Similar to growth, outgrowth is another factor in our lives that’s difficult for us to identify. Instead of exploring the possibilities that it offers, we use the opportunity to settle. We settle into the monotony of a routine, we settle into unhappiness, and we settle into what feels comfortable even if that comfort isn’t good for us. Sometimes we are aware that we’ve outgrown someone or something yet we still choose to stay because it’s all we know and what we’re familiar with. I talked a little last week about fear of the unfamiliar and not knowing what’s on the other side so for some of us, that means remaining stagnant and ultimately settling. I think one of the most important questions that we have to ask ourselves in life is; how is this benefiting me? Followed up by, have I gotten everything I needed/expected from this? We have to ask ourselves these questions and follow through. Unanswered life questions serves no purpose without some form of follow through. Especially if these questions are asked to illicit change in our lives.
We out grow a lot of things throughout the course of our lives but I think three of the most common factors that we outgrow are our careers, friendships, and our romantic relationships. Ironically, these are also the factors that we tend to settle/get comfortable with simply because we are familiar with them. In some cases, we question our capabilities. For example, do I posses the qualities that’s needed to start a new career? I have so much history with this person, is it really a good idea for me to leave and try with someone else? It’s interesting how we are willing to stifle our well-being and happiness for what feels familiar to us. Familiarity is not a factor of happiness. I think familiarity is a form of settling and I also think it’s the pathway to control. Meaning, you are “in control” of what may occur because you’re familiar with it. With the unfamiliar, we lose most of our control because we don’t know what to expect so therefore, we hold on to what we know.
OUTGROWING CAREERS you’ve outgrown your career when you no longer see room for growth, when you feel the need for growth, or if you’re no longer full-filled. You can also outgrow the companies you work for. This occurs when the company’s values no longer aligns with your own personal values. For example, if you’re passionate about social justice and diversity in the workplace and you work for an organization that shows no support to the black and brown communities during times of unrest, and you notice that their lack of support affects you, you’ve likely outgrown that organization.
OUTGROWING FRIENDSHIPS for some reason some of us feel like we need to hold on to friendships for a variety of reasons e.g. we’ve known each other since elementary school, she was there for me when no one else was (this previous reason does make it hard), we know so much about each other, etc. while these factors are important; it’s not good to hold on to something because it use to work out really well for you. What matters most now is how things are going at the moment and how long it’s been going on like this. If conversing and other ideas haven’t worked to get your friendship back on track it’s time to think about whether it serves any value in your life the way it is now.
OUTGROWING ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIPS this is very similar to the above but romantic relationship usually holds a bit more weight because your emotions are involved differently, you’ve shared your body with this person, you may share space (apt. or home), and you may have a child. So there is a lot more on the table in this one but this still does not mean that you should settle if you feel you’ve outgrown the relationship. I think if it’s affecting your emotional well-being or even your child if you have one together, you have to consider the longer term benefits (or lack thereof) and make some tough decisions. ESPECIALLY if the relationship is affecting your child.
I don’t expect anyone to make these decisions easily. I think everything I mentioned plays a significant role in our lives which means it’s not easy to walk away from but making the decision to walk away is imperative, especially if we are constantly questioning our current situation, if we have a gut feeling, if we are not happy, and if you just have that constant need for change. Questioning yourself about the other side and whether the new situation will be worse than the old one is normal but how would you know if you don’t try? And, what if it’s better? If you are truly concerned about what’s on the other side of change, I will encourage you to actively give it some thought before you make the change. And I don’t mean 30 seconds of “this is not working but what if the other side is worse, I dont know, I’ll worry about it later.” That process is not thought, it was an excuse you made to get out of making a decision about your life. I keep mentioning well-being but I feel like when our well-being is being affected, we have to do some intense processing about making some hard and challenging changes.
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