You Grow Girl: How to Transform Your Challenges Into Opportunities for Growth
I’m just going to come right out and say it: 2017 has been a hard year.
One filled with seemingly more downs than ups, more heartbreaks than heartquakes, more WTF’s? than Holy F’s!, more lows than highs, and probably enough tears cried that I could take a bath in my own self-wallowing. Not exactly a pretty picture, is it?
I’d shut up about it already, but misery loves company, and it has come to my attention — in conversation and camaraderie — that maybe it’s not just me who feels like 2017 hit her with a TKO.
Almost every single one of my friends and acquaintances has their own sob story from what’s going down as one of the worst years our generation has had to face. (Perhaps that's a sign of our privilege, but it doesn't make our experiences or feelings any less valid.) And while it would be easy and convenient to call this a “Trump” thing, I’m Canadian and I think there’s more going on here. One of my Instagram followers commented, “I’m pretty sure there’s much astrology at play. It’s a vibrational zone pattern I’m also currently part of.”
But whether it’s cyclical, astrological, or in part due to America’s leadership, doesn’t change the fact that breakdowns equal breakthroughs and we all have a unique opportunity to transform our challenges into opportunities for growth.
As much as this may feel like a “you” thing — like, a personal attack from the Universe, herself — it’s important to keep things in perspective.
None of us are perfect, and — despite what Instagram may lead you to believe — there is no one on the planet who has a perfect life.
We all make mistakes, and we all face challenges.
We all struggle internal battles, and we each have our own version of an inner-mean girl.
It makes sense then, that when we are faced with a particularly difficult hurdle to climb or we screw up really badly, to look at it not as a disaster, but as an opportunity — an opportunity to gain wisdom and knowledge; an opportunity to bring more joy into our lives and most importantly an opportunity for growth.
Because what’s the alternative? We all give up? Nuh-uh, I don’t think so, gf.
Rule #1: Never Give Up
Perhaps, the most important step you must take if you want to transform your challenges into opportunities for growth and learning is to simply keep on keepin’ on. You should never give up at the first hurdle. A challenge is something to be faced and maybe even conquered, not something to be feared.
Next, Ask the Universe for a Solution
Okay, so bear with me. This might sound a little New Age, but asking the universe — or God, or the Source, or Light, or Grace, or whoever you want to call upon — to help you find a solution to your challenge is a good way of relaxing your mind and then “letting the issue go”.
Put it out there and then move on.
You might think that this won’t be much use to you, but quite often when you let things go, the solution comes to you; your subconscious mind works on the issue for you, so you don't have to worry. Not only that, but the solutions you come up with when you let things go are often much better than they might otherwise have been ... and that means bigger and better things for you.
Don't Forget to Breathe
It might sound silly, but if you get into the habit of breathing deeply whenever you’re experiencing a challenging time, not only will it soothe you in the moment, but you’ll start to condition yourself to do it naturally.
What does this have to do with growth? Literally, everything.
I've learned from my yoga practice that when you breath slow, deep and even, it calms your body and mind and makes you feel more at peace. This proves that, even when times are challenging, it's possible to find peace, calm, and even happiness. When you remember to breathe, you realize you don’t have to react frantically to every issue you face — there is another way.
Always Cultivate Curiosity
Cultivating a sense of curiosity about yourself and the world around you might not seem like it has much connection with facing challenges and growth, but that's where you'd be wrong.
You see, the more curious you are about the world around you, the better able you are to see the big picture. You won’t sweat the small stuff so much, and that’s important if you want to truly grow as a person.
Learn from Your Mistakes
This is pretty much a cliche now, but learning from your mistakes is one of the best ways to push your own personal growth. If you do something wrong, say make a major mistake at work, f**k up in your relationship, forget a friends birthday, or otherwise ... instead of letting the mistake ruin your day, your relationships, or your job, take some time to consider where you went wrong, why, and how you might be able to do things differently next time.
That, right there, is a recipe for instant growth.
Own Your Mistakes
This one is pretty important, but it can be quite difficult to do. However, owning your mistakes is essential if you want to have more happiness and personal insight in your life.
Let’s consider an extreme example of someone who struggles with addiction. If they stick their head in the sand and keep doing what they’re doing, they're only going to wind up with more misery and more pain. If, however, they admit they have an issue, attend a retreat for growth like Serenity at Summit Addiction Rehab Center and start to work with their issues, they can find joy — joy in taking control, joy in meeting like-minded people, and joy in putting their life back together.
Whether you’re struggling with addiction or the after-effects of a bad breakup, the protocol is the same. There’s only so much you can put on other people, but at the end of the day, you can only control what you can control.
Remember, breakdowns = breakthroughs and when you own your mistakes, you give yourself the opportunity to learn from them and ultimately, to grow.
Try Something New
Sometimes, a challenge is put in our way to show us that we’re on the wrong path. If you’re struggling with something and you can’t see a way around it, or you’re making mistake after mistake trying to overcome it, and it's noticeable, it could be that you need to reevaluate what you’re doing and try something new.
Sometimes the path we’re on; the path we think is right for us ... well it isn’t.
Leave Your Comfort Zone
When you are faced with a challenge, you typically have two options:
1. You can do what you always do...
Stay in the cushy job that drains your soul.
Stay in the relationship that doesn’t feel right, anymore.
Stay stuck, right where you are.
2. You can step outside.
If you do the latter, get ready for growth, girl. Magical things will happen outside of your comfort zone.
Remember What You Can't Control
Next time you face a challenge, it’s worth reminding yourself that you can’t be responsible for anything but yourself and your actions. This could help you to avoid confrontation with your colleagues, stop you from relapsing into a bad habit, getting into an unnecessary argument with a loved one, or burning your bridges.
By remembering what you can’t control, you are also reminding yourself of what you can — that is, yourself.
This means, when sh*t hits the fan, and everything is seemingly spiraling out of control, you only have one responsibility — that is, yourself.
Learn to Love Yourself Flaws and All
Because when you love yourself and accept yourself flaws and all, everything else magically falls into place.
*This is a collaborative post.
*Feature image by Sara Shakeel