Our personal growth doesn’t progress in a linear, predictable upwards fashion.
It ebbs and flows.
It meanders around corners and down alleyways.
Some days it’s supercharged and we feel like we are on top of the world.
Other days, we can’t seem to find the motivation just to get up to make a cup of tea.
Which reminds me to remind you to make peace with what one of my clients recently referred to as the “predictable backslide.”
As we reach for new capacities, new skills, new awarenesses, we sometimes find ourselves encouraged and inspired and up for a new challenge in our relationships.
We say the thing we’ve been afraid to say.
We are able to contain our judgments and restrain our impulse to respond hurtfully.
We step out of power-struggles or needing to prove ourselves.
We relax into the goodness of our inner being and offer a gracious response. A curious question. Kind eyes. A warm smile. A deep breath.
But the very next day, we find we can’t keep it up.
We’re back to our old habits.
In these moments, remind yourself that this is just the predictable backslide.
After exerting ourselves, expending our efforts, we often contract back to old patterns temporarily.
We don’t stay there; we’re just acclimating to a new way of doing things. A new way of being.
Be gentle with yourself.
Instead of needing to get it all right, all the time, allow yourself to be a work in progress.
Being on a growth and awareness path means getting comfortable living in the tension of what Parker Palmer calls the tragic gap, “a gap between the way things are and the way we know they might be,” knowing that it will never close.
We learn to hold the tension between how we are today and how we want to be–we make peace with the tension between the world as it is, and the world we long to inhabit.
And along the way, as you climb your way to your fullest potential, there are many predictable backslides.
May you find joy and pleasure in them as you go.
May you infuse yourself with gentle kindness and patiences.
May you practice loving yourself exactly as you are today, knowing that you are, indeed, good enough as is.
What helps you when you find yourself on the backslide? I’d love to know! Leave a comment below.