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The Progress Addict (and why this doesn’t work)

I took this photo back in May when my baby turtle, Malti, went missing. I was sooooo impatient to find her. But during the six days I looked, I had so many valuable experiences. And I still found her - it just took time.
I took this photo back in May when my baby turtle, Malti, went missing. I was sooooo impatient to find her. But during the six days I looked, I had so many valuable experiences. And I still found her – it just took time.

I’ve blogged some in the past about how, sometimes, just every so often, I get this tantalizing glimpse of another me.

She is buried (stuck? hiding?) deep inside me.

And she is fabulous.

She is smart, funny, confident, compassionate, poised, creative – she is just the me I would like to be.

But somehow, on a daily basis, most of her wonderfulness somehow remains just out of reach.

There is a (sort of) funny story I heard while I was living in India. In the story, a desperate man went to visit a spiritual guru (teacher). He was so unhappy – his girlfriend had just left him for another man. He begged the guru to help him let go of his misery. But the guru said no one could help him as long as he insisted on hanging on to what was now in his past.

Sometimes I suspect this is why I only get to experience being the “real me” in tiny little measured doses.

What would have happened to that man, if the guru had just ripped out all his memories and all his pain right in that instant just like he was asking for?

I don’t know, but since gurus in India are reputed to be able to do anything they want (and it is the seeker who limits their powers) there has to be a good reason. 

Maybe it is the same reason why, when someone gets cancer, the medicine is administered in doses, over time, instead of all at once. Perhaps there really is such a condition as too much, too soon of a life-saving thing.

While I have often struggled with how Christianity is taught (there are so many different styles and beliefs and I have long since given up trying to keep them all straight), I have never had any trouble relating to Jesus’s disciples.

Pretty much no matter what Jesus did, their reaction was to be afraid. Jesus walked on water, and the disciples were afraid. He revealed his inner light (what is often called “the transfiguration”) and the disciples were afraid.

He came to after they saw him die, and they were afraid. He even specifically told them not to be afraid, and they were still afraid.

It would seem that, when we progress through lessons too fast – and certainly when we attempt to read the last page of our life book to find out what happens when we’re only in chapter 2 – we can get very afraid.

And when a person, say me, for instance, gets really afraid, we can do some pretty strange things.

We can stop meditating, or stop going to therapy, or stop studying, or stop whatever good thing we were formerly doing that produced the burst of fear.

So, at times, it seems it might be both necessary and wise to measure out the desired progress in small, stable doses so we don’t see the big picture too early and get very afraid.

Today’s Takeaway: Have you ever found yourself wishing for more growth, more progress, more good stuff, more, faster, better, while feeling sooooo frustrated when it wouldn’t come? Why do you think this is? Do you have any theories? Have you ever had an experience where you did really suddenly zoom ahead towards some goal you wanted to achieve? What was that like for you – exciting? fun? scary? all of the above?

 

The Progress Addict (and why this doesn’t work)


Shannon Cutts

Parrot, tortoise & box turtle mama. Writer. Author. Mentor. Champion of all people (and things) recovered and recovering. http://www.loveandfeathersandshells.com http://www.shannoncutts.com


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APA Reference
Cutts, S. (2016). The Progress Addict (and why this doesn’t work). Psych Central. Retrieved on September 18, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/mentoring-recovery/2016/10/the-progress-addict-and-why-this-doesnt-work/

 

Last updated: 11 Sep 2016
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network (blogs.psychcentral.com) prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.