By: Tanvi Maharaja PT, DPT
My son turns 15 this spring. It has been an amazing adventure watching him grow from a fun-loving, giggling, babbling toddler to the kind, empathetic, witty, smart teenager. As we were regaling him with his childhood stories (which obviously embarrassed him no end) and having fun at his expense, the discussion turned to growth. Growth not only from childhood to adulthood, but as we experience it as an ongoing process. And it was just perfect that spring had just about begun to manifest itself around us as we discussed this!
We all had different ideas for what constitutes growth: physical growth, curiosity-driven view of the world, questioning and inquiring with a critical mind, bringing in some skepticism and cynicism to our interactions, accepting our shortcomings and figuring out a way to overcome them if that is possible.
But how do we go about being ready to grow? How do we get into the mindset that accepts the fact that we need to grow, need to change the status quo, need to get out of our comfort zone. When do we start growing?
The first step would be to know that we are enough as we are. The growth that we are seeking is not for the sake of others. It is not about proving anything, it is not about being better or worse than anyone else, it is not about anyone other than ourselves. It is for us, and us alone.
I also think that we cannot grow until we put ourselves out there. In a position of vulnerability. Growth seeks out weakness. Then once that weakness is acknowledged, it is a painstaking process going about fixing it one step at a time. It is an arduous, even torturous process. It may even put us in the spotlight. It demands courage. Courage to not only accept our weakness, but sometimes to do so publicly. The one good thing to come of this is process is confidence. When we undergo a tough situation, and work on the betterment of our skills, especially in the public glare, under scrutiny and criticism, the end result may be astounding, resounding confidence. The realization that we overcame our worst fears and landed on our feet, and landed in golden shoes with a crown on our head!
I also know that this cannot be a one-man job. Although the transformation is self-endured, it takes a village to get us there. Family and friends are invaluable agents of this change. Because we all need someone to cheer us on.
And when we overcome one mountain, and bask in the glory for a bit, we may get hooked to this high, keep actively seeking out things we can do better, overcome physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual challenges, and achieve wonderful things like character, integrity, skills, kindness, the empathy to help other people along similar journeys, the ability to block out negativity, the insight to see possibilities.
Growth is amazing. It never ends. It happens every second of every day. All we have to do is be ready for it!
To growing, and thriving, and flourishing!!