How often should we seek change and growth?
Is there a difference between growth and change? Google says that growth is something that increases in size, has grown, or is growing. And Google says that change is the act or process through which something becomes different, and making someone or something different; altering, modifying. So then, change and growth can be seen as synonyms in some contexts. For example, a flower grows because the season changes. The flower increases in size because the seasons became different. But for people, if someone is different, have they changed or have they grown, or both? Then, of course, growth and change can also not be synonyms. Or, only one was applied. For example, the person who looks different but hasn’t expanded in their mind.
So I wonder, are these processes voluntary or involuntary? Physical growth and change, I think, are involuntary. On the other hand, emotional, mental and spiritual growth can be both, right? Trauma and adverse experiences and contexts make it involuntary; you have to grow and change; otherwise, you might not survive. But mostly, even in contexts where survival is a motivating factor, I think growth/change are voluntary.
So, this very philosophic and existential opening is for me to ask this question: How often should we seek voluntary emotional, mental, and spiritual growth and change?
I believe that growth/change is good and necessary and ensures that stagnancy doesn’t survive. With stagnancy comes complacency. And with complacency comes acceptance of this unacceptable. When we are too comfortable, it’s far easier to stay somewhere bad than it is to leave. A bad job, a tough environment, a relationship: friendship or otherwise. I also think that the motivation for growth/change doesn’t really kick in until we’re adults.
I remember as a teenager, my mum’s best friend came over. The house was a mess. There were dishes in the sink that I could have cleaned, but I didn’t because of mental health and general teenage angst. Why did I have to do it when my siblings could do it too? Anyway, the friend washed the dishes and tidied the kitchen. I remember telling her thank you, I appreciate it. She told me she did it so my mum wouldn’t have to. I remember the blush that heated my skin and the shame. What I remember the most from that interaction was when I said to her that living in this house felt like groundhogs day, year after year. She denied that. Of course. She said that every day was different, and things were always changing.
From that day, I’ve never had a good opinion of her. Because she talked to me as an adult as though I was an adult and not a youth. Placed pressure on me that I should have cleaned the dishes. But what she hadn’t seen was the majority of the week until that day, I had cooked and cleaned and exhausted myself going to school. The killer part was that she knew what was happening in my family because she was my mum’s closest confidant. The reasons things changed for her was because she was not like my family and I. She didn’t have the same burdens that my family did. And, she had autonomy that comes with being an adult but not with being a youth.
But we shouldn’t just seek growth/change to avoid stagnancy and complacency. We should seek it because we exist on a ball in the middle of a Universe. Isn’t that petrifying and beautiful? There are hundreds of different explanations about why we exist and how we got here. Should we not then grow/change to experience every little thing? If we stay in one country, we only experience that one country. If we never change the channel, we miss out on other shows and other content interpretations.
I know that in this century, especially with the pandemic, life seems really hopeless. It feels, in a way, that people are robbed of life. Because the most valuable thing we have is time. There is no quantifiable number to total the value of time. Time is as precious and sacred as the Universe. But even as it feels hopeless, like another groundhogs day stuck inside, lockdown every other week, there is also a sense of newness. More appreciation for every moment we have.
I think that even though we are all divided by politics, religion, beliefs, and income brackets, there is a core curiosity of each other that will always win out over laws and regulation. A shackle on someone’s freedom is a shackle on us all. And I think that majority of us have involuntarily grown/changed this past year and a half because it is madness that we should exist to work. And it is madness that those in charge globally don’t seem to care about our time and experience.
I don’t have the answer for how to transcend capitalism and imperialism. But I do know that there is a fire that burns so ferociously inside of me these days that the moment it is safe and ethical to do so, I will experience and explore all that I can on this ball in the middle of the Universe. Whatever that may look like.
How often should we seek voluntary growth/change? I think the answer is quite often. It would be nice if we all were born on this planet at the same baseline for human rights. But that isn’t how it is. I don’t think we all want to be politicians and lawmakers. However, I think there is great power in personal empowerment that can only come from voluntary growth/change.
For me, this voluntary growth/change is reading more, listening to my brother’s music recommendations, wearing clothes outside of my comfort zone, and my daily mental health routine.
Cheers to exploring, growing, and changing.
Let it come to us in ways that feed our souls.
Tea of the day – I had a cappuccino.
Stay safe, be kind, and feel free to reach out below!
With love and eternal optimism,