In the southern tip of breathtaking Africa, you will find one of the largest ethnic people called the Zulu.
Sawubona is a famous Zulu greeting that translates to “I see you.”
I see you with my heart, and your heart sees me.
Sawubona, dear reader.
I see you quietly working to build yourself, heal, create new paths, and rebuild old ones. On the days you feel like none of what you do adds up, please know someone understands you. Nothing up close makes sense. It’s when we look from afar that we get to see the whole picture.
Even if growth is a personal journey, one need not be alone all the time. Think of this blog as a good friend.
Most of what I write, I draw from experience. I wouldn’t trade my share of troubles and pain for anything else, but there are things I wish I would have known, things I will be sharing with you in this article.
1. The starting line is a lonely place.
Founder and CEO of Social Chain, Steven Bartlett, tweeted, “The cause of self-development is discipline. The cost of self-development is loneliness.”
The one we all silently fear like a figureless monster we never see coming. Loneliness comes to us all, at some point, when we’re not happy with ourselves or when we feel isolated despite the circle of friends that surround us.
Growth is lonely at the starting line because it is where you leave the familiar and step out of your comfort zone. It is where we learn to find joy in our own company, and eventually discover that alone and lonely are two different things.
2. Don’t be afraid to leave. Be afraid of never going anywhere.
For fourteen years, I stayed within the confines of comfort, played it safe with the people who made me feel like change was something to scowl upon.
When humans are confusing, I turn to nature—the Dungeness crab.
The crab calls the protective barriers of its shell home. It provides a place to belong, just like our relationships. But unlike most humans, the Dungeness crab doesn’t worry about or fight growth. Instead, it welcomes it.
When your circle is too rigid and small-minded to accommodate growth, you shouldn’t fear cutting ties more than you fear being bound.
3. To become a better version of yourself, you have to reflect on the worse version of yourself.
“How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:4)
In biology class, we learned about the concept of “form follows function.” The shape of a body part correlates to how it works.
Since humans don’t have eyes outside their heads, it’s harder to notice our shortcomings and easier to spot the faults of others.
Soon, you will find that growth offers a whole new way of seeing yourself and the people around you. It prods you to look where eyes fail so you can focus more on the things unseen.
There is always more than meets the eye.
4. Questioning your progress is totally normal.
The only thing you need to be wary of is how you react to it. Keep a journal. Take inventory of your days, and account for each one. This way, nothing is lost to the wind.
Questioning your progress can be productive when you deal with it calmly and open-mindedly. It means you’re becoming more aware of where you are and where you want to go, but how far you’ve come should never be forgotten.
5. Support can come from the most unexpected places.
I’m talking about the people who never would have crossed your mind in a million years. The surprise is found where you expect it most because the people you hoped would cheer you on sometimes don’t. And that will always be one hard pill to swallow.
Don’t quit because of them. Keep going in spite of them.
If you’re going through something like this right now, I’m telling you, there isn’t much loss there. Looking at the brighter side, you’re finally making room for what you deserve—these things will find you, or you will find them, regardless of where or who you are in the world. Chin up, dear reader. There is much to look forward to on the road ahead.
How are you?
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Making growth fun and personal!
Always here, Shek ?