Recently, I was meeting with another additional needs parent and we were catching up on each other’s lives. She was telling me about her life’s challenges. When I shared with her my perspective, that she was going through some growing pains it gave her a new appreciation and lighter perspective.
When we think of growing pains we think of it as something a young child or an adolescent experience. We never stop and think as adults that we would be going through growing pains. What comes with growing pains is discomfort. Children and adolescents experience their bones elongating, their muscles and ligaments stretching hormones changing and emotional imbalance as their bodies are shifting. There’s an awkward clumsiness that also comes along with these growing pains because there’s an adjustment period that happens to and for all individuals as they adjust to their new height.
Just the same happens for adults. It’s different because it’s not physical, but rather emotional, psychological and spiritual and oftentimes all at once. We know we are going through growing pains as an adult when we are presented a situation in which our status quo is no longer acceptable. That in order to proceed or move ahead, we need to change our behavior, our attitude or the way that we relate to others and/or to ourselves. This realization creates discomfort for us because sometimes we don’t know what it is that we’re supposed to shift towards. We don’t know how to relate and it is in that trepidation, in that unknowing, that we are experiencing our own growing pain. Hence we experience our own emotional instability and awkwardness.
Here’s how I’ve gotten through those moments. I recognize that in the times that everything is smooth going it is easy and enjoyable. It allows me to rest and it allows me to digest life. And then come those uncomfortable moments where I realize I am struggling. During those times I have to reflect back to the moments of ease. I realize that in order to enjoy the sweetness of life, there needs to be some sour. Truly when reflecting, think about it, we are never proud of ourselves for those moments when it’s smooth sailing. When we reflect back to the moments that we are most proud of ourselves, it is always in those moments that we didn’t know how we would make it. During these tumultuous times we feel unstable or uncertain in either ourselves, or our surroundings or both and we are consistently trying to find our balance. These are our growth spurts that when we reflect upon them, provide us much nourishment in the form of love and pride for ourselves and those around us.
Please, when experiencing your next growth spurt, recognize and embrace it. Although it may feel rather difficult, remember my favorite phrase: this too shall pass!