What does it really mean to have growth in our lives? How do we know we are growing? What measuring stick do we use to know when we have grown? Every individual has their own understanding of their version of growth. Why? Because even though we are all connected we are all on an individual path. So the real question is what does growth look like for you?
At different stages in life growth looks different. When I was younger, it was measured in physical growth. When I outgrew clothes or shoes, I knew that I was growing up. As an adolescent, when I decided to become more independent and do things like drive or get my first job, I knew I was growing up. Growth in the early years was more of a moving from one phase to the next to inevitably become a more mature version of myself. Making mistakes was expected and there was less pressure if I failed at any point.
As an adult though, growth takes on a complex form. It is a deeper and more intimate process as we age. The amount of pressure to “get it right” grows enormously and the margin of error decreases exponentially. As Dr. Maya Angelou said, “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” There is an ugliness to growth that we don’t like to expose. That’s because it involves the pain of shedding away of old things. Growth is a gritty process. There is no easy road but we try to hide that fact to avoid judgement. Thus, letting fear overrun us and delay our growth process.
How do we move past this? We show ourselves GRACE. Grace gives us permission to forgive ourselves. It allows space for failure and welcomes the lessons it has to show us to keep moving forward. It gives us the courage to turn towards the difficult moments and sit with them until we understand them. It is the kindness that shows up in the midst of the most unforgiving parts of growing. There cannot be true growth without grace. If you were to ask me how I know if I have grown now, I would tell you that I show myself grace.