On Change and Moving “Forward Toward Growth”

What Do We Need in Order to Grow?

Abraham Maslow was a psychologist who was well known for positing the “hierarchy of needs.”  He stated that as our basic needs are met, we are able to go on to meet other needs. The baseline need being physiological; then safety, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization.

He is widely quoted for this phrase “One can go back toward safety, or forward toward growth.”  We all have areas of life in which going forward toward growth is more palatable. Almost all change is difficult…even when it is “good” change. Change that feels good, like being in a new relationship or losing weight. They both also come with challenges like tolerating differences between you and your beloved or adjusting to a changing body and one’s relationship to themselves and how others relate to the changes they can see.

External Change is Indifferent

I’ve often talked about how change is something that is a fact of life. If change could be personified it would prove to be indifferent to us or how it (change) impacts us. When storms hit or when tragedy strikes, people look to assign meaning. They ask “Why did this bad thing happen to me/us?” The underlying belief is that “bad” or difficult, scary and challenging things should not happen to us. Or stated more simply — the belief that “I/we didn’t deserve this.” But, of course, bad/challenging and painful things happen to us all. Money is a not an antidote to this and neither is religion. Money can help us if we need medical attention or literally need to put the pieces of our physical lives together but they don’t guarantee a return to good health or to a happy home.

What Does it All Mean?

Of course varying degrees of bad events that lead to change in our lives happen us all. Good things and neutral things also occur. It is the meaning we assign  to these life changing events that directs our thinking and our ability to change, if change is what is needed. If we assign a positive meaning, even then some people ask “Why did this good thing happen to me?” Sometimes people have difficulty with good change because they don’t believe they deserve it. Others believe their life is stuck in neutral and that nothing happens to them, for them, within them or around them.

I believe that life is about growth and that changes around us and changes within us are occurring in part to facilitate that growth. I define growth as moving forward in one’s soul’s journey. What did you or I come here to do, be, learn, complete etc…?

Catalyst for Growth

The occurrence of good or bad things is often a catalyst for growth. It is not the only way but it can be the best springboard that I know.

  • A near death experience
  • A health scare or a loved one’s major illness
  • The death of a loved one
  • The end of a relationship
  • The birth of a child
  • Moving to a new place
  • and so on….are all challenging and painful, even with all of the nuances of each of these experiences and our relationship to them.

Cultivating change without a springboard is difficult but not impossible. There are many things that we can impact and actually change and there are others that we cannot do much, if anything, about. What keeps us in the same place doing the same things and expressing the same concerns is often habit.

Habits, Habits, Habits

It is our habits that keep us from the changes we can make. The good news is that if you cultivated bad habits, then you can learn to cultivate new positive habits. Habits and routines are often comforting. Even bad habits that keep us in dysfunctional relationships or toxic work environments are kept because of their familiarity.

What I would say to my therapist friends and to clients is to be patient. Sometimes change happens in a flash. But often it is a series of maneuvers and experiences over time. Often progress is incremental. It’s not always an “aha” moment. Instead it is the minute by minute; hour by hour; day by day; week by week; month by month; year by year effort, work, awareness, support and discipline.

Radio Interview

Recently Dr. Pamela Antoinette invited me participate in a radio interview about change. This particular interview is titled “Power of the Pivot: It’s Time to Change Your Life.”  It will air live on her show titled “The Live Exchange” on January 4th, 2018, from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.

The show airs live via the Sensation Station Network (SSN) channel on the TuneIn app (http://tunein.com), and via Facebook Live on the SSN Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/notdumbeddown), and will be available for replay via The Live Exchange YouTube channel and BlogTalkRadio podcast, which can both be accessed at www.TheLiveExchangeRadio.com. Tune in if you can.

Copyright © 2017 Ruby Blow. All rights reserved.

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