We Grow Because We Struggle

“We grow because we struggle, we learn and overcome.”

R. C. Allen

The Coming of Spring is a perfect time to reflect on growth, renewal, beauty, and perfection.  The warmth and beautiful colors of Spring help us to forget the difficulties of the dark, cold Winter.  It’s human nature to want to forget and avoid difficult things. We want to avoid mistakes, for things to be easy and perfect. Yet, we know we can’t have one without the other and that life will always be full of difficulties.  It is how we perceive and handle them that makes the difference.

For me, teaching students how to draw is the easy part but teaching them to be open to something new, to let go of perfection and stifling self-criticism is hard. How can I help students, especially young ones, understand something that I still am challenged with.  In our role as a teacher, parent , or friend  it’s hard to see someone struggle or be in distress. You want to fix it but usually it is a change in perception or action that only they can make.  We would never grow or learn without mistakes and challenges. I am learning,  for myself,  that awareness is the key and that I can only teach acceptance with empathy and encouragement.

It’s also important to pick our battles and learn to struggle toward something real. When we accept that we were already created perfect in our own way, with our own unique gifts, we realize that the perfection we strive for is an ideal that isn’t real or our own.  It’s one we can never reach.  Fear and caution help us avoid danger but hinder us in other things. The fear part of our brain tells our body to react but can’t tell the difference between crossing the street or making an embarrassing mistake.  We can’t stop it, it is doing its job but we can be aware of what is happening.  Awareness of this reaction and then facing our mistakes and struggles with kindness will help us to trust that we will grow to our full and perfect potential.

Happy Spring!