Whenever people talk about growth, I always envision the end product.
The final moment, when you can see how much you improved. The shiny 'before and after' shots. The day when your workout actually doesn't kill you. Or when you throw together an essay and get a really good grade without thinking much about it.
But here's what I've realized: that definition of growth has set me up for failure.
It's led me to believe that I'm not growing, because I don't have those shiny moments very often. But the problem isn't me not growing. The problem is I'm not recognizing what growth actually looks like.
The actual definition of growth isn't very comfortable. And it certainly isn't shiny. Growth is pain, or at least sore muscles. It's found in your day-to-day, not just the days of the Big Test or the Big Show. Other people see your growth when you're having conversation with your best friends...not when you're presenting or polishing a perfect post.
Yesterday, I yelled and cried a lot because I was feeling overwhelmed. The past few weeks have been crazy...and they're going to stay crazy for a while longer. I was feeling overwhelmed because I haven't been getting my hours at work 'right (either waaaayy too many...so no time for other stuff...or way too few....and no money...), there's been ice time issues, I'm behind in my French class, and really struggling with some other classes. On top of it, I have a cold, which makes everything un-enjoyable.
But behind all the overwhelm, the deeper issue is that I so often feel inadequate. Like I'm not doing good enough at anything. I believe that the only reason I'm not exactly where I want to be, is that I'm not working hard enough or trying hard enough.
It's like when I switched to from group skating lessons to private lessons when I was 13. For a couple years after, I felt so inadequate every time I practiced. I was a bit of a late-bloomer to the private-lesson world, and while I don't regret anything about how I've pursued skating, it definitely made some things harder. I wanted so badly to be good, but I knew I wasn't. It didn't really help that my coach had one amazing skater about my age who was just ridiculously good (nothing against her. I've never met anyone kinder or harder working), but it was hard footsteps to follow. I felt so frustrated and insecure every after every practice. Now, don't get me wrong...I loved skating. But it was because I loved it, and wanted it so bad, that I felt so terrible when I couldn't deliver.
At the time, I couldn't see improvement. But looking back, I really was working hard and growing. My footwork--previously non-existent--became fairly solid. My jumps got really high. I learned so, so many new spins. I started doing real routines. I tested. And, after awhile, I gained confidence in my own skating. I started to feel strong and powerful on the ice. And I laid the groundwork for where skating has brought me today.
The thing is, we're usually the last to fully understand what we're doing. I know I never realize when I'm out straight. Where others see us putting a lot on our plates, we see unfinished to-do lists. Where others see us trying our best and getting back up, we see ourselves falling again.
But we (myself included!) need to give ourselves a break. I've been so upset thinking I'm not doing enough or being enough. But the thing is, I'm not always going to feel perfectly confident or comfortable. The point is to keep going, keep smiling, keep the faith. Because growing pains are a part of life. And eventually, they fade. :)
Happy Weekend! And Happy Easter! xoxo
PS-Unrelated, but I've been joining Deanna for a 30 Day Disney Challenge! She's posting every day over on her blog, and I'm joining in on tumblr! Check it out! :)