Here we are at the end of a very intense and historic year and at the start of a brand new one. Many of us will spend time reflecting on what type of growth and changes we want to implement in the year to come.
How Does Growth Happen?
Are you the same person you were 5 or 10 or 20 years ago? No, because you have learned from your life experiences. A plant grows continuously, a little each day, but for us, growth is more of a staccato process; we gain sudden insights into our own behavior. They may be big or small, but once seen, they are not forgotten, even though it may take a number of realizations before new behavior takes hold.
These changes accumulate until they are so numerous that our whole relationship with the world has to change, too, and this can be a confusing and uncertain time. It is like a crustacean who grows until his shell, his defense against the world, is too constricting and must be discarded, leaving him free but vulnerable until another shell forms.
When we make a break through such as changing how we relate to our partner, family, money or strangers, there is a similar period of adjustment while we come to see the world in this new way.
Growth needs bravery. It is venturing into the unknown, exposing yourself in ways that you have formerly protected, taking risks that you used to avoid.
Real growth and change require openness and a willingness to enter an area of vulnerability. Openness is required because we need to allow change to occur and to stand ready to make space and embrace it. Vulnerability occurs when we peel away layers and replace them with newness and growth.
This year let’s support each other & be open to the changes that create growth #quote #relationships Click To TweetIn order to be in a successful relationship and go through this kind of change, it takes two strong individuals who have a real sense of themselves. But two strong individuals are liable to clash repeatedly. This can be avoided by practicing full acceptance. (We’ve written about this here and here.) In a peaceful relationship, you have to feel free to be vulnerable and effect change without needing to defend yourself. You need to feel supported as the unique person you are and supported in the changes and growth you go through without your partner feeling threatened and without you feeling any need for defense.
This is a wonderful way to move into the New Year with your partner, with both of you supporting change and neither of you feeling challenged by it.
A Tale of Two Individuals
At lunch the other day, a woman friend of ours was describing how she came to understand this and embrace it with her husband. When they were first dating, he told her that he was never going to put a woman ahead of himself in a relationship; he was first going to take care of himself and then be able to do that with his partner. She wondered about this and asked herself if this was a red flag, and whether she should perhaps get out of this before it developed any further. Well, she decided not to withdraw, and realized after some time that this was a wonderful and freeing way of being together. They would each take care of themselves and their own development and they would support each other in doing that – two strong individuals working together in partnership. Many years later, she is still marveling at how important this understanding has been to them and how peaceful and cooperative their relationship is as a result.
At this beginning of a New Year, let us remember to support each other and be willing to open up to the changes that create growth.