As published in Natural Awakenings (http://www.nacentralohio.com/growth-maturation-and-self-appreciation/)
by Ellen Seigel
A person’s desperation to feel better often propels them toward accelerated growth, but a frequent roadblock is clinging to habitual negative thoughts. This often fosters feelings of relief and can be enticing because letting go of old, obsolete and counter-productive thoughts can be challenging. Working to break free into a new growth pattern can ultimately feel like happily walking into the cool ocean of gentle waves on a hot day—soothing, cooling and relieving.
Even after making significant progress, a feeling that one is regressing can occur and be distracting. Like flowers, humans do not grow backwards. Growth progresses from immaturity to maturity. Even when our bodies reach physical maturity, we continue to grow. This growth is reflected in better understanding of ourselves, new experiences, new challenges and a cycle of perpetual learning. Like flowers, we are ever budding, sprouting and maturing. This results in an ability to become more and more discerning and see more nuances, subtleties and aspects of every issue without focusing on superficialities or extremes.
Growth expands both viewpoint and long-range vision—what is seen and how it looks—opening the door to more choices of behavior to undertake. Consciously choosing and expanding focus enables taking an active role in creating experiences and encourages the realization that life’s’ choices are fully controllable, conscious decisions. The failure to choose stems from their belief that they are pawns or victims of random happenings or the activities of others. Many people do not realize that they are still choosing an experience even when not choosing consciously.
Self-appreciation and confidence are also areas that expand with growth. Both induce more freedom to accomplish goals. To appreciate oneself as a masterpiece work of art—with all its variations and subtleties—creates a profound internal confidence and freedom. To improve feelings of self-appreciation, one must let go of demeaning self-judgment and harsh self-criticism by refuting internal negative attitudes. When the inner mental space is cleared, it is easier to view the positive aspects of life.
As we grow into adults, some of the innocence of childhood remains. When negative self-judgment is released, a person can awaken to feelings of self-appreciation and confidence. Even negative experiences contribute value to growth. The sum of all experiences—including negative ones—contributes to a clear connection with one’s true and authentic internal self.
A full appreciation of self and associated life experiences as a work of art is a self-valuing perspective that allows an individual to live in the moment and to live each moment to the fullest. Undertaking a conscious effort to cultivate growth can streamline, accelerate, enrich and simplify the process and position a person as author of the magnificent epic story of their life.