14 Difficult Emotions That Actually Indicate You’re Experiencing Growth

Jérôme Licht
Jérôme Licht

1. Inadequacy.

Remaining at an unchallenging, stagnant job for multiple years is never going to make you feel incompetent or self-conscious, because no one is asking you to do anything other than the same thing over and over again. But being in a situation in which you do feel inadequate usually means you’re daring yourself to keep aiming for more than what you have or who you are in this moment.

2. Disorientation. 

Feeling like you’ve lost your bearings can be stressful and overwhelming. But whether it’s from starting a new job, moving to a new city, or anything else that pulls you out of your comfort zone, it teaches you how to consistently and confidently adapt to new situations – something that’s going to happen for the rest of your life, whether you like it or not.

3. Anxiety. 

If you’re trying to change your life – or yourself – for the better, you’re naturally going to feel anxious, because it means breaking your routine, opening yourself up to failure, and swimming in deep and unfamiliar waters. It’s a rattling feeling, but if experiencing growth in your life were easy, you would have done it already.

4. Isolation. 

Sometimes, trying something new can initially make you feel alienated from others. It’s not a permanent feeling, and most of the time, it ends up bringing you closer to some people in the long run. But those fledgling feelings of loneliness and distance are usually happening because you’re challenging yourself to grow whilst being surrounded by people who are staying put.

5. Heartbreak. 

Whether it’s romantic heartbreak or heartbreak from trying something new and failing at it, either way you are putting yourself out there and opening yourself up to things that can make your life better. Sometimes, they don’t work out, and it’s incredibly painful. But your heart is a very powerful force, and it’s capable of bouncing back, and in the meantime, that ache that you’re going through is only making your heart and your soul stronger.

6. Restlessness. 

Your body and your brain begin to feel this type of edginess when you’ve become aware that something in your life, or in the lives of many, needs to change. It’s not pleasant, but it’s your mind’s way of ensuring that you’re not going to sit still until you make it happen, whatever it is.

7. Humility. 

Growth doesn’t have to mean feeling ashamed or embarrassed. But you can still experience humility in a positive and beneficial way in your life, by realizing that no matter how successful or influential you become, you always have more to learn, everyone you meet has something to teach you, and you will never reach a place of complete knowledge and omnipotence – and should therefore never stop asking questions or asking for help.

8. Uncertainty. 

It means you’re learning how to make a choice that you think is right, to the best of your knowledge, even when you cannot be given all the information or any guarantee that things will work out.

9. Mental and emotional exhaustion.

A feeling that can be both overwhelming and satisfying, that comes from the fact that you’re doing everything in your power to make life better in some way for yourself and those around you, even if “making life better” just means working hard at your job and trying to be a good friend to someone who’s going through a really difficult time.

10. Self-awareness.

Sometimes it will make you overthink things, and question even the tiniest thing you’re doing. It takes some getting used to, but it’s a wonderful way to pay closer attention to the way you make others feel and how your decisions and choices can affect those around you.

11. Shakiness.

To feel like you’re constantly trembling, whether that’s physical or mental or both, often means you’re forcing yourself to move through uncharted territory. Feeling unsteady on your feet, as uncomfortable as it may be, often happens because you are challenging yourself to take the road less traveled, as opposed to the easy, less intimidating path that most people gravitate to.

12. Intense empathy.

…Particularly for those who are in a plight that is completely unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. When you’ve gone through struggle, anxiety, and pain, you have a better understanding of how to relate to and show sympathy towards others. And most importantly, as intimidating as it may seem, you become aware of your responsibility to help others, even if you have never been in the same boat before.

13. Doubt.

When your life is easy and you encounter no obstacles, there’s nothing to doubt. But when you’re constantly demanding better of yourself and refusing to accept a life of monotony and effortlessness, you’re going to feel insecure and unsure of yourself a great deal of the time.

14. Claustrophobia. 

It’s a sign that your world is getting too small for you. It’s not to imply that you have to leave everything and everyone you care about behind. It’s just an indication that it’s time for you to expand your world view and step a little further outside of the bubble in which you currently reside. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

I’m a staff writer for Thought Catalog. I like comedy and improv. I live in Chicago. My Uber rating is just okay.

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