Risks of Personal Growth
I’m not going to sugar coat it. Personal growth work can give you profound transformations of self-awareness, consciousness, heart openness, connection, enlightenment, and much more. But when you go for truth, you’ll also become more aware of it. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
When you begin to dig under the surface, some less-than-desirable aspects of yourself may bubble up, leaving you with two unpleasant choices. You can either bury them back down out of sight (for now), or you can be your true self and fully embrace your humanness, imperfections and all.
After a time, you may realize that you’ve been the architect of your life all along and your self-image, relationships with others, and you’ve built the infrastructure of your life on layers of this stuff. And when you start the transformational work of cleaning up your act, some structures of your life may begin to wobble, crack, or even come crashing down.
Your life is a reflection of who you are in the face of your external circumstances. As you change, your thoughts, feelings, and actions will also change in response to life’s events and so will the structures and results you get.
Change, by definition, can have a destabilizing effect on your life. It can undermine your sense of calm and certainty until new structures are built and secured in response to who you are becoming.
Not for the faint of heart
But don’t worry. It’s a natural process of evolution.
It’s essential for you to understand some of the risks with doing personal growth work ahead of time so that, if you choose to continue on this path, we can manage the process of change and reduce or avoid its negative impacts.
Here is a sampling of real-life examples of what I’m talking about. They are from a combination of what I’ve experienced and observed in the field.
- You might become disenchanted by dreams you’ve been pursuing vigorously.
- You might realize that you’ve been busting your butt for decades in a soul-crushing career and now you want to quit, causing you to become dysfunctional at your job or business and lose all your money and assets.
- You might realize that you are in the wrong relationship and want out.
- You might realize that your family dynamics are nuts and become unable to go along with the status quo.
- You might realize that the noble causes you’ve been fighting for were a giant ego trip for you to feel good about yourself.
- You might realize that all the people you’ve been blaming for your life are not the real cause of your suffering.
- You might realize that you have much less control over things
thanyou thought and you’re much more vulnerable than you thought.
- You might realize that you’re just not that special and the world will continue after your dead and forgotten.
- You might realize that your friends to are just people whos shit you put up with to avoid being alone.
- You might realize that you’ve been lying to yourself about any number of things.
- You might realize that buying more stuff won’t make you any happier and you’re just a habitually miserable person.
- You might realize that life isn’t so “complicated” and you’ve been putting up with crazy shit and drama for way too long.
- You might realize that your deep insecurity, low self-esteem, and need for attention keep you from making hard decisions that could move your life forward.
- You might realize that you’ve been sabotaging your happiness.
- You might realize that you are manipulative and abusive and have been taking advantage of other people’s weakness for your benefit.
- You might realize that your attempts at “being a nice person” are a facade you use to cover for you being a raging asshole.
- You might realize that you’ve been deluding yourself with all that “positive thinking” and that underneath, you’re terrified to stand in the shitty truth.
- You may become obsessed with personal growth work, give up your power to some charismatic leader, get drawn into a cultish community, and have it take over your life.
- You might realize that despite your best intentions, you were an ill-equipped parent and had passed intergenerational trauma onto your children, cursing them with years of therapy.
- You might realize that you have been a spoiled, unappreciative prick to your parents who sacrificed so much to give you a good life.
On the bright side
These risks (and more) may threaten to tear apart the exterior fabric of your life. There is no guarantee of when something better will take its place. But with the right support and guidance, you can create opportunities to ground yourself in truth, heal the wounds and learn to accept yourself, others, and all of life.
Like getting a chiropractic adjustment, you will be able to realign your life and live it on terms more congruent with the truth of who you are.
One thing is sure, if you stay on this path, the veils of falsehood will begin to dissolve – sometimes slowly and sometimes suddenly- and your effulgent Self will shine forth with radiant splendor.
This journey is a discipline. And as a practitioner of that discipline, you will walk the path of truth, step-by-step, moment-to-moment for as long as you wish.
You will make new choices and take further actions which will, in turn, restructure your life and change the world.
As a yoga instructor once told me, “it doesn’t necessarily get easier… but you get better.”
It’s nice to see you on the path.
Where do you want to go next?