Posted by: eileenandrory | September 26, 2010

Growth

Growth.

Personal Growth.

When we are children growth seems such an inevitable thing.  Something that just happens, and to help us along the way there is the physical proof of it.  Our clothes seem to shrink over a season, our parents dutifully mark our height down against the wall and we can gradually see over the bench and put our feet on the floor when we go to the toilet.  When we are teenagers growth seems to come in the form of the loosening of boundaries – we push out and find out what we can and cannot do, what the limits of our mind and body is.

So, when is it that we stop growing?  Do people stop growing?  It is said that older people start to shrink, get smaller, do we lose what we have gained?  Do we forget how to grow?  Or do we simply forget to learn?  I have met many people whom I would consider to be thought-stunted.

It is said that personal growth can come from pain.  If that were true, and it were true in the physical sense then I would have to be an Amazon by now.  I wonder how many people keep trying to learn, keep finding the lesson in the chaos and learning truths about themselves that were always there, but simply buried under a pile of shit.  Sometimes those truths are easy to look at, and other times we put them back, let them compost a little longer till they turn into something useful.  How often do you turn your compost over?

I learnt a long time ago that I have high standards.  I have also learnt that if I wish to keep these high standards then I need to be prepared for the flak that these high standards cause me.  Each time my beliefs and my standards are called into question then it causes me a lot of grief and pain, and unfortunately I seem to be one of those souls who just can’t let it rest.   A while ago a friend said something to me that challenged the root of my value system.  She was making a value judgement about the way Rory and I chose to bring up our children and this statement deserved to be reacted to.  The truth of the matter was that she had been making this statement for a long time and this time was not only more pointed than all the other times, but it shocked me with the manner and directness of it’s judgement.

I was gobsmacked.  I quite honestly did not know how to react.  What this woman was saying, in a nutshell, was that she believed that I was bringing up my children with no moral foundation.  The sad thing was that her children and my children were good friends.  The more I sat and pondered this thought the more I found it incompatible with my life.  This woman was truly suggesting that she thought I was immoral.  I don’t actually believe for one minute that she even thought through all the ramifications of what she had said, but I do believe that she had spoken from the heart and that she truly believed what she was saying – after all she had been saying it in a round about sort of way for months.

What did I do about it?  I am ashamed to say I did not confront her, then or later.  I simply ignored her.  Despite the fact that we had, and continue to have a common group of friends I cut her off.  I couldn’t look at her in the face when I knew that she was making a judgement, had made a judgement, about me and my family that consigned us, quite literally, to the heathen camp.  My children did not know why they no longer were able to play with her children.  I simply brushed it aside, brushed it under the carpet.   Something all too easy to do when your kids are under 5, like mine were.

I behaved like a teenage girl would with a bunch of girls.  Not admirably, but rather foolishly.   Would I do it again, the same way, now that I look back on the situation?  I hope not.  I hope I would have the bravery to confront her and talk to her about what she said and what she meant.  I still think that I would distance myself from her, because this was a seriously large issue that was never ever going to be resolved between us, but I should have shown her the respect that she did not show me by talking to her about it and letting her know how hurt I was.

Growth.  Yes, I have grown since then, and continue to grow in many different directions.  Growth is painful, growth will hurt because it forces you into a new shape.  Remember the teenagers who stumble in their new bodies or the children that fall when they learn to walk?  We stumble in our new minds each time we are challenged because we have changed the landscape.  Sometimes we are forced into new worlds and are forced to adapt, to grow.   But growth shows us new things about ourselves and allows us to confront the past with new tools and look to the future with hope.

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Responses

  1. Hi, I just came across your blog from KMB and you write with great skill and wisdom. I enjoyed reading this and am sorry you experienced that from someone you considered a friend, but good for you in moving on and growing from it x

    • Thanks Sarah 🙂 it’s great to join the KMB community – sometimes it’s hard to find a place to know where to fit in!! I’m not really the Mummy who writes about preserving, making clothes and other crafts (although I do do some of those things!) it’s more my style to write about thoughts, and I plan to do a lot more of it – so please do come back soon.


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