There’s a common misconception that holds us back from growing.
We set intentions for ourselves and instantly expect to watch them take hold in ways that look better. We believe that growth always means things are headed upward in our lives and improving.
We want our income to grow — so we expect to make more money right away.
We ask for better communication with loved ones — so we expect the next conversation we have to be easier than the last.
We want to build our careers or grow our businesses — so we think rising up is the only way to do that.
And that’s where we have it all wrong.
In order to expand, we have to contract first.
Look at your body as the perfect example of that. Your lungs, your diaphragm, your muscles – everything must contract before it expands.
So why do we expect the expansion of our lives – our dreams, our desires, our intentions – to be any different?
For starters, our egos play some pretty impressive tricks on us. They do their very best to keep us safe (in their perception of what “safe” is).
This means that we witness a shrinking, a falling down, a lack of something, and our bodies close in to try to protect us. A part of us that no longer serves us must “die off” so that we can experience more life, but our egos instantly have us convinced that something is wrong.
Except YOU’RE not dying. A piece of you is dying so that more of you can live.
Expansion is the process of opening ourselves up to having, being, and experiencing more in our lives (and our businesses), which makes the process of contraction before expansion simply a part of allowing more in.
Recognizing this, doesn’t it seem awfully silly that we set these resolutions or intentions for ourselves at the start of a new year and instantly expect things to go uphill?
If things start to suck after you set an intention for them to get better — lean into it. Don’t run from the parts that suck, because quite often they’re a huge part of what is actually needed for things to get better.
When we run from the contractions, we actually thwart the expansion process — slowing it down, and sometimes halting it all together. And at very minimum, it means that the lesson we needed to learn in order for the expansion to happen has to come in some other way — which means we’re not actually avoiding the contraction, just diverting it into a different format.
This means that not only can you cut yourself some slack for not having every intention or resolution you set at the start of 2016 taking form yet, but you can actually pat yourself on the back for the areas where things are getting worse before they can get better.
So look around at where the contractions are happening, and ask yourself whether they may be happening for the sake of that glorious, well-deserved expansion that’s coming your way.
I’d love to hear what your contractions-before-expansions are looking like this year! Share in the comments below so we can all be inspired by the real process of growth and expansion!