You know the saying, “just be yourself?” And you’re aware of the potentially contradictory one that says, “to grow, we must stretch ourselves?” Which one is right for you? Can we follow both? Maybe we might consider intermingling the two of them in some sort of cyclical dynamic balance.
I’m a Psychologist and a Leadership Coach. It seems to me that some of my clients do better with gentle understanding and nurturing. While others are in a space for challenging themselves. I can accommodate both supportive counseling and the other, typically coaching leadership, high-performance, or emotional intelligence. Sometimes, both are best combined into a cyclical event. Where are you right now?
Great advice to keep in mind as a daily mantra. It’s a close cousin to “being in the moment.” Let our authenticity shine; it will distinguish us and allow us to be better recognized.
As a youth, one of my teachers told the class that if we were to be competitive, we would do well to be ourselves. Apparently, we had the potential to be great as ourselves, but only mediocre as someone else. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love to get recognized. It’s a real ego boost, to be sure. And would I like to be great? If we’re anything at all alike, we’ve been making an effort in this way all our lives.
What’s you’re preference? Would you prefer to receive soft, gentle nurturing, or are you in a space to be challenged? “To grow, we must stretch ourselves.” This reminds me that when life gets challenging, I can accept the challenge as a hurdle to be surmounted. However, it’s not necessarily an obstacle that holds me back.
The same challenge can also be seen as an opportunity to grow, change, and evolve. I can become a better, more improved version of myself. For as long as we live, we will never reach the pinnacle of life. We’ll always have further to climb. But, we can always refine who we are becoming, what we do, and how we express ourselves. That is one great gift that life gives all of us.
Let’s say we’re looking to receive soft, gentle nurturing right at this very moment. Then we need to turn towards the light as plants turn towards the sunlight. We all have an inner light. I might remind myself that I will care for myself, be my own best friend. Although, I might give myself the time to nap mid-afternoon if I’m still tired.
And still, I might allow myself many luxuries that I personally value or provide meaning to me. Even turning towards one or more others in my life who make me feel well or loved. For example, reach out to a friend who looks forward to spending time with you. Sometimes one of the nicest things I can do for myself is to be kind to myself and then do something for someone else.
Personal growth seems to be an essential component of the human experience. I believe that it’s fundamental to maturity and success. But we have to be ready for it, or it will be more difficult than is necessary.
Since we don’t seem to be able to avoid growth experiences. What happens when we consider selecting our growth opportunities before they select us. Will we gain power and control of our lives by alternating between these two strategies. “Be Yourself” and “Stretch Yourself to Grow.” Should we cycle through one then the other, at a comfortable pace and determined by us?