This thought must have crossed your mind before: With every gain you make, something must break. Personal development is one of those things that can seem like a thankless practice sometimes.
You work so hard to become a better person, to grow, to evolve into a ‘bigger’ version of yourself, and all of a sudden nobody gets you, your life doesn’t fit anymore, what used to be fun is now dull and you feel like the star attraction in the circus freak show.
As you navigate further into personal discovery, you realize that you’ve begun to outgrow life in many ways. Here are the four big ones I’ve seen people struggle with:
1. Friends and Lovers: You outgrow friends or significant others who haven’t kept up with you; you no longer enjoy the same subjects, activities and conversations you used to. You no longer ‘get’ each other and no amount of ‘discussion’, workshop referrals or books passed along makes it better.
You have to know that it’s okay. Every story has an ending. It’s important to recognize when your story with those buddies ends. When it does, wrap it up. Honor what existed and move on.
2. Family: You outgrow family members that don’t understand what the fuck you’re going on about. Maybe it’s your father, your sister, that cousin you spent childhood summers with… and now they don’t have any idea what you’re rambling on about. They don’t understand why you really need to go live in an Ashram for a month or what has changed so drastically that you no longer eat meat or have feathers in your hair or meditate twice a day.
Keep calm. Don’t try to force your growth onto them. Everyone has their own journey. Protect your own but also respect theirs, don’t stuff your enlightenment down their throats. Agree to live with differences.
3. Yourself: You outgrow the ‘old’ you. You outgrow your hungry ego and the silly battles it aches for; you outgrow the escapist within you; you outgrow the smaller you than wants to hide in mama’s bathrobe; you outgrow the passenger inside you (the green-faced one holding on to rails of the roiling ship wondering where the hell you’re going).
Don’t worry. That ‘you’ lived while she could. The new ‘you’ sets the ego aside and digs deep into what’s true; you deal with the present head-on; you are are a warrior that now shelters others in your robes; you’ve become the Captain of your ship, grabbing hold of wheel and compass and setting sail for your own destination.
4. The Past: You outgrow the original life you had designed for yourself, whether it was a life of cultivated luxury, traveling the world as a nomad or climbing the corporate ladder rungs. You recognize that past life was designed by a half-blind child-artist with finger paints in the dark.
Don’t worry. You will go through an entire redesign, this time though you’re using a full spectrum paint palette, staring through a microscope of contribution and sheltered by an umbrella of meaning. Keep moving, you’re doing great.
Know that it’s ok to change your mind, your self, your life, your choices and beliefs every ‘now’ that exists.
It’s fine to rearrange your love and relationships to fit the current version of yourself.
Don’t let the past dictate your choices.
Don’t let guilt limit your future.
Let your stories end and begin the same way a new wave laps a new shore with the same waters.
Your time is ticking.