Growing pains encompass a lot of different things such as literal growth spurts, discomfort, evolution, depressive moments, freedom, adventure, maturation, and a myriad of other qualities that involve vast progression. As you grow into a more adult version of yourself, you start to walk on your own path to the beat of your own drum. You look different, you act different, you speak differently, but you are still you. You will notice that your relationships will start to change as you bounce through different parts of life including those with your “friends”, your colleagues, siblings, parents, but also (and probably most importantly) yourself.
The relationship you have with yourself is (depending on your religious beliefs or non-beliefs) one of the most important relationships you will ever have. But you change. You do things you don’t like and your mind drifts to places that you’re not used to. But you also slowly start to realize that you’re not the person you were a year ago. You might be wiser and tougher.
You might even realize that people you once thought you couldn’t live without proved to be the exact opposite. You don’t require so many friends as you mature. But the growing pains of severed relationships and developing storylines in your life are awkward, and painful, and (quite frankly) weird.
Although there seems to be no perfect algorithm or template for the successful maturation amid changing relationships, there are certainly habits we can practice to help deal with this process in a healthy way.
For one, it is imperative to let yourself feel pain. Invite it and defeat it. So many people
spend so much time trying to do things to take their
mind off of the pain of loneliness and losing friends and forget that grieving is actually healthy and necessary. Let all of the grief and sadness seep in and sit with it. When you meet that emotional beast face to face you can adequately figure out how you’re going to let yourself heal instead of simply avoiding it. Avoiding pain leaves us open to so many triggers that can come out down the line at the most inopportune times.
This might seem pretty obvious but you’d be surprised at how many people do this without even noticing. Do not rebound. Take a break-up of any sort for example. A rebound is an attempt to fill a void. No person who has not had the same experiences with you as, say an ex-best friend or ex-girlfriend/boyfriend, can perfectly fit that hand print that another person has left on your heart. It just can’t happen. Rebounding makes us hold a completely innocent person to an unattainable emotional standard which is both damaging for them and you. This is why rebounds rarely amount to anything. No one can fill the void that another person left. That void must be filled with self-love, fulfillment, and growth. Figure out who you are without that person you lost and then work towards developing something equally as special with someone else so that everyone has an equal opportunity at appreciating a unique and successful relationship.
Sitting in a fog of self-doubt, fear, and sadness clouds your vision to the light at the end of the tunnel. This is why it is so important to set goals for yourself. Step by step, take everyday as an opportunity to get closer to your goal. Whether it is complaining less, being more selfless, listening more, or just giving yourself more “me time” make sure that you have a very tangible and realistic method to get there.
One of the hardest things, but possibly one of the most obvious tips to dealing with changing relationships is to accept change. Just as you see subtle changes in yourself, our fiends do too. It is okay to grow up with a best friend since preschool who you end up barely seeing in your 30’s. We all grow, and change, and out-grow. Most people are in your life for a season. Think of the end of one season as a beginning of another!
My last tip might not be helpful for everyone, but it is one of my most cherished forms of meditation and relaxation. When it seems like relationships in my life are turning into an avalanche, it causes deep stress, anxiety, and deeply depressive tendencies. To let go of everything and allow my grip on life to quickly melt away, I simply sit and do nothing…think nothing. It is a lot easier said than done, of course, but it is one of the most empowering strides you can take against ridding your body of unwanted stimuli. To control the activity (or lack of activity) of your mind is to control stressors. Especially the stressors that are connected to the uncertainty and discomfort of shifting relationships and a growing self.
If you have more tips that you would like to share, or testimonials, or even questions, feel free to leave comments!