1. in order to grow, you must first explode.
this is essential to any kind of personal growth. you must be forced to understand your limits (as a physical being or otherwise) or society’s limits. this process is the worst part… it can manifest as a painful realization of “oh, I don’t think I was meant for this…” or an angrier “i was NOT built for this.” this can be quitting a job, ending a project, or asserting yourself with someone who isn’t respecting your boundaries. this stage feels like the most disruptive kind of destruction—but you must remind yourself that this is the only way to start rebuilding. cry, scream, paint, write; i find that using ways to express yourself in more colorful ways than just speaking helps at this stage.
2. accept your calling to grow, and release what is not in your control.
now it’s time to start making a plan. you’ve been thrown for a loop, the wind knocked out of you. now what? you must dream. take this time to recover, plan for the future, and focus on yourself. get to know what you are like at this stage of the process. so you didn’t get what you wanted, or you experienced a harsh dose of reality… what did it teach you? what skills did you learn? how can you feel better about yourself because of your response, or would you have responded differently? did you need to experience this to become a better version of yourself, to grow? listen to old playlists, read old diary entries, look at old pictures. anticipate every good thing that will come of this period of growth.
this is the most critical part of the process. now that you’ve developed a plan to move forward, you must evaluate what you can do to be in touch with yourself as you grow. creating a self-care plan (that’s balanced well with whatever work you choose to do) is a foolproof way to do this. after spending time—perhaps more than you’d like–predicting what someone else wants, set aside time to ask yourself what it is you want. is it a homemade latte and a book? is it a movie? blasting a new album at full volume in an empty apartment? a nap? (note: sometimes getting something material, like a manicure or a spa treatment, can help you find time to look within, beyond your physical appearance. it may sound counter-intuitive, but trust me—it works.) an essential last step of this process is the reflection that goes along with healing, i.e., when you are healed, who will you become?