Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Growth Spurt

Throughout various times in our lives we have growth spurts. We are most familiar with growth spurts of adolescence. We remember classmates returning from summer vacation six inches taller, with more bass in their voices, and a fuller shape than before. Yet that heightened stature, deepened tone, and fuller figure came with complications. Appetites and sleeping patterns changed and we experienced pain or discomfort which led to—or more realistically, added to—teenaged moodiness. Despite the changes and discomforts, if given a choice we would willingly go through the uncomfortable phases all over again in order to gain what the growth spurts produced.

Over the years I have developed effective ways to cope with both familiar, lifelong tests and brand new ones. I’ve recognized what I need to do to work through my emotions and move forward. However, over the last year I stopped getting the same results. Life would throw me a test, I would employ my tried and true strategies, and progress didn’t come. After the first few times I thought it was a fluke, but eventually I had to acknowledge that my faithful strategies had become ineffective.
I wasn't satisfied knowing that my coping strategies were no longer working. I have a constant, internal—and sometimes annoying—need to process so I needed to know why. I needed to know if it was something I’d done—or not done. I needed to know how I reached this place and what I could do to ensure that it never happened again. I needed to know if this was my fault.

The short answer is no, it wasn’t a matter of fault. My proven coping strategies stopped working because what once sustained me was no longer sufficient. I had grown. To grow is to increase, expand, and thrive. I couldn’t increase and repeat the same actions. I couldn’t expand and maintain the same thought process. I couldn’t thrive and strive for outdated results. I needed to stretch, think larger, and act with greater focus. Growth simply demands more.

If your coping strategies are no longer giving you the same results don’t assume that you are regressing. Either the impact of your life challenges have become more complex or what used to sustain you is no longer enough. In either case, it isn’t a fault of yours. You are in the midst of a mental growth spurt.

Growth spurts are uncomfortable. Mental growth spurts require more spiritual nourishment and connection. They will shake your patterns and shift your emotional state. Fortunately, that is a temporary part of a permanent change. Once you get through the painful and unnerving period, you will stand taller, stronger, wiser, and better equipped to deal with life’s challenges. Trust the process, trust those you have permitted to stand in your inner circle, and trust yourself as your transition through your growth spurt.

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