This is not a fun topic to think about let alone write about – but it is a reality. If we are growing, changing, evolving, becoming… eventually we outgrow people and relationships.
Not everyone in our lives will be excited about our growth. Not all the folks in our relationships will be growing themselves and when these two factors collide, relationships are often the casualty.
Is it hard? yes! Painful? Very!
I have been in the uncomfortable, stomach knotting place with a friend or two in my life. And just thinking about it makes me wince as deep connections that impact us on a daily basis are the hardest to let go of because the loss is visceral.
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This isn’t about the relationships that are centered around an event or season of our life, sports moms, team family friends, work project groups – we all have relationships that are seasonal. Not being rude, just naming a reality.
We also have relationships where friendships become family and when this bond is threatened by growth, change or differences, we wrestle with loss and heart ache or deal with the tension of staying boxed in and not becoming our best self. Either way, we run headlong into the slime of with guilt & uncertainty… and even shame for wanting things to be different.
I have tried to hide my changing self, scrambled to make others feel comfortable, even talked myself out of changing… yuck.
This isn’t about the other person, it is about me and my choice to let their influence be greater and louder than be true to myself. The fear of what others will think, say or do can stall me from pursing a new direction in life, work, growth, or becoming my best self.
I don’t like that I struggle with this- but I do. It is a barnacle I have been scraping at for years. I am getting more independent and strong, but it can still slow me if I am not vigilant and aware of what and who is influencing me.
The easy thing to do would be to say it is about “them” and claim they are resistant to our growth and change… but really it is about us and letting other people define who or what we can be.
If we are in the same comfort zone, no one is uncomfortable, threatened or challenged. When one of us steps out… we all have to confront our choices. And, sometimes we are the friend who doesn’t want others to change.
Have you been the one to “break the rules” or change the dynamic of a friendship by taking a trip outside the comfort zone in an effort to grow, become or pursue a dream? It can be a lonely place.
When I saw this quote and knew I had to address this difficult and often avoided issue. There is no easy way to handle the moment you know a friend is unhappy and resisting your growth because it upsets the status quo.
However, I wonder though if there is a gracious way to handle it…
What are your experiences and thoughts about this tricky but very real situation?