One of the traps I continue to fall into is thinking that situations, people, ideas, or feelings are fixed and unchanging. Years ago I started digging into the field of emotional intelligence and discovered that “black and white” and “all or nothing” thinking is pretty much the hallmark of poor emotional intelligence. From then on, I tried consciously to change this thought pattern, but it’s been a slow journey of growth over about a decade!
As the amazing book Mindset revealed so powerfully, the growth mindset is the best anecdote to a fixed mindset. Embracing that our abilities, skills, and behaviors can grow and change is so freeing! It’s also a wonderful way to accept other people for where they are and who they are. Just like you’re growing and changing, the people you love are too. One comment or one exchange does not characterize a person or a relationship between two people.
When there are bumps in the road of life, I often console myself by remembering that there will be “growing pains”. Learning and growth are not going to happen without some effort, struggle, and usually a dose of pain. Seeing that pain as something that’s temporarily serving a purpose rather than fearing it, has been my focus of growth the past few years.
In my mind, growth and God are completely intertwined. God is actively growing and nurturing my soul and he knows what’s best for me, even (especially!) when I don’t want to deal with something painful. When I remember to maintain a growth mindset it helps me surrender to God’s plan for my life and glimpse a clearer view of my vocation in His Kingdom.