How do we measure growth? What does it look like? I’ve been told it comes with time, and we hardly recognize it while it is happening, but one day you look back, and you can see how far you’ve come. It’s an interesting thing.
I have been living in a place for quite a while now, where I was constantly seeking growth. I mean, I still am. But how do I measure that? Is it measured in faults disappearing? Is it measured by a blossoming vulnerability? Is it measured by small, daily acts? Does the word ‘growth’ necessitate the meaning ‘changing who you are’? And how much of oneself is able to be changed, and how much is just personality? How much should we change for a person, and how much should we stand up for ourselves and say, “This is who I am, love me or leave me”?
I think the number one thing I’ve been thinking about, of all those questions, is the line between parts of myself that can, and should, change, and parts of myself that are inherent to who I am and my personality. Is my ‘rate of growth’ inherent to who I am? If I am a slow, cautious, guarded person by nature, should I stay that way, protecting who I am, or should I see if I can change that, and try more things at once and see where that gets me? I’ve always struggled with this. What parts of me are changeable, and which are not? Are there any parts of me that are unchangeable?
I have been on a search for betterness: having a stronger, better faith; being better at my faults (stubbornness, pride, procrastination); being better at opening myself up to people. But how much time should we allot for bettering ourselves? I’ve always been of the persuasion that we should be patient with ourselves, and have grace, but I also know I’m prone to having too much grace, too much patience, and consequently, not much gets done. Sometimes, do we need to just jump all in to the new change? If we are waiting for people to change, when they say they want to, how much time do we give them before we say, “Well, are you ever going to do something about this or are you only going to keep talking about it?” When does grace run out? Can patience and hope continue on indefinitely? Should we expect them to? When does support for someone’s journey turn into enabling them to stay where they’re at? Is enabling always up to one person, or can unconditional support simply be taken advantage of? Do we still offer it, even if it is?
For me, it really all comes down to the question of what parts of ourselves are able to be changed (and should) and what parts of ourselves are simply inherent to our personality and should be protected? Thoughts?
P.S. I want to be clear, I don’t ever think we should change simply for another person. But, when someone shows you something about yourself that could be bettered, I resolutely think we should consider what they are bringing to us. And, if change does need to occur, we should do it because we want to, not because the other person wants us to; to do otherwise would be disingenuous.