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“Congratulations on breaking out of that dysfunctional pattern. Three years ago, you wouldn’t have made the decisions you’re making now. Celebrate your growth.”

“Grow through what you go through.”

Enchanted Visions II - Sahari Lopez

We spend a lot of time looking at ways to improve ourselves. Sometimes we feel more education can do that for us. Sometimes it’s a change in social circles, or starting a new hobby. We are constantly searching for ways in which we can take the next step in life, and looking for a result that proves our choice was correct. But how often do we spend reflecting on the person that we were, say, three years ago?

It’s never easy to reflect on your past self, and your past choices. You spend time thinking of all the choices that you should have made, and all the ways your life could have turned out differently. We can sometimes look back and regret the choices we made. You spend time thinking about scenarios you would have liked to have done differently, and then you start to picture how your life could have turned out.

It’s hard to answer the “what if” question. “What if I’d done this?”. “What if I’d said that instead?”. You will always hit a brick wall because there is only so far your creative mind can take you before there’s no more paths you could have presented yourself with. So, maybe it’s not about asking what if. Maybe it’s about asking yourself what you have gained from those choices, and those actions.

Maybe you can take a scenario and accept that the way you handled it was the best for you, at that time. But if that scenario happened now, what would you do differently? What you take from that is growth and you celebrate it. It seems an oddity to celebrate your own growth , to congratulate yourself on how far you’ve come, and taking the time to measure how you handle situations that has now led you to taking hold of your life in the exact way that you want to.

You start to wonder that if you didn’t take those actions, or think those thoughts, would your life still have turned out the same? You’ll never know, because those possibilities are so endless it’s not something that is measurable. Growth is measurable. No matter the scale, you can always see where there is growth, because there is a noticeable difference in how you have chosen to live your life.

And growth is infectious. Sometimes you have to accept that the growth you were so eager to gain may not have been for you, but accepting that your action or thought may have influenced a growth in others. Something that has pushed them to be the absolute best that they can be, and without that moment they would have never had the chance to be who they are now.

But then again, surely isn’t that growth for you too? You have the right to use growth as a tool to tell you who you are today is important. That you are right here and now; presenting yourself to the best that you can be. The future you can look back and appreciate that all of your decisions, your actions and your flaws are undeniably important and beneficial to the bigger picture that is you.

You don’t have to look back to three years ago to see if you have any measurable growth. There is no set timescale to when you can celebrate your growth. There is no pressure to when you need to think about your growth. That’s the best thing about it is it just happens, and you take the time appreciate it when it comes along.

Lauren Flack

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