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Laqwanda Roberts-Buckley, MSSW
Currently, I find myself at a stage of tremendous growth as I challenge myself to do more. At times, it is somewhat nerve-racking as I am learning to take on more emotional and mental responsibility for myself and I want to get things just right. I want to avoid having to retake life’s “tests” over again and prevent crashing.
To assist myself, I decided to be proactive versus reactive. I wanted to take preventive measures to assist in ensuring that “crashing” was less likely to occur in the in the first place. I needed to protect my growth which meant also protecting myself.
Now, protecting yourself will mean something different to each person. Since everyone is unique, our personal experiences shape how each of us might approach the matter. Here are a few things that have assisted me in making sure I am shielded and remained balanced during my growth phase.
Creating a peaceful environment. Personal growth can be stressful at moments. Knowing this, I realized that my home needed to feel warm and inviting to myself. I surrounded myself with things that matter to me.
At any given time, I can pull out things such as adult coloring books or play soothing music. I keep the lighting low at night and the television off. I learned how to be with myself in peace. This peaceful environment set the foundation for protecting myself. It provided a quiet, safe retreat that was waiting for me when life was well….life. Giving yourself a retreat from the world when you are being stretched in new directions can assist in minimizing stress and provide you with a safe space to just breathe.
Have a support person. Let’s face it. We all need some level of support here and there. It helps to have a person in your corner cheering you on. More importantly, it’s beneficial to have someone you can vent to and share ideas with.
Remember, this is a time of growth, so a supportive individual who knows you well can assist in identifying the ways in which they have seen you develop. They can also provide insight into how you can improve moving forward. Having a support person present reminds us that we are not going at life alone.
Keep your thoughts positive. Negative self-talk is one of your worse enemies when you are growing as an individual. Your thoughts will attempt to convince you that you are not making enough progress or that you have wasted time by not doing things sooner. In order to combat this, you can challenge the thoughts as they arise and speak positive things about yourself daily.
Thinking positively can be difficult when so many negative thoughts are screaming at you sometimes. To assist in creating more positive thoughts, try saying the opposite of the negative thought out loud to yourself. For example, if the thought is “I am a horrible writer”, then the positive thought or affirmation you say would be “I am a good writer”.
Changing your thoughts takes time. However, each day that you are able to say something affirming about yourself, you are setting the foundation for confidence and future growth.
Let past failures go. We’ve all experienced moments when we did not quite make the mark. It happens to the best of us. However, in order for growth to take place, we have to let the thoughts surrounding those events go. Holding on to these not so great experiences could cause the negative thoughts that you are trying to get rid of to fester.
Now, letting go is a process. It might not happen overnight and there may be some other stages of growth that may need to take place. However, one possible starting place is looking in the mirror or sitting down and saying “I do not have to be perfect”, “I can try again”, “I have the ability to do this”. Remember, growing may require a retest in life sometimes. Although we all want to avoid them, it’s okay if you have to give things another shot.
Take one step, one day at a time. Sometimes we want to just move. We want things done because maybe we are attempting to make up for “lost” time. However, it is during these moments that we must slow down and remember that Rome was not built in a day. Each day is an opportunity for you to learn about another piece of the puzzle. Do not try to rush it. Take your time. You do not want to burn out on your journey.
Stages of growth can be exciting times for yourself and those around you. To ensure it’s a healthy journey, remember to take time to care for yourself by protecting who you are meant to become.
Roberts-Buckley, L. (2019). Protecting Yourself As You Grow. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 31, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/self-care/2019/01/72/