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Why Challenging Yourself Is The Key To Growth

Challenges- The word by definition is stimulating, exciting, thought provoking.

You push outside of your comfort zone and it’s hard. Forced face to face with the raw, realness of who you are and what you are truly capable of, many retreat, finding comfort in the known, the predictable. Why?

It’s our ego, our mind, expressing through emotions what we need, want, desire, a certain thing or way to be. Push past this and you find yourself in the unknown, unfamiliar. This is where the magic happens.

It doesn’t always come as hard and fast as we want. We often push too hard to get past the shitty stuff and miss the opportunity for the lessons, that’s why we often repeat them.

When we have acceptance of what is, what will be, without contaminating our mind of should or could, only then will we be free to experience the full range of how life can be.

The past week, I’ve had the experience of a long arduous, physical challenge and more than physically restoring and rebuilding my body, I find myself reflecting, and visiting the shadowed self to explore in the dark, into healing. The trail inwards exposes the elements, it conjures my inner most fears. It feels like an upheaval, an unpacking and with my hands full of old stories and fears, I’m not sure where to put them.

As children, our deepest fear is often of the dark, the unknown that we can’t see. This fear carried into adulthood is debilitating, it wraps around us like a vine to a tree. We need to forge through in the darkness to unbind, unravel all that seeks to hold us back.

In Nature, the stringy bark tree is designed to lose its bark, fall to the forest floor and recycle into the eco-system, feeding the tree and floor inhabitants as times passes. The water vines that prey on the tree are like thoughts in our mind. They suffocate and inhibit growth. The tree stalls in growth, bacteria, fungus and mould take up home in the trunks, rotting the core foundations.

This is the power of the vine. This is the power of our mind.

The experiences we have when we push ourselves to feel our way through a new, difficult situation, develop a sense of self. A self-efficacy- a belief in self to accomplish, overcome and achieve. This feeling is the ultimate in how we perceive ourselves to attain a goal, achieve a dream, to move past the shitty, ruminating beliefs we hold.

Physical challenges are the most effective way as they challenge both our physical and mental aptitude.

Our core beliefs and values are often formed by the age of 10. At an early age when we are pliable to the opinions and standards of our parents, we conform. As we mature, these foundations stay will us, rarely shifting with what’s in line with current values as we take on the experiences around us.

Do you often feel your opinion differs from our parents? Do you feel like you agree not to make an argument? Or conversely, find yourself head to head with your parents on current views? It’s normal. This is how we evolved, through a difference of opinion, through cognitive growth and evolution. It will continue to happen as we evolve as a species.

It is challenging- thought provoking and sure, it will be tough. To look at your own fears, re-evaluate your beliefs and values will invoke the unsettling, uncertainty however, it can also be the most liberating exercise you have undertaken in life.

Finding your core values and beliefs to live in contentment, in happiness and with others of different opinions, is the work we need to tend to.

I challenge you to sit with the uncomfortable, to explore the obscured and navigate your way in the dark.

Amanda x

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