Growth Isn’t Always Linear: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back


“If
you
are
going
through
a
time
of
discouragement,
there
is
a
time
of
great
personal
growth
ahead.”
~Oswald
Chambers

If
I
were
to
look
back
at
my
life
thus
far,
as
I
often
do,
I’d
notice
a
pattern
of
events
and
feelings
resembling
the
activity
on
an
EKG
monitor.

For
every
peak,
there’s
been
a
valley.
For
every
leap
forward,
there’s
been
a
stumble
backward—sometimes
just
an
inch,
and
other
times,
what
seemed
like
miles.


Recognizing
and
embracing
this
has
brought
me
a
tremendous
amount
of
peace,
because
I
once
believed
that
progress
required
a
steady,
consistent
ascent
toward
perfection.

If
I
struggled
with
something
I’d
struggled
with
before,
I
felt
I’d
somehow
failed.
If
I
experienced
a
personal
or
professional
setback,
I
thought
I’d
done
something
wrong.

Growing,
to
me,
meant
always
doing
and
feeling
better
than
I
did
the
day
before.
But
I’ve
realized
that’s
not
growth;
and
when
I
believed
it
was,
growth
wasn’t
what
I
was
seeking.

I
was
seeking
permanently
better.
I
wanted
persistent
happiness—a
reprieve
from
difficult,
overwhelming
feelings,
and
a
sense
that
every
day
of
my
life,
I
was
one
inch
closer
to
the
ideal.

I’d

say

that
life’s
about
the
journey,
but
in
the
back
of
my
head
I
believed
it
would
have
no
purpose
if
not
for
the
destination,
which
made
it
hard
to
truly
pull
my
focus
from
it.


In
this
mindset,
ever
fixated
on

getting
there
,
and
deeply
upset
by
any
seeming
break
in
momentum,
I
constantly
felt
angry
with
myself.

But
I
wasn’t

supposed

to
be
feeling
angry—I’d
been
cultivating
peace
for
years.

I
wasn’t

supposed

to
feel
uncertain
of
what
I
wanted
professionally—I’d
been
working
on
my
career
for
years.

I
wasn’t

supposed

to
doubt
myself—I’d
been
building
my
confidence
for
years.

All
this
emphasis
on
where
I

should

be
made
it
difficult
to
ever
experience
those
elusive
positive
feelings
I
wanted
to
feel. 


Then
one
day,
I
considered
that
maybe
this
mindset
was
paralyzing
me.
I
wondered
if
maybe
I
was
actually
hindering
my
growth
by
expecting
growth
to
be
linear.

It’s
often
in
our
struggles
that
we
stretch
and
come
to
better
understand
ourselves.
They’re

part

of
the
growth
process—not
a
departure
from
it.

We
grow
when
we
do
our
best
to
learn
from
and
move
beyond
our
challenges
instead
of
obsessing
over
them
and
making
ourselves
feel
stuck.

This
may
sound
simple,
but
for
a
long
time,
it
was
hard
for
me
to
wrap
my
head
around
this
idea,
mainly
because
of
all
the
messy
emotions
that
came
up
when
I
thought
I
messed
up.

Isn’t
growth
supposed
to
feel
good?


That’s
the
thing,
though:
Just
like
a
muscle
needs
to
tear
to
grow
stronger,
sometimes
we
need
to
wade
into
our
own
darkness
to
find
a
brighter
light.

We
don’t
need
to
worry
that
every
setback
indicates
something’s
wrong.
So
long
as
we’re
making
progress
on
the
whole,
we
can
trust
we’re
doing
just
fine.

We
all
make
mistakes
in
life.
We
all
go
through
phases
when
we
need
to
relearn
lessons
we’ve
already
learned,
and
that
can
be
frustrating
when
we’re
in
that
moment,
feeling
regret,
remorse,
or
impatience.

But
if
we
looked
back
on
our
lives,
we’d
recognize
how
far
we’ve
come,
despite
the
peaks
and
valleys.
We’d
see
we’ve
learned
and
grown,
as
we
do
every
moment
of
every
day.

We’d
see
we’re
not
the
same
people
we
were
before,
and
know
we
won’t
be
the
same
tomorrow.

Still,
while
we’re
always
becoming,
we
can’t
ever
experience
happiness
if
we’re
fixated
on
who
we
could
or
should
be.
We
can
only
experience
happiness
by
being
who
we
are,
because
it’s
only
available

right
now
.

We
may
never
attain
the
ideal,
but
maybe
that’s
okay.
Maybe
our
purpose
isn’t
just
to
grow—maybe
it’s
also
about
growing
to
love
our
perfectly
imperfect
selves.


I
share
more
about
the
power
of changing
your
perspective
in
my
eCourse Recreate
Your
Life
Story,
which 
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Buddha’s
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Best
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You
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your
past,
but
you
can
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story
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it,
and
that’s
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changing
your
life.
For
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