Inner growth… on a personal note
I often wonder about inner growth. How do we actually know if we are growing; can inner growth be measured?
If the answer is yes, then what are the metrics for different aspects of growth? Let’s take for example the way in which we relate to each other on a day to day basis.
- Affection: caring about something we didn’t care about before could imply a growing into, whereas no longer being affected by something could constitute a growing out of.
- Connection: experiencing a sense of growth through the quality of our interactions. A levelling of the playing field that lets us to look eye to eye, and see beyond ourselves.
- Gratitude: a warm smile, freely given and received as nourishment; an honest recognition of each other as a step on the path of inner growth.
- Vulnerability: growing past our fears and into a heart-space, from where we are more likely to experience the world as a kind place.
The question that follows is then: can we grow into a perspective that is wider than ourselves? Do we stretch our limits and reach out in a random act of generosity and engage in a giving exchange … by which I specifically mean:
Can we give each other the benefit of the doubt?
It is possible that inner growth asks us to lower our defence mechanisms, let our guard down and relate to one another from the shared belief that nothing is personal; thus softening our encounters.
I was taught there were two magic words that would open all doors, including the doors of the heart, and hence grew up believing that please and thank you were the equivalent of Ali Baba´s “open sesame”.
Truth be told, they worked quite well for a while but as I moved around the world I discovered that their “magic” was conditioned by culture, origin, personal history, and all the rest.
Not everyone knew their meaning. Even more so, and much to my surprise, I realised that some people were negatively impacted by these words, regarding them as superfluous and unnecessary. So, although I learned to hold them back I could not let them go and instead brought them into silence, allowing their energy to remain at the surface of my invisible skin, where they regained their gentle magic power.
In time I understood that more than words, it is the actual internal consideration of the other that gives me a sense of inner movement which I call growth.
This movement guides my intention and stretches the muscles of my consciousness, urging me to continue to reach for the sometimes elusive loving perspective.
It is not easy. There have been moments I’ve had to bite my lip so hard it brought blood to taste and made tears stream down from my eyes. But that is okay, I persist, even when the act of holding back and extending a gesture of consideration is taken as a sign of weakness.
Is this growth; is it even an approximation towards inner growth? How am I to know? All I can say is, challenging as it may be, at the end of the day it helps me live and contribute to a world that extends far beyond myself, and that feels alright.
Mariana for OutreachMedia