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Remember, growing might feel like breaking at first.

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Growth is a wonderful thing, but it often comes along with some discomfort. You may have heard the term, “growing pains” before, which usually refers to aches and pains in the legs of children as they are undergoing a phase of rapid physical growth and development.

While most of your physical growth may have concluded by now, growing pains can also come along with intellectual, emotional, and spiritual growth. In order to grow and expand in these areas, there may be certain things that need to be healed and released first.

You might have already experienced periods of intense struggle and sacrifice that tested your inner strength, tenacity, resilience, and resourcefulness. You may have faced moments of crippling insecurity and self-doubt as you learned to fully love and believe in yourself. You may have had to dismantle certain belief systems that were keeping you stuck in self-destructive habits.

These experiences may have felt a lot like you were breaking or falling apart. But looking back on your journey so far, you can hopefully appreciate how much you have gained through these experiences. And while it may not have always been fun or easy, you can see how much they have helped you to expand and grow into a better person.

The cycle of growth is never-ending and will continue for the rest of your life, and it can serve you greatly if you will begin embracing the discomfort of growing pains. While your natural inclination might be to avoid pain and discomfort, you can train your mind to recognize these moments as opportunities for expansion and growth that will benefit you in the end.

One good way to begin this process is to notice when you begin to feel uncomfortable about something, and begin questioning yourself to better understand the beliefs that might be driving your reaction. For example, if you were offered a great new job and your first reaction was nervousness and doubt, you might ask yourself, “Why do I feel this way? What about this opportunity makes me feel nervous? Which beliefs about myself could be preventing me from moving forward?”

Asking questions like these can reveal some surprising answers. You might suddenly recall hearing stories about people who became very successful and then, through a series of misfortunes lost their wealth and became destitute, so you now hold the belief that it’s better to play small and not take risks. Or you might become aware that you feel unsure about your ability to handle the responsibilities of the new position. Whatever insights come to mind, you can then begin challenging them.

Ask yourself further questions such as, “Just because other people have struggled and failed, does that mean that I must too? Even if I doubt my ability to do a good job, am I capable of learning and getting better at what I do?” Very often, when you question your limiting beliefs and self-doubt in this way, they lose substance and fall apart because they are usually illogical and were formed long ago in reaction to something you heard, read, or experienced.

As you continue to shed old beliefs and step into new possibilities, you will come to recognize and even embrace your growing pains, simply because you will understand that they are temporary and always lead to something better.

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