Growing into maturity toward adulthood is challenging and uncomfortable. I love the following two quotes as they seem to describe the process well:
“If there is a way to ‘better’, it extracts a full look at the worst.” (Irvin Yalom)
“In order to arrive at what you are not, you must go through the way in which you are not.” (T. S. Eliot, Four Quartets)
1. Change launches us into unfamiliar territory and growth takes us out of our comfort zones. Our “comfort zone” is often developed out of a childhood role or a “childlike” way of thinking which is how we coped in childhood but does not serve us well in adulthood.
2. It is uncomfortable to confront our own weaknesses within ourselves as well as accept them in our spouses. We would rather defend ourselves and not admit that we have faults or go the opposite extreme and hate ourselves for having weaknesses. Like Adam and Eve in the Garden, we naturally want to blame others for our pain. Growth must involve a new-found capacity to integrate good and bad within ourselves and others; that is, to learn to accept both the strengths and weaknesses within ourselves and others.
3. Present day hurts within marriage or adult relationships often involve triggers. Those close to us often make us feel unpleasant feelings like what we felt long ago in our families of origin. These old feelings fuel our current feelings and we overreact without seeing the connection to our past pain. The unproductive result is that we focus on the present and get angry or withdraw from our spouse or close relationships for making us feel bad.
4. Sadly, we usually don’t see the need for growth or seek help until we are in pain.
More next week, thanks for listening.
Milan & Kay