“Whatever makes you uncomfortable is your biggest opportunity for growth.” – Bryant McGill

In the last blog , I discussed the challenges and successes one of my clients faced when she decided to move on by moving out. As you’ll recall, “Claudia” divorced her husband, moved out of the home she shared with him and their two children, and got her own place. Naturally, there was an adjustment period for the whole family. Childrearing duties became equally divided between the parents, who were both starting to grow in their own ways. The ex-husband quit drinking and was getting used to doing more when it came to the house and kids. The children were settling into their weekly rotation from one residence to the other. Although she reported feeling “lost” every other week without her children, Claudia was adapting to spending the off-time reconnecting with herself and with friends. Things continued to progress and remain harmonious within the family. It seemed like just as this tribe was learning to adjust to their new rhythm, COVID-19 struck – unexpectedly changing their lives and everyone else’s in one fell swoop.

Shortly after her move-out, Claudia contemplated making another positive change: her employment. Creativity wasn’t something that was encouraged at her job, so she started looking for positions that encourage her to flex her imaginative muscles. However, given the global Coronavirus situation and the recent big move, she opted to stay at her current position (which she is extremely grateful for during these strange times). Claudia remains hopeful as she continues to research future job openings with more innovative organizations. Since living independently, she has been enjoying an abundance of opportunities: taking cooking classes with a friend, sharing drinks over Zoom, meditating, journaling, getting to know herself better, and spending time with those she cares for and who love like her family. She feels like she’s growing as a mother, co-parent, and human being.

Initially, the directive to “stay home, stay safe” shattered the chance for Claudia and the rest of the world to have a face-to-face interaction. To fulfill the human need for connection, the nature of many relationships has had to become virtual, linked by a series of pixels. Without question, this shift has helped countless people stay in touch with their loved ones while being geographically separated. Even with technological advancements, social distancing practices, and the easing of restrictions in some areas, we may still feel stuck in place, much like Claudia – as if frozen in our present reality, unable to grow.

Of course, this isn’t the truth. Growth is always possible! Yes, it might be challenging to flourish during times of acute uncertainty and decreased socialization, but it doesn’t mean it can’t happen. It just takes accessing a different kind of awareness to recognize other areas for growth, such as introspection, education, home improvements, business, parenting, spirituality, creativity, hobbies, etc. To illustrate, I’ll use a personal example.

Through this pandemic, I’ve discovered that having a lot of time to myself has aided me in being self-reflective; in fact, I have been more in tune with myself than ever. I’m aware that I like feeling the energy of others, something I’ve missed with decreased in-person counseling sessions. In my office, it was easy to receive and give energy to my clients, but when working from home, it felt limited. And it left a hole in my life. Although with time and practice, I became more comfortable working with clients through Zoom and watching for shifts in their energy, tone, or facial expression, I knew that I needed more.

To fill that void, I started making time for socially distanced, individual walks with a few girlfriends; I’ve learned that having face-to-face conversations is a true mood-booster and energizer for me. This increase in “thinking time” has guided me to be aware of what happens to my energy when I’m down. The best way I can describe it is like letting out all the air from an inflated balloon, or a flower wilting due to lack of water. I had not been mindful of this before, but now it’s so apparent and clear. And instead of keeping it to myself, I shared what was making me feel down. It was an absolute eye-opener for me. My husband, Kris, has always been aware of this, but I haven’t. It’s like a huge gift to me and to him, as I can be more of who I am as I get in touch with how I feel.

TAKE-AWAY: Sometimes thinking outside the box, leaving our comfort zones, or taking a leap of faith is the path that leads to the most growth and progress. And when we’re confident in ourselves and our decisions, we’re capable of adapting to the changes in order to achieve our goals.