Do I need to be with someone who is consciously on a growth journey in order for me to grow and be supported in the way that I desire?Nov 09, 2023
I love this question because it’s one that comes up often in my work, and the answer lies within the person asking. Like most very important questions. With that said, I’m hoping that I can lend a few different perspectives based on what I’ve witnessed with clients as well as from my own personal experiences.
How we get to this question
When two people get together at an early age (20s and 30s), they start “on the same page,” smitten and excitedly filling up their lives as they establish their family unit (kids, pets, or just them with intimate friends), their work, and their assets, including plans to upgrade to their dream house. So much energy, the world is their humble oyster, they work side by side to manifest their dreams.
Sometime into their 40s and beyond, something happens. One person “wakes up” to a hectic life that no longer feels true for her. So much responsibility, so little time to do what brings her joy. Arguably, her life “should” bring joy - she chose it, and she wouldn’t take away most of it - but somewhere along the line, she stopped doing something that made her truly her. (I’m using “she” because I see this happen more with women than her counterpart.)
She no longer feels fearless to do what she wants; it feels like there’s too much at stake. She shifts into personal growth mode to find her way back to peace, authenticity, and freedom. She experiences a big, delicious taste, and a pathway to it, but feels a heavy drag coming from her partner who isn’t following or supporting. This leads to the question: Can this relationship work - can I be happy, and continue to grow - if he’s not consciously growing?
Here’s what I’ve learned.
Take it for what it’s worth. There is no simple yes/no to this, and I have no agenda to sway you in one direction or the other. But these may be helpful to consider:
Consideration #1: Amongst personal growth journeyers, there’s a dream of being with someone else who is consciously on the growth path. Know this: Just because a person is consciously on a growth path doesn’t mean they are
conscious in the way we want them to be. Sort of like the way they don’t fold laundry the way we want them to. And laundry is simple.
capable of supporting us. In fact, sometimes, they are less capable because they’re consciously on this journey for a reason; part of that may be to tap into their own needs and not yours.
It’s true that being with someone who’s not consciously on a growth path can be frustrating, but so can being with someone who is.
Consideration #2: What I noticed from being surrounded by, and working with, people that think about personal growth all the time and also many who just don’t, they are both the same: they take action when they’re ready and get stuck and hide when their shit gets overwhelming. They have good days and bad. They’re hard on themselves and they judge others. They suffer from shame and guilt, and sometimes fear gets the best of them. They both get sick. They both struggle with communication. They’re both trying the best they can. They both have amazing gifts. And they’re both equally capable of loving you. They just use different words and references.
Consideration #3: Willingness to stick with each other through the shifting differences and changes over the many years you are together is in itself a worthwhile path to take consciously. People say, we’re not compatible anymore. But the truth is, compatibility is created, not just when things are good, but especially when they’re shaky.
While you might not purposely go out and choose someone that seems incompatible, it’s important to know that once you’re together for compatibility reasons, differences can and will develop through natural progression of time. Everyone is on their own timeline. Love is patient. Relationships require acceptance. Even then, sometimes ending a relationship is the right move. I do believe that. But it’s seldom because one person is not on the path, as much as we’d like to think it is. And sometimes, consciously deciding to work through the difference is the accelerant to our own personal growth.