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Why Is It Hard to Let Go of Some of Our Qualities?

Personal Growth Involves More Than Just Identifying What We Want to Change about Ourselves


Have you ever asked yourself why it's so hard to let go of our false qualities, especially when we've already shed some light on them?

Many of us do. I recently spoke with one of my clients who was giving up on further spiritual growth. She felt stuck from all her previous spiritual practices. She shared that despite doing many practices, she still finds herself reacting in similar ways to familiar situations as she did five years ago when she began seeking help and using those practices. I asked her, "Do you feel exactly as you did five years ago?" She took this question seriously, pondered it for a while, and then responded, "Not the same, but also not as I hoped to be after investing so much of myself in all the work I've done."


This story is common in my conversations with clients. I can empathize that spiritual work is challenging, although it pays off well. However, it takes time—sometimes longer than we can imagine. We may grow weary of exerting effort without seeing measurable results. But how do we measure our progress, and who assesses our change?


We're much more complex than we sometimes realize, with layers of accumulated memories that are awakened in situations that challenge us or when we make a conscious effort to choose growth over habitual responses. It's akin to flowers in a field: from a distance, we see the seemingly endless amount of them and the effort needed to gather them all. With each flower representing an experience that contains one of our specific challenges for this life, through our conscious growth, little by little we gather the beautiful flowers while gaining the understanding, experience, and liberation that each provides. As our life progresses and we reflect on all of these small experiences, we recognize that the collection of all of the flowers has naturally come about through our small and consistent efforts. If we view this process of self-improvement as measuring what needs changing to fit a certain mould or not being complete until we have fixed ourselves, we lose the beautiful experience of the collecting each of the unique flowers of our experience.


Who we are has a purpose; it's not easily altered mentally. Our journey on this planet involves collecting experiences with love and care. We'll one day look back and see that we've gathered all the flowers dedicated to us. Deeply awakened, we'll come to the realization that this gradual savouring and learning from each experience was all that we were here to do. We can either joyfully embrace the life we've lived or recognize that our focus on specific goals distracts from genuine experiences. Personal growth happens whether we actively pursue it or not. Deepening awareness through presence and observing our behavior redirects us toward healing, making the journey more enjoyable. We must remain mindful, acting with love and care, knowing that each day, we've done what was asked of us.


In our upcoming newsletters, we'll be sharing healing sentences tailored to each Enneagram type. You can set aside five minutes whenever you like to read these words. These sentences can serve as mantras to bolster your type as you delve deeper into connecting with your mind, heart, and body.


For those that hold the dominant type one:


When I free myself I would gain the knowledge that: 

I can allow myself to relax and enjoy life;

The best I can do is good enough;

I am grateful that others have many things to

teach me;

I can make mistakes without condemning myself;

My feelings are legitimate and that I have a right to feel them;

I treat others with tenderness and respect;

I am gentle and forgiving of myself;

I am compassionate and forgiving of others;

Life is good and unfolding in miraculous ways. 


Source: Don Richard Riso, Enneagram Transformations. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1993, 129 pages. 






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