How Do People Change?
Personal growth emerges as a result of our relationship with four interconnected realms of experience.
The issues that arise in our relationships often invite us into our healing work. As we engage in our healing work , we experience increased internal capacity building. As we develop more internal capacities, we improve our communication … and, these better communication skills then support stronger and healthier relationships.
On this personal growth journey that we’re all on together, do you ever feel like you keep cycling through repeating patterns?
Do the same lessons repeatedly come up for you?
Do you ever feel like the more you change, the more you stay the same?
I used to think of my personal development in linear, directional terms – like a road, or a ladder. My goal was to get from one place to a new place – like from “unhealthy” to “healthy,” or from “dysfunctional” to “functional.”
I wanted to see measurable progress and had believed that things would be “different” when I arrived at this new and better land.
But, it doesn’t work that way.
As I’ve watched myself and my clients grow and develop through the years, I’ve come to embrace the beautiful realization that growth is far more like an ever-widening spiral than a road.
While I may revisit the same themes and struggles over and over again, each time it’s slightly different: I have a bit more experience, a bit more context, a bit more capacity, a bit more skillfulness.
Spiraling through these themes in my life has an unwinding quality.
I unwind the cultural conditioning that keeps me oppressed and inhibited.
I unwind the judgments that keep me trapped.
I unwind the self-criticism and the self-evaluation that keeps systems of domination alive in my being.
Unwinding those things that bind me, allows me to unfold into the spaciousness of my essential, empathic and eternal being.
I drop old patterns.
I imagine new possibilities.
I make new choices.
This spiral of change and growth has four distinct stages that flow into one another. When you work with me, we focus on transformation in each of these interconnected realms:
- The issues that arise in our relationships often lead us into our healing work.
- Engaging in our healing work leads to increased internal capacity building.
- As we develop more internal capacities, we improve our communication.
- Better communication skills then lead to stronger and healthier relationships.
For ease of reference, here’s a visual of the change process I’m describing:
I’ll be diving more deeply into this Change Spiral over the next four weeks, exploring each aspect, why it’s essential and how each part supports transformation into the next domain.
As you examine the Change Spiral, imagine a situation in your life that you’re actively working on. Work your way around the parts of the spiral and see if you can map out awarenesses and changes you might be making in each domain as you work with this situation.
Next week, we’ll explore the nature of relationships and why and how they are so very essential to our healing.
What comes up for you as you reflect on this Change Spiral?
I’d love to know, so leave a comment below. I’d love to weave some responses to your questions in my upcoming posts!