In theory, we get better as we age. As we gain experience and learn about ourselves and the world around us, we grow and mature.
Throughout life, there are important lessons that help us grow up. These might be painful, or frustrating, or fun, or joyous. The important thing is that we learn a lesson, or gain some new insight.
Is there a particular moment or occasion that helped you become a better person? What experience helped you grow?
Related questions: What makes you you? How have you changed? What was the best time in your life? What are you the most proud of?
2 thoughts on “What Experience Helped You Grow?”
Affording myself kindness, patience, and understanding.
Dealing with Anxiety and Depression is part of my reality. I have learned and grown so much from visits with my current therapist. The following is a slightly revised and truncated post from a mental health blog I keep, “Prone to Hope,” on just one of the lessons she has taught me.
“Michael, why can’t you show yourself the same kindness, patience, and understanding you would afford someone else experiencing Anxiety or a panic attack?”
A lump started growing in my throat. I was almost ready to start sobbing.
My therapist looked at me with a facial expression conveying, “That was not a rhetorical question.”
Me with a cracking voice, “Because I want to present the best me possible.”
“In those moments, Michael, maybe that is your best!”
More silence as I tried to both wrap my head around the lesson while trying to wiggle myself out and still expect more.
The immediately-following conversation is hazy to me. All I can say is that she talked about how I process things intellectually, physically, and emotionally. My reflections are well thought out in the intellectual and physical sense. But emotionally, I have to be okay with not always winning against Anxiety in private and in public.
In other words, there’s a certain integrity I need to afford myself — affording myself “integrity” seems like the wrong word since it’s usually presented as a responsibility. What I mean is that I need to find a way to show integrity and congruence: If I believe certain things are acceptable for others who suffer from Anxiety, I have to find ways to think the same for myself.
Feel free to check out “Prone to Hope” (www.pronetohope.com) for one person’s perspective on how to deal with Anxiety and Depression. I keep the blog to:
• process my own experiences;
• help others who suffer know they are not alone in the struggle;
• fight the stigma attached to mental illnesses; and,
• give people who don’t suffer from Anxiety and Depression at least one perspective about what it’s like.
Anytime I have challenged myself or have had a challenging situation thrust upon me by life, it has helped me grow.
For example, as a child we moved multiple times (6x) so my siblings and I had to change neighborhoods and schools a lot. It was challenging particularly as I got older and closer to adolescences but untimely it instilled an ability to adapt to change and not fear it.
Another example is when I challenged myself to apply to Grad School and move to Boston for this. Enhancing my education and establishing a career has been priceless even though it WAS painfully priceY! It helped me “grow” into a far more confident, independent woman-and doing something I love for work.
In line with what Michael commented about, I am a clinical social worker. It was the challenges in my family history (mental health) that inspired me towards my present day profession. After four generations of Bipolar Illness on my maternal side (and depression on paternal side) , I remember that my mother said it was “poetic justice” that we finally had evolved and now had a clinician in the family.
Lastly, losing my mother suddenly almost 4 years ago has been an extraordinary personal and emotional challenge.. It has helped me grow even stronger and I’m able to be a more empathic friend, spouse, caregiver to my father and brother and professional.
I did not do this all alone-I’ve has amazing people, primarily women to support and inspire me in my life and journey everyday.