Personal growth isn’t called “work” for no reason. It can feel like an uphill battle, forcing us to wonder at times how we’re ever going to break through and feel free from who we don’t want to be. This is my casual letter to you, inviting you to let yourself be whatever you are before anything else. It’s not the easy way and it doesn’t always feel like a gift, but it’s a rewarding direction.
“A healer does not heal you. A healer is someone who holds space for you while you awaken your inner healer, so that you may heal yourself.” — Maryam Hasnaa
Speaking my truth: I don’t feel like a healer right now. I don’t feel like I can even heal myself. But, thankfully, I still believe that thoughts can be changed and that depressed thoughts are infamous for being inaccurate.
The feelings that we feel, though, don’t happen for no reason.
I’d also like to say that we can be so damn hard on ourselves.
This is a space for honesty in the healing process, not just moments of success and inner peace, so here we go: As I write this, I’m struggling. Again. It’s really uncomfortable. It hurts. I feel terrible.
The term “self-love” is not in my vocabulary when I’m feeling spiritually, mentally, emotionally AND physically under the weather like I’ve been feeling. With all of that going on, the term doesn’t sit well or sink in enough to pull me through.
It’s during these times that I try to just let myself be okay with not being okay.
Authentic healing involves a LOT of self-allowing.
Self-allowing falls under the umbrella of self-love, naturally, but it resonates more when the first course of action is to make it through the struggle without avoiding it. Love will come… or maybe it’s already there, waiting.
Allowing means that even if I don’t know precisely what’s wrong, I sit with the feeling of struggling and let it breathe. The more I do that, the more I see what needs to change in order to feel and live better.When we feel, we reveal and when we reveal, we can heal. encourage someone
I’m writing to you during a time of internal tension because I think it’s important we stop denying the conflicts we can fool ourselves into believing are too uncomfortable to accept. We need to struggle sometimes; it’s how we peel back the layers that don’t match our needs and dreams anymore.
Transitions can be mighty uncomfortable—usually are. They don’t call personal growth “work” for no reason. Struggle actually reflects that the journey is unfolding.
What I Do (First) When I’m Struggling
Instead of answering, “I’m fine,” what if we replied, “I’m struggling.”
When I struggle and honestly feel pretty depressed to even think about writing for Aim Happy, these are a few things that I do instead:
- Let myself be fed up. Let myself just feel what I’m feeling and not be sorry about it… even if I’m not a fan of it.
- Meditate more.
- Listen to, watch, and read material from other people. I usually find something that feels like it was meant just for me.
- Write down how I’m feeling without holding back. There’s negativity, anger, frustration, fear, and bad grammar all over the place.
- Clean, either sweeping through my apartment with determined desperation or dragging my feet.
Part of the reason I’m struggling right now is that I’m overwhelmed by all of the work there is to do. Where is the time to do it all? More importantly, how can I live inside myself in such a way that the endless work, plans, dates, requests, and distractions don’t cause overwhelm?
The very first thing I do is quickly reevaluate my priorities. Full honesty: I don’t really need to do X, Y, or Z. It can wait. Let’s start there. I’m not one for taking breaks, but that needs to change and it’s time to take a break.You can’t pretend your struggle away. tell a friend
Signs from the Universe?
Like I mentioned above, I tend to find something that feels like it was written or recorded just for me, and it finds me at exactly the time I’m needing it: when I’m finally fed up enough with struggling that there’s no way I can keep going on like I’ve been.
Right now is one of those times. It’s a low, a hard bottom, a hard thing to admit but something that I’m not willing to pretend away. It would just come back around again if I avoided it, anyway.
So, I’m back at my computer after a bunch of couch-cuddling with my dark thoughts and I decide to read a vulnerable article from Kristen Noel about struggling with struggling. Sounds about right.
What a sobering reminder that we’re not alone and that, maybe, there’s a worthwhile reason why we’re struggling right now. I mean, it still hurts pretty bad to feel this way, but I’ve survived before… I trust that it can happen again.
Then an article popped into my inbox with the perfect title: What to do when you feel like crap but you still need to create. Okay, okay.
Thank you, Universe. I am listening.
While I was participating in a little spring cleaning—something I “don’t have time for” but part of my recovery process at the moment—I came across another sign, this one from my dad. I pulled out a brown paper bag to fill with unwanted items for giving away, and a gift tag from Christmas a few years back was at the bottom.
The gift tag read: Dad ❤ Jenny.
Okay. I am listening.“Don't believe every worried thought you have. Worried thoughts are notoriously inaccurate.” — Renee Jain tweet this
Personal Growth Is a Struggle Not Without Its Gifts
The gifts of personal growth are hard-won in my experience but well worth the struggles it takes to attain them. Growth is the gift.
Here are a few gems I’ve noted by allowing myself to be right where I am, in the middle of almost-unbearable discomfort and frustration, by bearing my brokenness until light peeks through the cracks again:
- I’m stronger than my depressed thoughts tell me I am.
- I’m more capable than my worried thoughts tell me I am.
- It’s okay to want different things than most of my friends or to be in another season of life (that means that not everyone will truly understand what I’m doing or why it’s a priority).
- A lot of people care, but I need to be the one who validates my efforts.
- I need to have moments of frustration to spark a real revolution in my heart; the struggle is a shedding process and a kind of spring cleaning.
- Things can get better.
Self-allowing is perhaps the greatest gift I’ve given myself.
Let me know:
What are you struggling with when it comes to bettering your life, and what’s one thing you can do—or not do—right now to help yourself?
Share your thoughts, helpful practices or insights, gifts you’ve uncovered, what you’re letting go of, and any stories of honest growth with me in the comments. I’d love to know.
Have a friend who gets the struggle of personal growth? Share this post with them as a reminder that we can keep rising, a little bit better after every fall.
I think you’re amazing just for being on this path.