Joy or Struggle: The ‘Arrangement’ You Make with Your Growth
by Rob Brookler
If you’ve made the choice for a richer, more empowered life ... and your life-path seems bumpier than ever, please don’t be discouraged. If you’ve been striving for greater wholeness – striving to heal a part of yourself or your life that is causing you pain – only to find yourself in greater turmoil, don’t give up quite yet.
In fact, your choice to grow and improve your life is a sacred choice. And it’s a decision that simply cannot mislead you. But in a time of accelerated growth – like the present one – along with that decision to grow you must also make a very conscious decision about how you will grow. More precisely, it’s a decision about how you will treat yourself as you grow.
You can think about this decision as a kind of "arrangement" you make with yourself and your growth. And if you’re struggling with your healing and your self-improvement, your best bet is to look to this arrangement.
The ‘terms’ of your arrangement ...
If, for instance, one of the terms of this arrangement is that you feel successful and "on track" only on the days when everything goes smoothly, you’re in for a tough time. Why? Because your path of growth and power will quite properly include unlooked-for circumstances. These "intermediate" results are an inevitable part of your creative process in the world. These are the stepping stones to the power and wholeness you are creating.
So any arrangement that judges and nags at you along the way only serves to weigh down your forward progress. It’s a very short-sighted arrangement, and it will introduce struggle where no struggle need exist.
Likewise, if your arrangement says "I’m damaged or not really progressing because I’m feeling that old fear or emotional upset again," you’re doing yourself and your path a great disservice. On your healthy path of growth you should expect to find the places where you have old fears, wounded feelings, and limiting beliefs – as these are the places you are healing.
Why, you may ask, if I’m really healing do these fears and hurt feelings come up again and again? Because one of the ways we heal is by building strength around the places where we have been wounded. And you will return again and again to these wounded places because with every encounter you are building a bit more "muscle" for your wholeness in this area.
So any arrangement whereby you’re entitled to feel successful and strong only when everything goes and feels "right" misses the very mechanism that drives your growth. And such an arrangement is a recipe for struggle and exhaustion because operating under these harsh "terms" you are robbed of the satisfaction and the rewards that keep you nourished and aligned with your growth.
You wouldn’t accept these terms if someone else was imposing them ...
Now, it’s important to note that these harsh terms are not necessarily apparent at your conscious level. They’re implicit. They’re hidden in the small print. So you need to examine this arrangement with yourself closely and objectively.
Here’s a great approach. Evaluate these "terms" as though they were being imposed not by you but by another ... say, your employer. We’ve all had the misfortune to work for someone who, no matter how much effort we’ve given, remarks only on our flaws. Someone who only begrudgingly gives us credit or praise. And minutes later, it’s "What have you done for me lately!"
We have no difficulty seeing how this "arrangement" robs us of any fulfillment or joy or enthusiasm for our job. Yet these are often precisely the "terms" we have made with ourselves and our life.
So if you’re struggling or feeling discouraged, check your "arrangement" for terms and conditions like these:
• "I won’t reward or feel good about myself today because I made this mistake."
• "I’m not powerful because my efforts did not generate the results I hoped for today."
• "I and my contribution must not be valuable because someone criticized or failed to acknowledge me or my work."
• "I cannot rest because I didn’t get everything done or fixed or perfect."
These terms also are a recipe for exhaustion and struggle. And such terms make absolutely no sense in any arrangement surrounding your personal growth and power. Again, you should expect to make mistakes and meet resistance and criticism, as you are reaching into new territory and developing new skills, new confidence and new strengths.
Should you be happy when you hit these obstacles? Of course not. They often trigger old emotional wounding ... and they challenge your strength and resolve. But these are precisely the moments when that "arrangement" with yourself becomes critical.
An ‘arrangement’ that supports you ...
In order to balance the demands and challenges of your growth, your arrangement must support you ... period. Under the terms of your arrangement, what you are creating is not more important than you are. Under the terms of your arrangement, you are entitled to rest, reward and acknowledgment whether or not things seem to be "working" at the moment ... and especially when others (like that unpleasant employer) fail to acknowledge you.
Likewise, given that you’re pushing through old fears and limiting patterns, your arrangement must not only allow you but require you to be particularly compassionate and patient with yourself. Rather than focusing on what went wrong or what you didn’t do, you should end the day by crediting yourself with what you did do, what you did particularly well, and where you improved (... even just a little bit).
And here’s an important tip. Don’t wait until you’re completely exhausted before you start being supportive. It’s far easier to keep yourself full than to refill yourself. When you’re already running on empty, those old "unkind" terms will try to re-assert themselves. So make sure you’re keeping these new "supportive" terms ongoing, daily – even hourly if things are particularly challenging.
If your arrangement does not provide for this ongoing self-support and compassion, you’re missing the fruits of your growth. If you make these rewards and kindnesses conditional on "getting there," you’re depriving yourself of the fuel designed to actually get you there.
Remembering the loving energy that guides your growth ...
You can be certain that the larger energy that guides your growth – that sacred energy you aligned with in making your choice to grow – does not make these conditions. In the eyes of this very powerful energy, you are never broken or lacking or lost.
The energy that supports your growth and healing is first, foremost and always a loving energy. It doesn’t ask you to be perfect. It does not expect you to meet difficulties with a perfect grace. It asks only that you learn.
When you feel yourself struggling, it’s time to remember this ... and "adjust" the terms of your arrangement so that you treat yourself in this same patient, wise and loving way.
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