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Highs and lows: the Yin and Yang of personal growth

We all start our personal growth journeys with the intention of bettering ourselves and our lives. Whether this looks like wanting to improve our relationships, boost confidence, grow professionally, heal from past pain, or otherwise.

But it's not all wins, big milestones and smashing glass ceilings.

The further we voyage along these journeys - if we truly want to transform, and if we're sincerely seeking to shift at a more meaningful level - the deeper we end up digging.

And this process is no bed of roses. Because creating genuinely meaningful change within ourselves entails coming face-to-face with our most uncomfortable truths. The memories, feelings, pains, fears, patterns, which we've spent years avoiding.

Growing pains

It's quite normal to go through a terrible twos or teenage-like phase.

As I’ve done a lot of my own inner healing, especially with inner child work and shadow work, some of the absolute worst of me has come to the surface, and at times lashed out.

Not because I was on the wrong track. But because I was unearthing a backlog of deep-seated emotions, memories and fears that I hadn't previously acknowledged, and hadn't wanted to acknowledge.

And because moving forward with my growth meant releasing this baggage. Whatever doesn’t release will stay stuck inside you. Inconvenient, but true.

Of course, I want to mention here that it's been important to find ways of letting myself feel and release these emotions without this negatively affecting others around me. Growth is pointless if we can't account for self-responsibility.

Unearthing deeper layers

I'd done a lot of personal development work over the years. From adolescence, I devoured extensive teachings on the topic, but this had all fallen under the motivational "change your thoughts, change your life" category.

Nothing wrong with this. But once I started to seek growth at a deeper, soul level, what had initially begun as enthusiasm for understanding human behaviour and a zest for my own deeper transformation, resulted in opening up a can of worms. It revealed an entire, tangled mess to unravel. It's felt incredibly disheartening at times.

The Yin and the Yang

But life is full of contrasting yet complementary Yin and Yang. As much as we experience light, we experience the darker shades of life. As much as we experience joy, we will all inevitably experience sorrow, without exception.

And our growth is no different - it progresses through cycles of highs and lows. Good times and tough times. Moments when it's smooth sailing and moments when the proverbial hits the fan.

It's important to recognise that there is nothing wrong about this. On the contrary, if we let go of judging and resisting the more difficult parts of the journey, we can actually start to recognise a flow and harmony within this natural rhythm.

Because it’s in these times that we get to know more of our raw authenticity. These are the moments in which we gain invaluable clarity, perspective and awareness. Deep-seated patterns that have kept us stuck become more apparent, and so we're more capable of working through them.

These times shape us. They create formative conditions for each of us to evolve and unfold into more of our fullness.

True wholeness

In my own experience, the more difficult points of the journey have been worth it at every stage. Each time, I've found increasing relief on the other side. Each layer has released more baggage, bringing a deeper sense of peace, wellness and happiness.

It's uncomfortable reaching into those places where the darkness may appear daunting, but the fullness of who you are is found in the depths of all that you are. The totality of life is all of our experiences - the good, the bad and the ugly. This is true wholeness. Honour it all, because it all matters.

And be patient with yourself. Don't judge yourself. Show yourself compassion. If you know someone else who's going through a similar experience, be kind. Show them the same compassion you'd want to be shown. Know that this too shall pass. It always does, if we allow it to.

P.S. if you'd like my support with shadow work, inner child healing, or processing the emotions that come up while doing this work, find out more about how I can help you here.

Disclaimer: The information in this post, and all of my other blog posts, is provided for general information purposes only.


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