Growth is not comfortable. If it was more people would be going to the gym, leaving that lifeless relationship, putting energy behind the business idea in their heart. Growing requires stretching to new levels. Growth asks us to go somewhere we haven’t gone before so the path is unknown, uncertain and can feel scary. Growth is also not linear so we can easily take two steps forward and two steps back before moving three steps forward. But growth is inevitable and is the only thing we can rely on. If we are not growing, we are dying.
Understanding the process of growth was key for me in understanding how to be present with all of the uncertainty, discomfort and fear that happens when we are stretching to new levels of work, finances, relationships and love.
“One can choose to go back towards safety or forward towards growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” - Abraham Maslow
Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was one of the most valuable tools for me in understanding the process of growth and what is needed in each stage of growth. Maslow believed that we must first have our basic needs met before we can elevate into esteem and love, and we must love and respect ourselves and others before we can elevate into self actualization.
We must have our basic needs met - a safe home, warmth, rest, food, water - before we can start feeling safe in the world to stretch into new levels of consciousness. This is why when I am working with new clients who want to leave a job and start their own business, making sure your basic needs are met is integral so that you can always be in a place of rising up and calling in clients that are rising up and holding the energy for your clients to rise up.
Next is our safety - feeling safe in our bodies, feeling safe in the world, releasing shame or guilt - in order to expand, grown, see and be seen by others. This is also a key layer to move through otherwise what I see people doing is working feverishly, or setting intentions, stating affirmations, and wondering why nothing is changing. This is because we have to be safe and feel safe in order to rise to the next layer. Safety is a key component of my coaching and it is why I integrate Breathwork, Reiki and other energy modalities into my coaching. There are times when clients will hit a wall within coaching (or therapy) because safety has to be processed by the mind but also integrated into every cell in our body in order for true growth and elevation to the next level.
Then the need for esteem and self love - respecting, accepting, loving, cherishing ourselves - is key before we can do that with anyone else. Maslow believed that belonging and love occurred before esteem for oneself. But I personally believe this level occurs first, because we can only love others as much as we love ourselves. needs to happen before we can ever love someone else. I can see from several groups that I am a part of - my business mastermind, a heart centered female entrepreneur networking group, a collective coaching community, my 12 Step fellows, Buddhist community, and the tribe I have built (join here) for women who are my coaching clients, moon circle attendees and fellow Breathwork healers - gives each of us space to be seen, to be loved unconditionally, to be treasured. I can see how having that space to be seen for who we are can mirror and allow ourselves to see us for who we are.
The need to belonging and love - to be welcomed and loved as part of a group - has to be a present before we can rise to the next level. We are tribal beings. It is why we thrive in community (even if we are introverted). We are on this planet together. It is why a baby would die without human touch and interaction. But, as I shared below, I feel these two levels are interchangeable and equally important. For some, as I’ve seen in 12 Step fellows who have no esteem for oneself, need to be loved by the group before they can mirror that love for oneself. For some, as I’ve seen in Buddhism, have to learn to love oneself before they can extend that compassion to others. Both states of love are needed before we can rise to self actualization.
The need for actualization - which represents growth of an individual toward fulfillment of the highest needs, those for meaning in life, purpose in life, and purpose for being a human in this lifetime - is a unique relationship and journey. What I’ve learned over the years is that we are so different in how we receive, experience, integrate, and express this manifestation. Some of us learn this through healing modalities, spirituality, others through service, creativity, and expression. My encouragement is to be open to all of the magical ways that we can continually actualize and rise on the spiritual ladder of love.
Its by understanding the entire process before we start that gives us some grounding and sense of relief for what we will be moving through. It can be found here in the hierarchy, in books, podcasts, healers, teachers and those who have already moved through the discomfort we are experiencing and have the experience, strength and wisdom to be with us.