Good morning Wild Ones!
So this last school year was a hard one for me. The school work was hard, but more than anything, life itself was hard. Not hard like broke-and-sad hard but more like never-quite-adjusting hard. I’ve spoken a number of times about the drifting feeling that I was constantly fighting. I would adjust a bit, only to realize that I still wasn’t where I wanted to be. This year, more than even amazing grades, my goals were all surrounding getting myself together. I imagined that once I got myself together, everything else would come together naturally.
I wanted so badly to grow!
But after my school year finished, I had to seriously sit down and ask myself ‘Had I grown?’. Silently and ashamedly, I replied ‘no’. I had not. I changed, but I did not grow. A different person, but not better nor worse. I wasn’t kinder. I wasn’t bolder. I wasn’t more focused. I wasn’t more driven. I wasn’t more fit. I was not more of anything I wanted to be although a year of being pushed out of my comfort zone had passed.
Nearing the end of the school year, my big goal was an Afro-European tour for the summer. I imagined an Eat-Pray-Love moment to make up for my year of stagnancy. God blocked all of my plans, and I’ve found myself back in my hometown of Alabama instead. Although I had no intentions of being back home for so long, I am so grateful that I did end up staying. Surprisingly, Alabama gave me my Eat-Pray-Love moment.
I realized the faultiness of memory and that it was unfair to determine if I had grown or not only based on the memory generated in my apartment in DC. When I came home, I soon realized just how much I had grown. I was kinder,more focused, and more driven. I cannot say that I became bolder or more fit though, but I definitely expanded the reach of my boldness and gained weight lol. Overall, there was growth in every aspect.
I realized that sometimes, if you don’t see growth, it may not be you but rather your vantage point.
Your vantage point may be from a lofty DC apartment while your starting point was a cute little brick home in Alabama. Or maybe your vantage point is your ridiculous expectations. Maybe it’s your family’s legacy. There are so many vantage points that can easily distort how you view your growth, but don’t let it. This journey is a hard one, my dearest Wild One; you deserve to pat yourself on the back for the progress you make.
How to change the vantage point of your growth
1. Change your location
Sometimes you need to leave your vantage point to return to your starting point. You’d be surprised how exaggeratory our memories can be. Returning to your starting point can quickly bring you back to your past reality.
2. Write down a list of your honest expectations
Then, write a list of your starting points for all of your expectations. Make a number line from 0-10 for each expectation. Put your starting point at zero and your expectation at ten. Mark where you are currently between those two points. Realize that any number above zero is growth, so pat yourself on the back and understand that the growth is more important than the expectation. Small consistent growth will take you far past your expectations.
3. Go on a social media hiatus
Sometimes we don’t feel like we’re growing because we see everybody else ‘growing’ so much faster. I say ‘growing’ because social media is a highlights reel, and you may never know anyone else’s low moments or how hard they work to get where they are. It may be growth and it may not be, but either way that has nothing to do with you. It’s cool to have people inspire you, but it can quickly become deleterious to your own growth journey without you even knowing.
Recently, I had to do this myself. I am naturally not a jealous person, but I recently found myself beating myself up because I was tired of being so inspired by everyone and not improving as much as I wanted to. I assumed that because I was not jealous that it was okay. But it wasn’t. You don’t always need to see your goals. It’s okay to live without that burden for a while. That’s what a social media hiatus did for me and can do for you too.
Are you in a struggle between change and growth? Try out these strategies and let me know how they worked on any of my social media platforms (pretty much wildextremities everywhere, but all social media handles are under ‘let’s connect’ section on each blog post) or comment down below. I want to see you guys grow as badly as I want to see myself grow, so be great y’all!