One of my pet peeves about the personal growth industry is that there is a lot of expectation placed on consistently making positive changes. The promise is that over time as we do our work, we gradually and continuously “get better” (whatever “better” means). What often isn’t addressed is that our learning and growth isn’t linear. It’s not a straight shot from an “aha” moment to being totally transformed.
Please don’t torture yourself by buying into the misunderstanding that your growth needs to be straight up. That’s a lot of pressure – and also not possible. Growth is more fluid. And over time the lows (or perceived backtracking) we experience become shorter in duration and the length of time in between them becomes longer. I drew this picture for you to illustrate what I am talking about:
The human experience is about contrast and sometimes the best way we learn is when we take a few steps that feel backwards. Often when we have a big “aha” so much to the extent that we feel transformed, The Uni-verse will bring us a situation that feels very similar to past experiences. Often people get frustrated and think, “This again? I thought I learned this already!” That may be accurate; you may have learned the lesson and now The Uni-verse is bringing you an amazing opportunity to practice the learning so that you can fully integrate it. I give some examples of this in today’s video.
If you feel like you are backtracking in your own behavior, choices or feelings, rest assured you are not flunking life. You learned from my blog last week that only about 95% of our processing power is conscious, so there is a lot of subconscious programming that you are working through. Your so-called issues and programmed responses got implemented decades ago, so it may take some time before you totally shift something. So if you find yourself slipping into old habits, reactions, behaviors or choices that you thought were behind you, cut yourself some slack.
Growth is a process not an event. You can’t upgrade yourself like you do your iPhone.
When you perceive yourself taking steps backwards, that does not mean change is not occurring. You may take ten steps forward and then eight steps back. But the next time you will take eleven steps forward and only seven steps back. You are making progress!! Whatever you do, just keep going. And forgive yourself! This is super duper important. Nothing will hold you back more than judging yourself and allowing your inner critic to have its way with you. Immediately say to yourself, “I forgive myself for judging myself for back-tracking. I’m doing the best I can.” Then re-commit to your vision and intentions and keep going.
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Christine Hassler is an author, speaker, life coach and spiritual counselor dedicated to helping people answer the questions who am I, what do I want and how do I get it? You can check out her website here: http://www.christinehassler.com/