The other day I saw this quote: "You have to allow yourself to grow."
At first glance, I thought of the words as obvious. Of course we grow and are happy to! But after a few moments, I had a different thought.
No we don't. Not all the time.
As children, we didn't give much thought to growing. We grew constantly. We were always learning new words, new facts and new skills. We were always making new friends, trying new activities and exploring new areas.
All the while we were physically growing too. One day our favorite pair of pink, sparkly jelly shoes didn't fit anymore -- I still remember this vividly. One day our pants were too short, our shirt too tight.
But it didn't matter. We somehow didn't think much of all this change. We simply allowed ourselves to grow. There was no other choice. Part of it was due to nature. The other part was due to expectation.
We were told growing was part of growing up. We were expected and pushed to grow. And so we did.
We grew with a ferociousness towards life. We wanted to be bigger, be older, be wiser, to know it all and be able to do it all. We couldn't wait for what was next and celebrated every new milestone -- however small they were.
Somewhere in the middle of childhood and adulthood though, something shifted.
Somewhere along the way, we began to associate growing with fear.
Today, growing often means changing and for a lot of us, change is hard.
After all, what if we make the wrong choice? Do the wrong thing? What if we grow in the wrong direction, missing somewhere else we are supposed to be?
And some of us fear getting older, growing into new years and decades--instead of embracing the gift of life and being grateful for the opportunity to keep on growing.
There are so many choices to make, people to embrace, different directions to explore, that we sometimes become paralyzed by it all.
Growing can be hard and so sometimes, yes, we don't allow ourselves to.
We like the idea of stillness, of nothing moving, nothing shifting. It feels safer that way. After all, if we are not moving, we can't possibly make a misstep.
While stillness is occasionally required, and can be exactly what we need for a bit, it's not realistic to think we will live this way all the time.
Whether we like it or not, we must keep on going; we must keep on growing.
Sometimes it's better to not get bogged down by the limitless choices, and just make one--any single one. Sometimes it's better to not weigh the pros and cons, and simply follow what our heart and intuition tells us.
Sometimes it's simply better to grow, rather than stunt and delay our inevitable progress--our inevitable fate.
Sometimes we simply have to give thanks this is a struggle we are blessed enough to have.
I want us to go back to the carefree days of our childhood. And since that's not really possible, I want us to adopt that carefree feeling whenever possible. I want us to remember the thrill and excitement growing brought us. I want us to approach our days with a thirst and hunger to see it all, to do it all, and to be it all.
I want us to grow in any direction, trusting that life is unfolding as it should and that we are growing exactly as we're meant to.
Allow yourself to grow.
You'll never discover what's waiting for you just beyond your comfort zone, if you don't.
This post was originally featured on universeletters.com