We have this strange approach to incentivizing change and growth, like you can win a gold medal for suffering, and somehow that suffering is going to make us perform better. The thing is, all we’re learning is that stress and anxiety and fear and struggle are prerequisites to going where we want to go. And then we wonder why we’re always so stressed, always taking on more work than we can handle, always leaving things to the last minute… It’s because that’s what we taught our brains was necessary to do simple actions.
After we’ve been judging ourselves and hating where we’re at, we might find a lot of feelings. We don’t feel like we’re ready to take a step up in our job, we don’t feel like we can put ourselves out in public because we’re afraid of people judging us the way we judge ourselves. We don’t feel like we deserve to invest in ourselves and give ourselves things like rest or enjoyment. We don’t feel like we deserve to set boundaries, to communicate our needs. We see that as this thing that’ll happen after we’ve reached the success we’re chasing.
If you want to grow, it can be much more effective (and enjoyable) to see yourself like a garden. The growth and outcomes need to be nourished. What do you need to thrive? It’s going to be important to supply those needs consistently. The garden doesn’t care if you don’t feel like watering it today. The water is necessary. Waiting until you notice the garden needs it, is too late. What’s your sunshine? What’s your fertilizer? What do you want to plant around you to support your growth? How are you going to enjoy the practice of supporting your growth? How are you going to enjoy that practice even if something happens to your garden, and there’s no fruit this year, and you have to start all over?
Sometimes we get very hard on ourselves, doing lots of comparing and checking and competing. We tell ourselves we should be doing better. We should be further along at this point. Why aren’t we further along? What does that mean about us? And we try to hate ourselves into getting hungry success, angry enough to finally cut out those old habits and make the changes we know we need to make.