Be careful of what you wish for, the saying goes. Once upon a time, in a fit of emotions that included disgust, hope, and perhaps desperation, I wrote the following affirmation:
“The rate at which I grow and learn accelerates day by day.”
The reason it was there was because I’ve suffered from Precocious Kid syndrome. On top of being an insufferable know-it-all, it stopped me from learning some important lessons, some of which plagued me for as long as I could remember. Having clung to the victim mindset for a little over 26 years (like eating bad food and taking bad drugs), that affirmation (and the concept of affirmations, for that matter) changed my life.
It started a sea change in my perception. Over time, my perception changed from “This fucking sucks!” to “How do we change so that it would no longer fucking suck?”
Make no mistake, learning and growing still hurts. Especially for someone as averse to humble pie (another perception I am working to change) as yours truly, every time a valuable lesson appears, it nearly always challenged my Ego (“YOU WERE WRONG, MORON!” Said the Ego to himself) and therefore I hurt every single person who had ever had the bad fortune to care just a little too much about what my actions represented in their world. Sometimes, they cared about me as a person and these are the people I hurt the most.
Dear God, family, friends, enemies, and acquaintances, as I wrote that, I am suddenly overcome by immense remorse for my thoughtless reactions and actions even as I am overcome by gratitude for all the attention and lessons I have ever received. I recognise that you are all my teachers and I would love nothing more than to make all of you, yes, all of you proud. If you were ever in my life, do know that even if I were ever snarky to you because it wasn’t what I wanted to hear at the time, I am grateful now that you braved my negative demeanour to deliver me from ignorance. For that, I wish nothing but the best things in life to you and that I will take what I got from you to make this world a better place.
Anyway, did the rate of growth accelerate indeed. Few are the days that go by where I feel at peace and I am on top of things. Even now, there’s a mix of emotions consisting of a little gratitude, unworthiness, excitement, guilt, anxiety, ungratefulness (Yes, entitlement is an emotion), heartbreak, happiness, and those other feelings that defy articulation. Even as I am grokking what my soul wants right now, I am learning how to make the results of my actions entirely beneficial to the people who, like it or not, depend on me.
It is apparent that I do not fully consider the full ramifications of my actions before I execute them. In fact, that is exactly the reason I am wracked with guilt and remorse every time I am faced with the less desirable fruits of my actions, which I then have to remind myself that this is another lesson that I have to take or become extremely unpleasant to the people around me.
Rambling aside, this is what I meant by curses: I asked for faster growth, and now I get to experience the constant emotional challenges that come with it.
And here’s the thing about self-awareness: Even if you know that the hurt and feels serve a greater purpose, it doesn’t change the fact that it hurts and is extremely unpleasant. And while it is possible to change our perception so that the old triggers do not trigger the emotional responses anymore, there is still the transition period to endure.
Change is instant, yes, but habits take a little longer to break out of.
So, if you are in the middle of your own personal development project and are finding it extremely tough, I salute you because I am also in the middle of my struggle and I can understand your pain. I wish I could say something like “It’ll get better, soon,” or “This too, shall pass,” But we know that those are smug platitudes told by people who either do not know our struggles or have already reached the better place, so I won’t.
Instead, try to enjoy the pain. Exult in the bitterness of humble pie. Take heart for all the times when you tried to break an unpleasant habit but have it reappear and make you feel guilty as fuck for indulging. You are going in the right direction. Eventually, if it is your lesson to learn, you will get through to the other side and when that happens, you might wonder why did it hurt you so in the past.
And if it isn’t, then it is okay too. At least you paid your dues and nothing can take that away from you.