Have you noticed that just when you think you are making solid forward progress in terms of your personal growth and well-being that you seem to falter, spin your wheels, and even move backward for a time? Just when it seems that you have internalized the positive self-talk and you are stepping into your inner strength and power, the old tapes start playing the familiar refrain of self-doubt and you feel yourself losing your positive momentum. Uncertainty arises, old fears resurface, and you question the progress you thought you were making.
I have been considering this over the past few days as I have experienced yet another “spinning of my wheels.” When we experience the same old doubts and fears that we have struggled with for years, I suggest that it is quite normal to question whether real growth has taken place. From a close vantage point, it might seem that we are right back where we started. However, when we step back and consider our growth from a more objective perspective, we know that we have progressed. We know that we have grown stronger inside and that we are making positive progress.
When I think of personal growth and healing, I picture an inner street sweeper. Each time we experience a set-back, the roller encounters more debris from our past — debris that can hold us back. As we seem to spin our wheels and question our growth, our inner street sweeper picks up that layer of debris and flings it out and away. We release it and continue to move forward, growing in inner strength and self-love. What we have to remember is that we have accumulated a lot of debris from our past — layers and layers of it. We can’t release all of it at one time. Releasing it and letting it go is a process that happens layer by layer.
We may feel that we have regressed, and we may experience disappointment, and even disillusionment, as we stumble and fall, but each time we do, we lift up a layer of debris that holds us back and we release it. It isn’t that we are moving backward. We hit pause for a moment and do some more inner cleaning.
Have you noticed that you always move forward again after a seeming setback? As you move forward, you are lighter within because you have cleaned and released yet another layer that only serves to weigh you down. You also move forward with greater inner strength because you didn’t stay caught in the past. You experienced the pain and self-doubt again, but you stayed only a short time before taking a deep breath, refocusing, and moving forward on your journey of personal growth.
Cleaning the debris of the past is a process that takes time. We encounter seeming set-backs and we experience glorious surges of forward growth when we stand strong within our sense of self and well-being. Do not become disillusioned when you stumble and fall. Keep your focus on your overall journey, for it will continue in a forward direction. It is taking you on the journey of your life, and every stumble from which you recover and every hurdle you overcome builds your inner strength and resolve.
When you re-encounter debris from your past, recognize that sweeping away one more layer is part of the process. You are truly on your way!