Truth Byte #57
“Change and growth are different things.”
The one constant in life is change. Kids grow taller, wear and tear impacts our highways, and our bodies age. Change happens with the passage of time. It’s just Nature’s law. However, change does not necessarily predict growth, especially when it comes to people.
Let me tell you a little story. I know someone who tries new things all the time. She moves from this project to that project and has a lot of fun doing it. Downside: she is still telling me the same stories about how “life is so hard” that she was telling me fifteen years ago.
Lots of changes, little growth.
Here’s another one. I had a client who had seen over five therapists in the last ten years. Before he met me, he had tried whatever they taught him, attempting to implement all the homework and self-reflection he could. Every month he was reading a new book about personal development. Downside: he was still stuck in the same cycle of one failed relationship after another. Lots of change, not much growth.
Why does this happen?
Why is it so hard for people to grow?
Over the years I have worked with many clients who, within a few short weeks, begin to see transformational growth in their lives. What are they doing that these other people were missing? Those who are ready for growth have been willing to take a dive into the murky water of the inner landscape, and often have hired help to do it. Here are my top five reasons people don’t genuinely grow.
- They believe they are right.
This is a sticky one. There is a term in psychology called “confirmation bias”. This is the unconscious tendency to unknowingly seek out things that agree with our pre-held beliefs and ignore things that do not. In this way, we are always proving to ourselves that we are right.
- They can’t admit when they are wrong.
How hard is it to say you are sorry? Yet, this is one of the first lessons we are taught as children. It is super hard to admit that you are wrong, and even more complicated because of “belief perseverance”. Science shows that even after we are presented evidence to the contrary, we will tend to believe our own original ideas.
- They blame other people.
It’s easier to make someone else the bad guy than to admit you are the one with the problem. It’s easier to look outside of yourself and see the people around you as flawed then to admit you have a gap in personal development or a blind spot where you are consistently behaving in ways that trigger other people. Those who look outside of themselves to navigate how they should feel have an “external locus of control”, meaning situations outside of them dictate how they feel and how they react.
- They hold a grudge.
Many people have stories about how they were wronged. That’s just the human condition. But all the wisdom traditions around the world teach the value of forgiveness. When we hold a grudge, we keep reinforcing to ourselves that our way was correct, and see the situation only from our own point of view. When those kinds of experiences come up in the future (because we repeat lessons we have not yet learned), we approach them the same way. Result: no real growth. (Check out Forgive for Good by Dr. Fred Luskin to let go of your own grudges once and for all.)
- They don’t have emotional maturity.
Feelings are important. They let us know what we should be doing next and what to avoid. We were born to feel, as many mammals are. Feelings have developed to biologically support us in making good choices for our survival. But many people are emotionally stunted. They never really learned how to process feelings in a healthy way, so they are either overly stoic or drowning in a whirlwind of feelings. When we don’t have emotional maturity, we handle life’s plot lines in an ineffective way. There may be lots of changes in our lives, but no real growth.
So why would a person want to grow? It seems like hard work to know when you are wrong, engage in forgiveness, and feel your feelings like a grown-up would. It seems easier to just be that person who changes activities, relationships, homes, or jobs on a regular basis, but does not really change anything on the inside. Lord knows so many people are walking around this planet today just superficially engaging in change.
Why wouldn’t you be like everybody else?
My guess is, if you have read this far, it’s because you want something deeper, something more meaningful for your own life. You want to feel the fullness of this life, and to watch yourself as you evolve through your own stages of development, from not knowing what lurks within to actually being brave enough to exploring those spaces inside. You are one of the deep thinkers, the deep feelers, the empaths that the world has been waiting for. You know the value of transformation, and you are tired of living a caterpillar’s life when you can see the butterfly potential inside of you.
If you are ready for transformation, I would invite you to join my tribe. We are growing every, single day. We are a group of people around the world who believe in the potential for human change, and that the inner space is the final frontier before true happiness. We know that the planet will only heal once we heal ourselves. We are ready to do whatever it takes to bring peace, one “I’m sorry” at a time.
How do you join us? Start by checking out the videos on my website: www.talktosaira.com, and then sign up for the mailing list, or send me a personal note at email@example.com . If you are already a groupie, please invite those in your own circles to join in. The more minds and hearts we have, the stronger the impact we will have.
We truly can grow, beyond our wildest beliefs.