play the victim to garner sympathy and to excuse my behaviour. Knowing that it will cost me in the long run, I burrow down into comfort. I use every avoidance tool I can lay my hands on at times. The difference now is that I am aware of when I am doing this. I am quicker to recognise the victim thinking pattern that makes me feel like I have no choice or responsibility to act. I notice the avoidance techniques and can dig through my mind to find out what fear is at the root of it. This is growth.
Use this moment to stop and reflect. What situations in your life are presenting opportunities for growth? They may be large and painful. They may be small and mundane. Are you willing to try out this idea of changing your language when thinking or talking about this challenge? What is one choice that you could make today to press into growth?