My friend has this great expression: you can’t fly when someone else is standing on your neck. I like this expression because it helps me understand what goes on with personal growth. This article is a bit biographical and references turkeys. I grew up on a farm in Maine where we raised turkeys. So, for me, it’s not a big stretch…
It wasn’t blatant or obvious but over time I realized I simply couldn’t move forward with my personal growth and I knew something was holding me back. I felt like a large turkey being stepped on by Al’s boots down in the barn just before Thanksgiving… Al was our family’s farm hand, general contractor and all around family clown. He also killed the birds. When I realized I was feeling like a feathered friend, I began looking around for mud boots.
Most people pursue personal growth because something’s off. They’re not happy or they feel stuck.
It’s always this nagging feeling as if you’re looking around for some context to understand. Others barrel through until the pressure is too much. At a certain point, most of us have experienced that moment when things just aren’t what they seem. That moment is the wake-up call to grow.
At the time, I did what every self-aware, seemingly enlightened adult does these days. I simply peered into my belly button. Then I answered a million and one personal growth questions. I played the “self-doubt” “self-hatred” and then the “narcissistic, entitled” card. Unfortunately, to no avail.
On the outside, I went to hours of therapy. I put on good luck charms, visited psychics and healers. I even sat down to confession and peered over my shoulder for hexes and voodoo dolls thinking someone had it out for me. That muddy boot just wouldn’t go away.
Over time, I realized I was looking to blame others instead of doing my personal growth. This is pretty common, so I didn’t feel so bad. It’s not always easy to grasp that inner growth often demands we up-level our entire lives. On the inside as well as on the outside. Blame or not, we are the cumulation of those we spend the most time with.
When it comes to relationships, being stuck, held back or stepped on, can truly be caused by those around us.
My personal growth was stopped. It was as if everything I tried to do fell apart. For example, I was working creatively as an actor and then all of sudden, after mixing my personal and professional life, my relationships on the job fell apart. And I had to leave. Or I was asked to audition for a role and then introduced my family to the producer. Shortly thereafter, I lost the gig.
This happens all the time in marriages and it’s one of the major reasons I feel marriages break down. People change. We grow. Our natural boredom with the status quo forces us to mix it up, to try something new. We need to take a class or find some inspiration. We were never made to stay the same for the next minute never mind the next decade or two or three. But in marriage, we choose to love for the long-term.
Championing the personal growth of our spouses means we are secure enough to enjoy the ride. As a result, when one of us grows and changes the other gets a piece of the spoils.
Control, envy, or competition seeps into the energy field around us. We are capable of disrupting the personal growth of another. We’re also able to step on their chances for a great life. In the meantime, we ruin our chances of having a safe, supportive and enjoyable relationship with the person we claim we love.
Turkeys are really stupid creatures, they follow the rest of the flock.
Al may have been all-powerful on my family farm. But once I realized that no one around me had the power to stand on my neck, I took a hose to all the muddy boots in my life. As a coach, I champion the personal growth of others because I know it’s the best way to secure a great marriage. Or a great life.
We have the opportunity to become almost anything. Despite the odds. Instead of being the muddy boot, how about getting a hose for yourself? I’m serious when I ask when you last sat down with your spouse and championed their success. The couples that can handle the personal growth of one another reap amazing trust and have fun in the process.
So how can you step out of your comfort zone and grant a pardon for the one you sleep with this holiday season? In so doing, your relationship can become stronger, more exciting, and your spouse’s opportunities could grant your marriage a chance to breathe.