Personal Growth Zones
I started this topic in an earlier post, and wanted to add a visual to it, to help illustrate my points about the challenges of personal growth. I mentioned that personal growth is a psychological problem. It's in our heads! Despite our best efforts in legal, economic, and scientific fields over the centuries to establish our systems and human responses as "logical," neurologists now tell us that we are 98 percent emotional and about two percent rational. People get locked into their emotions: I'm suggesting "staying fluid" in order to grow. In the emotional reactivity of today, people are generally acting from their FEAR zone. This is natural, of course. When you are operating from your natural fear zone, you are denying and avoiding. Or, you may be taking extra care to "stay comfortable," and "seek validation" (talk to others who look and think like you, watch and listen to media that supports your viewpoints). Coming away from a fear zone involves entering a LEARNING zone. Learning is the evolutionary step that requires new awareness, recognition, seeking, understanding. And, learning takes an individual to a new place of educating themselves, and even more scary—becoming vulnerable (admitting to themselves, and perhaps others, that there are GAPS in their knowledge, yikes! "I never saw this or understood this BEFORE!"). In the learning zone, a person may also learn to listen to others who think and look different than themselves. [I will add, however, that you have every right to avoid bombastic, insensitive, ignorant, bullying, annoying, or otherwise flat-out hateful people who refuse to keep their ideas to themselves—when you have been clear about not wanting to engage in debate. This is healthy for you (good boundaries), and allows you to maintain equanimity in what might become a toxic situation—no bueno!] The third zone—the ultimate goal in "being fluid," in my view—is the GROWTH zone. In this area, you will not only have learned new things and new ways of thinking, but you may actually be excited to promote and share your new learning with others. And, it's a strange and wonderful thing about being human that you may also be able to "sit with" the discomforts or tensions or dichotomies, even natural conflicts, between your old assumptions or learning, and your newfound "growth."