Sometimes in spiritual communities, we talk so much about love and light that we skirt around the obvious discomforts that come with personal growth.
The truth is this: our spirit loves change, but our body does not. It’s set up for homeostasis. It has all kinds of regulatory processes that are meant to stay consistent, like our temperature with it’s reliable 98.7 degrees and our blood pressure, heart rate, and white cell count (just to name a few), all striving to stay positively consistent.
The body doesn’t like change, and the spirit doesn’t like sameness. It’s a wonder these two aspects of ourselves can even cohabitate.
What this means is our spirit is drawn into newness and growth experiences while our body will often find these things downright scary, and seek to avoid them all together. So, to truly grow and evolve, we need to work with the scared, human aspect of ourselves and consistently take committed, courageous action.
Being a bit of a personal growth addict, I’ve stepped up a lot in my life, and I used to think that I wasn’t courageous, because when I’d step up, I’d typically be terrified. But eventually, it dawned on me: fear is not evidence that you lack courage, it’s proof that you HAVE courage. Because if you’re not scared in a situation, it doesn’t take courage to step into it, and if you do step into something that scares you, then you are being brave.
So fear is actually a prerequisite of courage. You must have fear or you have nothing to overcome and be courageous about. In other words, if you’re not afraid, no bravery is needed. It’s just a walk in the park. No biggie.
In my years of life coaching, so many of my clients have felt the same way – like they weren’t courageous simply because they felt afraid. And of course, as they defined themselves this way, they became less likely to take brave actions. I had to reframe the situation and get them to see all the times they’d been scared and took courageous action. Once I did this, they started to redefine themselves as courageous and began taking more brave actions.
So, I feel it’s my duty to break two big myths right now: First that spiritual growth should always be easy-breezy and filled with light and love, and second, if we feel afraid when we do something, then we aren’t being courageous.
Both of those assumptions are a bunch of hooey.
Personal transformation – especially the big kind – can be rough. It’s based on moving into the unknown and the unknown is always harder to deal with than the familiar. The known is comfortable and the unknown typically is not. It’s that simple.
On the second point, as I’ve already pointed out, you need fear to be courageous. So the more you feel fear and still choose to take action, the more courageous you are. Courage is an action more than a state of being. It is doing what you know you need to do even if it scares you.
One thing that helps me a lot on my transformational path is to remember that although something may look and feel unfamiliar on the outside, my true growth is always unfolding from within.
The same is true for you, of course.
Think about the little caterpillar who is going to transform into the elegant butterfly. There is almost no apparent similarity between these two versions of the same little being. Still, the butterfly is actually inside the caterpillar all along. Whatever I am evolving into is already inside of me right now, and whatever you are evolving into is already inside of you too. In all the mystery that personal evolution entails, I find that comforting and hope you do too — your future self is already a seed within you. If you commit to your path and keep stepping up courageously, it will gradually be revealed, and you will spread your wings and fly.
If this blog post and audio recording speak to you, you’ll probably enjoy Vicki’s free Chakra Abundance recording.